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Hacking Alone

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  • #21
    Originally posted by fooler View Post
    All great advise already. Just to expand that singing really works.

    Of course you have to find the right song. My gelding is on the lookout for monsters, etc until I crank up "Old MacDonald Had A Farm". Nothing else calms him like that song. . .go figure.
    OMG!!!!

    I sing too. I'll have to try this one!
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

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    • #22
      I usually go once or twice with a non-reactive, steady-eddie type buddy, and then if that goes well, we are off on our own!

      I don't do anything special equipment wise, I just wear a helmet and bring a cell phone.

      Oh, and in case you are wondering, sleigh bells (for hunting season) are MUCH less annoying to the horse when tied along the breastplate than off of cantle D's
      Unrepentant carb eater

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      • #23
        Originally posted by fooler View Post
        All great advise already. Just to expand that singing really works.

        Of course you have to find the right song. My gelding is on the lookout for monsters, etc until I crank up "Old MacDonald Had A Farm". Nothing else calms him like that song. . .go figure.
        This is a great way to relax and also let others know where you are

        The other night after doing some transition work in a field with the best footing around (summer fallow) my 8 year old gelding just started to jig on the way home. We did some leg yield back to our field road then I just started to belt out Ring of Fire. Worked like a charm, and ironically it was at sunset so the sun was looking like a ring of fire
        All that is gold does not glitter;
        Not all those who wander are lost.
        ~J.R.R. Tolkien
        http://theimperfectperfecthorse.blogspot.com/

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        • #24
          The Joys of Solo Hacking out

          Ditto the basics - helmet, cell phone on YOU, ID and phone info on your saddle. And if you haul off to trail ride, make sure you have your rig info on your ID too. Fly spray if it's relevant. Always carry some sort of stick - be it crop or fly whisk - useful to get forward motion, swat flies and most important, wave it around in front of you to get the spider webs - especially this time of year when those huge red spiders build elaborate and very strong webs across the trails! And go to walmart and invest 5 bucks in a blaze orange mesh vest for yourself. Goes along with the hunter-beware bells!

          I absolutely love hacking out alone on a good horse. And I have the best one, unfortunately now retired due to a freak pasture injury. OTTB, 21yo now, but the most fun horse to trail ride ever - as long as we were either alone or could lead. He was a very patient baby-sitter to teach greenies about water and bridges and bikes and whatever came along. But he did NOT like butts in front of him!

          When I got him at 8yo, he had never seen water or red clay mud. But it didn't take long for him to figure out how much fun it was to ride out in the woods and mountains. He was the rare one who could go for hours on the buckle and immediately respond if I picked up the reins to ask for some lateral work or whatever. We also had several routine places that were perfect for long gallops. I would let him know it was time for a flashback and we would gallop like mad until I decided he had had enough. Typical TB - huge heart and I believe he would run until he keeled over dead unless I brought him back.

          My favorite rides were exploring places we had never been. We would discuss which fork to take or where best to cross the water (yes, I talked to him all the time). Some days I left him pick the pace and the trail. Next time would be my turn.

          Ahhh - such fun and so many wonderful memories with him.

          Sorry OP - this is way more than you would want to do with your greenie. I'm just nostalgic now that it's my favorite time of year to ride..

          And excited that I am going horse-shopping tomorrow!!!!!!
          Fox Wood Farm

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          • #25


            I'm laughing about the spider webs ..... the young teens that I took for their first trail rides had no clue when I said "here, you go first." They thought wow it's a big deal to get to lead!



            My infinite wisdom started dawning on them .... esp when you pull into a little used trailhead!
            Last edited by pony grandma; Oct. 12, 2012, 06:38 PM.
            Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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            • #26
              I do not go hacking armed for "battle" with one rein stops or putting the horse on the bit and making them work. I walk on a loose rein. If I need to shorten the reins for a spooky moment, I quickly loosen them again. If I sing or say something loudly it is to scare the deer away before we get to them.

              I have already done extensive ground work so I know my horse will listen to me. Then, I first make sure I already have some relaxation and good responses in the ring. I also have ponied the horse out where I intend to hack. I have already hacked out with one of my older horses at least a couple of times so the greenie knows where they are going. I fill my pockets or a fanny pack with cookies--little ones. I have already practiced giving my horse cookies from the saddle in the ring. My horse already knows what it means if I lean forward with a cookie in my hand--turn head to reach and eat cookie.

              Thus armed, I go on one of my short little jaunts away from the barn. I go around a small paddock and then back to the barn. Then I go around the hay barn and back to the barn. Then I go out the back drive, into a field, through the tree line, down the other part of the drive, back to the barn. By doing these short little jaunts at first, it is never too much for my horse. At appropriate moments, I stop and give my horse a cookie. Eating helps them relax and makes them focus their attention on me rather than other things. Then I go out in the hay field and by this time, all my OTTB cares about is, "Are we going to stop and have a cookie now?" After that it is pretty easy.

              I always were a helmet and I wear a vest if I think I need one.

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              • #27
                Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post

                I fill my pockets or a fanny pack with cookies--little ones. I have already practiced giving my horse cookies from the saddle in the ring. My horse already knows what it means if I lean forward with a cookie in my hand--turn head to reach and eat cookie.
                Yes, I forgot about the goodies I stash in my sandwich case. Treats are very handy if you end up with a lesson over a bridge or other scary thing. Also antibiotic ointment and sting meds for bee stings. Whatever else feels necessary!

                And about the spiders... Doesn't matter who is first... Matters who is the tallest rider on the tallest horse (frequently that is me!) Short people in front duck and I still get the hated damned spiders across my face!
                Fox Wood Farm

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                • #28
                  I do not go hacking armed for "battle" with one rein stops or putting the horse on the bit and making them work.
                  I think there's a difference between being armed for battle with one rein stops (Which I don't think I've EVER done...and I used to ride a pony who had NO ISSUES with bolting on occasion, just because) and riding your horse on the bit and asking for a little obedience and to redirect their attention. Redirecting their attention via a little shoulder in or a simple transition is similar to redirecting them by stuffing them full of cookies (something I'm not a huge fan of...tried it with Vernon to make him think happy thoughts regarding dressage...yeah...not so much). I think redirecting via a little "work" is probably a more productive way, personally. If my horse can do a proper shoulder in while a little up and excited because we're going past the house with the Hounds of the Baskervilles, then I bet he can do it in the dressage ring at a show when something else exciting is happening!
                  Amanda

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by over the moon View Post

                    So, those of you who don't have other horses to take out with your greenies, what do you do to ensure a fun, safe, good experience? I've always taken greenies out with other horses, so I'm wondering if there's something I should do that I'm not thinking of.
                    I don't treat it any differently. I mostly hack out alone....even with my green horses. I used to hack out with my dogs too...with green horses. That can help sometimes..had some who would follow the dog like a lead...but it can also backfire. But basically, I go out. I ride initially in familiar places and if that goes well...expand it. I usually do not cross water with them alone the first time but will quickly do it with them alone.

                    I usually go out right away with my green horses....if they are off the track...I'll start out on a hack alone on the first ride at home. My green beans...they start out about a week after being broke (usually don't steer or stop well but they learn to like going out). Never had any big issues.

                    Honestly...I just don't make a big deal over it. I do leave a note at the barn where I'm going and when I will be back.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                    • #30
                      If you can find someone who likes to cross-country bike, they can be your hacking buddy, especially for conditioning hacks with lots of trotting! A previous barn had lots of adjoining trails, and my husband would take the lead with his bicycle while I followed on my mare. She figured it out really quickly, and would perk up her ears and adjust her pace to match his! It was really fun, and also desensitized her to bicycles.
                      Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!
                      http://www.etsy.com/shop/PellMellFeltPads

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                      • #31
                        I LOVE hacking. My dog LOVES hacking. My horse LOVES hacking. I didn't have an arena at home so I hacked to many make-shit arena! When I first started hacking out on greenies, I stuck to quiet but populated areas.

                        On a couple horses I would ride them with a halter under their bridle and a lead rope. That way if I came across anything super scary, I would get off and either lead or lunge them. For example, my young horse was a bit ditchy and one of my hacking trails had little ditches. The ground was safe and the area and the grass in front of them was mowed. So I would hop off (not even present the first few times), lead her over a couple times, lunge her over a couple times, mount and ride over a couple times. Another example was a mare I had that would freak out at the smell of pigs. Now most of the horses didn't like it, but this one particular mare, I didn't feel safe on while hacking past the farm with the pigs, so I would hop off and lead her down the road.

                        I also found the horses to appreciate the dog coming along. Her hopping in and out of the bush definitely desensitized them and me! They were all pretty used to her because she always came out with me to feed and what not.

                        Now that I am in an area that offers very little hacking, life is definitely more boring and I can also say my horses fitness and strength has sufferred.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by GutsNGlory View Post
                          Something to add though - Do you have someone willing to go out with you several times over a few weeks as a ground person? I know it isn't exactly the same as going out with a group of horses, but it could help.
                          This really can help, especially if the young horse likes being with people.

                          There's a lot of good advice here. My addition is just to say that some horses aren't ever going to be good going out alone. This, IME, has nothing to do with their willingness to go out on XC by themselves.

                          My old event packer, who hunted and evented for his first 20 years, doesn't like going out alone. You can make him do it but he really doesn't like it at all, and there's no benefit to making him unhappy.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            About 11 years ago I hacked out to the dressage ring in the front field of my boarding barn and have no memory of the rest of that day. I was on a 19yo bombproof steady eddy trail horse. Somehow I fell off and hit my head (helmet had sand on the left side) The barn owner said I could answer some questions correctly (phone number, social security etc) but others I was way of base (I didn't know my own name) I do remember the ER nurse telling me her scary stories of other people riding alone getting a TBI. I spent a week in bed, not able to move without getting dizzy and slowly my memory started to come back (who I was etc, but never the events of that day) So I did promise to never ride alone.... and that was 11 years ago.

                            I do hack our alone, if there is someone on the property in the barn, at the house or working on the property somewhere. I tend to stick to walking around the turnout fields or up and down the long driveway (farm is secluded and back off the main road) Occasionally I have hacked over to the neighbors farm and back (all of 30 min)

                            The ER nurses point was that when you have a TBI the faster you get medical condition the better. The difference between being dependent upon someone else for the rest of your life vs being a functioning member of society.

                            I recognize that there is inherent risk associated with being around horses, on the ground as well as riding them. S*&T happens. And as an eventer you got to get in the leg work and you got to ride outside the ring. And its more fun to be outside the ring than inside anyways. Esp this time of year. I miss the endless hours logged solo on the trail that I did as a teenager. But I can't do it now, I'm a chicken, and I have to pick up my 5yo at the end of the day. So I tend to hack out alone and just stay on the farm circling the turnout fields.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              With my youngster I started slowly.....crossing the driveway, then adding a bit of time down the road... trying to make it NOT a big deal...

                              Personally I'm not comfortable riding out alone off the farm on longer distances... so I hand walk mare for long walks down the road & in fields.... I use a longe line and have a whip with me in case she spooks she won't pull the LL out of my hands... the whip is rarely used but if by chance mare is not willing to go forward (after a reasonable amount of time) she gets little swat on her mid area with a voice command to walk on.

                              I've found this works great....I get to see how see reacts to things she has never seen as well as unforseen incidents---like dogs come to attack us, really.

                              It gives me more courage b/c I am there on the ground as a witness to what she may spook at and how she handles herself in different situations.

                              If I had not done the handwalking I'm sure I would have made situations worse by my anticipating what mare may spook from thus making her nervous.

                              This "exercise" has been a gift to me... I believe now for the most part mare will not spin and run, buck and panic(she's never done this undersaddle),...what I found is that she spooks less than I would have imagined and that when conforted with unknowns that if afraid she will stand with her head towards the object/event and stare curiously afraid to move forward...but I guess the curiosity gets the better of her and she approachs object slowly, may take a step back, but she keeps approaching until she is ok with it. Once is is ok (takes less than a minute) she just walks on w/o issue.

                              bottom line: be safe

                              n

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by clivers View Post
                                if one of us is nervous I sing janis joplin.

                                i do it partly to calm my horse, partly to scare away the deer, turkeys etc. that may be plotting an ambush around the next turn.
                                My singing would scare off a zombie apocalypse.
                                ******************************
                                www.trying2event.blogspot.com
                                www.facebook.com/UltimateStormLARigsby

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                                • #36
                                  My horses are all better off the property. If I hack out of my own barn, they are much more spooky, barn bound, and nit-witty..... There are several public parks in Mercer County that allow horses. Some are very steep and rocky, and perfect to slow/engage just about any horse. Critters are too busy negotiating rocks and catching their breath to find the time to spook, bolt, and carry on!

                                  There are other parks that are flat, with fields and or sand paths that you can hack, power trot, or gallop on too.
                                  "Friend" me !

                                  http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

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                                  • #37
                                    Question: if a good steady horse suddenly starts bucking and will not pay attention to pulley rein, one rein stop etc., to the point where the rider bails, what got the horse started?

                                    (Happened to one of my barn-mates last night... She took steady mare out around dusk, mare was 100% OK with stuff, including a big herd of deer, and then out of the blue... I suggested maybe something stung the mare.)
                                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I can't wait to start incorporating hacks into our winter program.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                        I think there's a difference between being armed for battle with one rein stops (Which I don't think I've EVER done...and I used to ride a pony who had NO ISSUES with bolting on occasion, just because) and riding your horse on the bit and asking for a little obedience and to redirect their attention. Redirecting their attention via a little shoulder in or a simple transition is similar to redirecting them by stuffing them full of cookies (something I'm not a huge fan of...tried it with Vernon to make him think happy thoughts regarding dressage...yeah...not so much). I think redirecting via a little "work" is probably a more productive way, personally. If my horse can do a proper shoulder in while a little up and excited because we're going past the house with the Hounds of the Baskervilles, then I bet he can do it in the dressage ring at a show when something else exciting is happening!
                                        I agree, stuffing with cookies is not what you want to the horse to respond to, in this case they are assuredly not focusing on you instead of the "something else", that "something else" is now a cookie. Hands, legs and seat, that where we all want to meet. And some voice, if I feel the horse is nervous I sing nonsense soothing songs, helps me to relax and not focus on the tense, springy feeling of bunched muscles. The training should already hopefully be done at home, in the field, and the short jaunts which are a good idea but I used to get on off the track horses and take them directly into the woods and fields, unless they were super nervous and I simply just did not ride those from the standpoint of there are too many good horses in the world and I want to live longer. I found they were so happy to get out and just look around, I rarely had problems, primarily taking the form of riding over culverts, bridges or water. If they went readily with ears at half mast listening to both sides and kind of slinking like a cat we went ahead, if they really balked, I found a different route. I wanted the first rides to be as happy as possible with no fight from me and definitely did not go out with all kinds of thoughts of what could happen. That is sure sabotage. You know what could happen, it is a big part of it a mental exercise as to how to keep yourself calm. The rest comes unless you are on a loonie (see above).

                                        I too never had to use a one rein stop except once with a very badly handled paint and no one rein stop was going to keep him from killing both of us, I deliberately headed him into trees with the hope I could break his blamed neck. Thankfully he stopped or slowed up before hand. His owner was worried that I did not get him on his correct lead behind in the arena, so there you go!
                                        "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by quietann View Post
                                          Question: if a good steady horse suddenly starts bucking and will not pay attention to pulley rein, one rein stop etc., to the point where the rider bails, what got the horse started?

                                          (Happened to one of my barn-mates last night... She took steady mare out around dusk, mare was 100% OK with stuff, including a big herd of deer, and then out of the blue... I suggested maybe something stung the mare.)
                                          Maybe, maybe not, they can definitely smell things that we cannot.
                                          "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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