Three quarters of riders say they are happy hacking a muddy horse, provided they’ve groomed where the tack goes.

A poll posted on the Hack 1000 Miles Facebook group revealed that 76 percent of respondents aren’t too fussy about a bit of mud, while 17 percent only ride if their horse is looking spotless.

The remaining seven percent say they are happy to ride without grooming at all, or only brush their horse if they have time to do so.

Reasons cited for lack of meticulous grooming included horses living out, wet mud and limited daylight hours in winter. Riders also mentioned lack of time thanks to demanding work load and other life commitments.

Hannah Leslie said her horses live out, and provided she grooms underneath the tack, she is happy hacking with some mud on her horse.

“I’m not cleaning mud off legs just to get muddy on a hack,” she said. “I just don’t wear anything on their legs to stop rubs and as long as under the bridle and saddle is clean it’s all good. I don’t mind looking a bit grubby.”

While those that prefer to ensure there is no mud left on their horses said they like to groom thoroughly to provide a good impression.

“It was ingrained in me to always present a clean horse, it being disrespectful to the horse and the yard to go out dirty, and showed a lack of self respect,” said Ann Sidwell. “Similarly [my] tack is always clean, as are my boots.

“Mine have always been in overnight, and have never gone to bed dirty, again, ingrained from years in the industry. [They are] always washed off after work, dried and groomed.”

Mike Mills said he saw grooming as part of the bonding process with a horse.

“I always clean, the grooming part is part of seeing how your horse feels and bonding with [him],” he said.

Riders also offered their tips on keeping their horses clean during the winter. They recommended using a neck cover and clipping, or partially clipping, to cut down grooming time.