Equestrian Blog

News and thoughts from around the equestrian community

Happy Hacking

Now summer is approaching we start to think about hacking out for longer and further, even visiting places further afield for a change of scene. There's nothing better than tacking up your horse and going for a relaxing hack with friends, or even just out on your own. The happy chat on horseback, or exhilarating gallop makes you fall in love with riding and horses again, and forget all about the chores waiting for you back at the stables. Load your horse up and go for a day out with friends somewhere further afield when you have the time. Living in the Northwest means I have loads of places to choose from, the Lake District has some fantastic places to hack whether you have your own horse or want to visit a trekking centre.  There's also the Yorkshires Dales and plenty of beaches to choose from. Wherever you live there's sure to be somewhere that you can visit that has great off road riding. Beach RidingTrekking in the Lake District You can still have fun hacking in your local area, bridleways are a great place to ride but are often not maintained as well as they should be and aren't well documented. Many ancient bridleways are becoming lost, riders everywhere can help to keep these rights of way, contact your local Bridleways Agency to find out how. Remember that bridleways often cross private land so be responsible when using them by ensuring gates are securely closed again if you've had to open them to ride through. Keep to the bridleway and avoid soft land so your horses hooves don't cut the surface up. Always make sure you ride slowly through land that has livestock in and stop if they appear disturbed and start to run. If you are keen to ride out but don't have anyone to accompany you why not try asking for a riding buddy on horse forums, there may well be other riders locally who have the same problem. Its always more fun and safer to ride with someone else.  
Wherever you are riding it is highly likely that you will have to encounter a certain amount of road work at some point. Always make sure that you and your horse wear reflective high visibility clothing so you are easily seen by other road users. Take a look at this photo taken in daylight when you'd normally think there's no need for reflective gear. How long does it take you to see the second horse and rider?Finally, refresh your knowledge of the highway code, paying particular attention to any parts relating to horses. Riding two abreast is fine but you should only do so when the road conditions make it safe. Ensure you know all hand signals and use them appropriately, if you can't take a hand off the rein to thank drivers, try to at least smile in acknowledgement. How many horses can you see?
Happy hacking always comes as a result of riding responsibly and making sure you stay safe in the saddle!

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