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Very Short Hacks- Beneficial or a Waste of Time?

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  • Very Short Hacks- Beneficial or a Waste of Time?

    So I got to thinking today as I was rushing to the barn... I have 45 min before work to catch my horse, tack up, ride and put him away. I was on him for 15-20 min and had a nice easy ride. Walk, trot, canter each way and a few changes. I was wondering, even if you don't have a whole 45 min to ride are the short hacks beneficial? I figured it was at least good to get them out, if only even for a short time. I didn't rush the ride either. Once I pull into the barn, I'm immediately relaxed. Haha. Thoughts?

  • #2
    It sounds like it was good for you, so I'd say that's beneficial.


    • #3
      I always say that a short, relaxed ride is better than no ride! No time is wasted when your horse is relaxed and getting exercise!

      (I try to tell myself the same thing about working out - 20 minutes is better than nothing!)


      • #4
        IMO it is good for both the horse and rider. IMO horses really don’t have a sense of time other wise they would go bonkers in their stall. At least I would. I have also found less can be better then more. Depending on the horse.
        To each their own.


        • Original Poster

          I agree with everyone. If I don't really have anything new to work on and they're good, I quit early. Even when I have the time for an hour ride.


          • #6
            I agree- less is better then more and is certainly better then nothing! As said, sometimes those short hacks are great for the rider as well as the horse. One of my horses loved the short hacks and got a lot out of them, the other one loved the long hacks with a lot of breaks and down time to wrap his brain around it.

            Sounds like you have your routine down!


            • #7
              I am the queen of short and sweet rides. If I get done what I needed to accomplish, I quit. I have started and restarted a lot of nut jobs, and this works for them as they have often been drilled to the point of insanity.

              Last night I hopped on my mare bareback and rode out in the pasture for 15 minutes or so. She got to sightsee, I got to decompress. A win-win!


              • #8
                That's pretty much what my weekday rides are...I have to leave for work by 8, plus feed 10 horses so getting there 6 - 6:30 doesn't leave me with much time to ride (plus go home and shower...for some reason my coworkers don't appreciate the smell of horse as much as I do.)

                I do try to keep my rides non challenging and save the "bigger" rides for the weekends where if we get into a discussion about how bending right really isn't the end of the world, then it doesn't make me feel rushed (knowing I'm on a time limit) and we don't get wrapped into a battle making me late. I keep my phone on me and have an alarm that goes off when I have 45 minutes left before I have to leave. That allows for a brief cool down, untacking/feeding, and getting home and getting "pretty" (I live 6 minutes away). I'm also the master of leap into shower, wash, jump out and dry, throw hair into pony tail and slap makeup on and getting out the door in 15 minutes.


                • #9
                  Yep. My guy likes them short and sweet. If I push him to an hour he would shut down and we'd get nothing accomplished. He is the 30 min pro lol. I base my rides on how he is doing. If we can go in and he nails what we are working on in 20 min I'll cool him down and be done. The most we ride is 35 min before a cool down and it works great for him and my trainer always agrees.
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                  • #10
                    my horse loves the short rides and it's more relaxing for me. If I do a full blown ride then I am home really late and still have to cook dinner and eat. At least once a week I just go out and hop on bareback. I do about 20 minutes of stretching exercises at the walk and then a little trot and canter for fun. It allows my horse to stay relaxed while still working on something and it's fun for me.


                    • #11
                      I do 20 minute rides a lot. My guy is older, knows his job, but enjoys getting out. Sometimes that is all the time we have. Enjoy it.
                      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                      ¯ Oscar Wilde


                      • #12
                        Over the winter, when it was brutally cold but I HAD to ride my horse (a clinic coming up that weekend), I referred to those rides as "stretch your legs and remember you're broke" rides. We did a quick w/t/c, he stretched out a bit (not a lot since he was freezing!), and we didn't end up at the clinic completely unbroke and unprepared. There are days he is just GOLDEN and there's nothing else I NEED to do. There are days that I go for a quick walk around the farm.

                        Nothing wrong with any of those rides, especially if you don't need to achieve a massive amount of fitness (with my horse, I can't do too many of those rides as he DOES need to be fit for prelim level eventing). And if it was good for YOUR brain, then, yes, totally beneficial (and probably just as beneficial for him).

                        You can always make them a BUSY 15-20, as long as you can warm up and cool down appropriately.


                        • #13
                          Isn't how something is done as important (usually) as what is done? Sounds like you are having a delightful time and you continue to do something that takes a lot of initial gumption (getting to the barn when time is tight).


                          • #14
                            If short hacks are a waste of time...then I guess most of my rides are a waste!

                            With work & time constraints, many of my rides aren't more than 20-30 minutes and that is on a good day. In the winter with not much day light after work, I do well to ride for 15 minutes! Plus my horse knows her job so I don't think she needs a 45-60 minute hacks and she would probably agree!

                            IMO, it's the quality of the work not the quantity! Today I hope to get a quick, quiet hack in before the farrier comes.


                            • #15
                              Honestly that's about how long I'll hack most horses unless there is specific training in order. Some young ones can only take so much to the brain. The older ones know their jobs, so a short hack is a reward if they're doing everything right. If a horse is fresh or doing conditioning of some sort, yes, then a longer work is in order, but otherwise I say don't overdo it with most horses.


                              • #16
                                I sure hope they're not a waste of time. My coming 4 year old loses interest and gets extremely LAZY after 20 minutes. I'd rather ride 15 or 20 min a day than 30 or more. 45? He'd be yawning! The only time I ride longer than 30 is on a trail ride, then we can go several hours. I also only have time to average 20 minutes or so especially since I have 2 horses now.


                                • #17
                                  Definitely not a waste of time. I use short rides on both young and old horses as part of their training routine. Maybe they worked hard the day before, maybe I'm in a hurry, but whatever the reason these short rides seem to be very productive. Depending on what your goals are, you are most likely going to need some longer rides to get your horse fit and trained, but that doesn't have to be every day. Twenty minutes is long enough to get the horse's brain working and muscles loosened up, which is all some of them need on some days.


                                  • #18
                                    If I ride for a long time on my own, I am likely to push something too far or annoy my horse or screw something up that I have to fix. I am perfectly happy to do short hacks and quit while I'm ahead.
                                    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                    Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                    • #19
                                      It is a far better idea, than heading to the arena, finding you have a problem and being sorry you even thought of riding that day.
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                      • #20
                                        When I first got my OTTB she was 4 and had hardly been ridden since leaving the track. I did LOTS of short rides as I figured 4 15 minute rides was better than 1 hour long ride. Now that she is older I usually try to ride for at least 30-45 minutes in the arena. Trail rides are usually well over an hour. But there are times when I just hop on for 15-20 minutes. It is amazing what you can accomplish in such a short amount of time. I say anything is better than nothing! And it puts a smile on my face!