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Hacking Out to Build Confidence

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  • Hacking Out to Build Confidence

    A comment I received at my last show was that my pony needed more confidence. She is mostly a spaz when we go anywhere but will have times when she is her sane self. We get off the property about once a month for clinics or shows.
    Would hacking out off the property help her to settle down when she does trailer off the property? She can get a bit nervous while hacking out but not like when she goes to shows or clinics. We haven't hacked out in awhile because I would have to go by myself and I am no longer a fearless youth who thinks they wont get bucked off and left for dead far from home. But I am willing to go it alone if it will help pony become more brave.

    Patience and Consistency are Your Friends

  • #2
    Increased hacking has really helped my timid little monster. She requires it for the sake of her sanity. But there are trails and a lake on the property where I keep her, and I have a friend who likes to go for long trail rides off the property. I don't recommend going alone, but if you do, make sure you tell someone where you're going and when to expect you back.


    • #3
      Do you have your own trailer? Are there farms in the area (or trails for that matter) where you could take her to ride in a new situation? Then you can get her also used to, "yes, we're getting in the trailer and going somewhere, but it's no big deal,".

      I mean, in my area, Aiken is right up the road about a half hour and quite a few farms in the area allow people to trailer in to school on their cross country courses, for example, and in their rings. If you could do something similar, it would help simulate the "show experience" more often and since you'd be asking her to do something pretty low-key, she might figure out that even though you're goint somewhere, it isn't anything to get worked up about.

      But if that isn't really feasible, hacking out would likely help too. Definitely agree that if you go alone you should tell someone where you're going and when you expect to return (and take a cell phone with you).
      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


      • #4
        Hacking out alone is not a very sensible thing to do with a nervous horse. Why not check your area for trail riding clubs/organizations. They usually have group riding activities which would help you both out a bit.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #5
          Hacking out helped my mare tremendously. She isn't nervous by nature but I purchased her in Februrary (late 4 year old) so she is just getting to know me. She started spooking under saddle and going crazy when "her" buddy was taken out of the paddock before she was and I knew I had to do something.

          Find a buddy your pony trusts to hack out with you. I hacked out with my mare's buddy and an older horse. When she started to get antsy she looked to the other horses for guidance. They got us through a situation crossing the road where she may not have trusted me enough to cross in a timely manner. By the end she was a pro.

          A buddy that knows the trails helps greatly because you never know what you are going to encounter. Maresy was trail ridden extensively before I purchased her but now she is in a new area so it is like starting all over again. Also just having another rider there to shoot the breeze with will help calm you down too.

          Let her figure things out on the trail instead of trying to intervene. It seemed like a light went off in her head that I wasn't going to interfere with what she was doing. When I did decide to intervene prematurely a small problem arose.

          After that trail ride I had a more self confident horse. She no longer goes ballistic if her friend goes home before she does and she is now using the entire paddock and no longer lingering in her "safe" spot. The crazy thing is I see her looking to me now and deciding whether she should spook or not.

          **Sorry for the length, but this happened to me very recently and the change was immediate. HAPPY TRAILS!!**


          • Original Poster

            Thankyou all, I will find a trail buddy and start hacking out

            Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


            • #7
              It helped my gelding a lot. He doesn't do "trails" by any stretch of the imagination. But we wander around the farm, broadening his horizons just a bit at a time. we've gone from barely able to ride from the barn up to the arena down the driveway to doing circuits around the barns and up past various pastures

              I find that he's actually better alone than with other horses. he has a real way of convincing normally non-reactive horses that the world is a scary scary place. Riding him alone, I just have to keep myself cool and relaxed and not worry about other horse's responses. I do make sure if I'm doing this that somebody knows that I'm out for safety's sake though.