Girls Horse Club Blog

Happy Hacking

Published by • Mar 21st, 2009 • Category: Junior Blogger Archives, Riding Advice

by ponygalmaddy, age 13

Happy HackingFor many of us, the nights are getting lighter, the days warmer, and the horses a bit more ‘alive’. This means HACKING — trotting down country lanes, cantering through forests, galloping across fields, splashing in streams, trying new routes and riding into the sunset. But while having a great time, we must think of safety precautions. Here are some tips for staying safe while hacking out.


  • Horses and ponies must be ridden in a saddle and bridle out on roads
  • It’s always a good idea to wear a body protector as well as your helmet and safe shoes.
  • If riding a nervous horse, make sure you ride on a quiet road.
  • Learn all hand signals before riding out on roads.
  • Always ride on the left side of the road.
  • Ride around drains.
  • If you’re riding out in a group don’t ride more than two side-by-side.


  • Keep to the allocated bridleway tracks.
  • Choose your riding speed carefully; watch out for low branches and slippery ground.
  • Don’t jump anything without checking the ground around it first.
  • Always take a mobile phone with you.
  • Carry a hoof pick.
  • If you go down a steep hill, dismount and lead your horse down.
  • Don’t upset any wildlife
  • In some areas, you need special passes to ride around the forests so check before you go out.


  • Once you are in the field, don’t just gallop off. If you know your horse is nervous, take it slow until he is used to it.
  • Make sure you are allowed in the field, and the farmer isn’t in there ploughing, etc.
  • Try to stay on the track — the farmer wouldn’t be happy if you trample his crops.


  • Check there is no undercurrent, they are VERY dangerous!
  • Some horses are nervous of water so let them take their time.
  • Always wear your helmet in river and stream; if you fall off you don’t know what your falling in.
  • Some horses LOVE water so much they want to roll with it. The telltale sign that they’re going to roll is to paw the water. If that happens, KICK ON!!


  • Make sure you take a map before you try a new hack, so you do know where you’re going.
  • Tell an adult where you’re going, so if you do get lost some one can come out and look for you.
  • Take some food and drinks for you and your pony, so if you to get lost you’ll be able to have something to eat and drink.
  • Again, take a mobile phone in case of any injuries or if you get lost.
  • If you encounter some good grass, take a break and let your horse have a snack.

If you follow this guide, you’ll soon be riding into the distance, safely.

9 Nickers »

  1. This is a great blog! Its something anyone who is planning to ride out of the arena should read.

  2. Great blog!
    I have one safety precaution; since I live on the plains there are holes everywhere! Prairie dogs,rabbits,badgers, you name it. You always need to be on the look out for holes where ever you are,horses can easily break a leg in one.

    Glad your writing for us again,Ponygalmaddy! :)

  3. Wow!

    Awesome Job!

    This is very informative!

    Many people out there don’t know all the rules of the horse world.

    You just helped to put it into simply words that EVERYONE can understand!

    ~Eastern Cowgirl~

  4. Wow! I never could have thought of all those things that are possible dangers. I wonder if my riding teacher will let me go on a hack on one of her horses when I get better?

  5. I love hacking, we sometimes go with our instructor. I don’t normally think abnout dangers because we have our own track, past the paddocks. But I would love to go riding somewhere new!

  6. I agree with you Sweetie!

  7. This helped me a lot! Thanks for the informative blog, ponygalmaddy!


  8. thanks everyone for your kind words!

  9. Sorry im late to comment. That was really helpful, thanks!