Practice at home between hacks
Many riders have had a bad experience that’s made us think that we never want to venture out on the roads again, but to get better at road riding, you have to revisit what you’ve done. “Every time we go out we have to record how our horses behave,” says Ian. “If a horse does anything that’s considered flighty or dangerous, then that’s documented. The idea is that anyone can read that horse’s file before getting on board. We just pick up the file and pray the horse hasn’t had a week’s turnout before we take him out.” When you get back from your hack, it’s always worth making a note of what your horse found scary. That way you have the opportunity to tackle those problems at home in the school before your next hack. “Often our horses have to stand for a long time somewhere that’s stupidly busy. But sometimes – and every rider knows about this one – your horse doesn’t want to stand a certain way,” adds Ian. “At that point, you have to accept that it’s just not going to happen. Work out how to make your horse comfortable, because that’s the real priority.” The finer details when it comes to riding your horse in busy areas will come, so try not to worry about the little things on your ride. Focus on getting you and your horse back to the yard safely and keeping the experience as positive as possible.
It’s important to end every ride on a positive note so your horse is confident next time you leave the yard