Hacking Help

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Hacking Help

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  • Horse afraid unconfident hacking

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    05-06-2010, 07:07 PM
Hacking Help

Hey guys, heres the problem, J is coming up four now and we are progressing to some tiny hacks around the corn field next door to our field on our own.

Normally he goes out with another horse who is a great lead which is fine but I want him confident on his own. We have been around the said field many times in company and in hand.


To get to this field we need to walk a little way down a track past a small alotment/ plot which houses dogs. The place is hidden by some trees but J goes past this three times a week. Following another horse he is fine, infront of another horse he is fine but on his own it is nearly impossible so I nearly always seem to have to lead him past then remount.

Any advice?

I know he is young to be going out on his own but we are talking in sight of his fieldmates here not a 10 mile hack
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    05-06-2010, 07:26 PM
I just saw a Chris Cox episode that involved problem solving of spooky horses. What he did worked like a charm for my horse. Like yours, he's fine with other horses, but it less confident when out alone. Here's what he recommended. Hacking should be fun and relaxing for both horse and rider, so it should be done on a loose rein. If the rider is all up in the horse's face, the horse has no choice but to worry about why the rider is being so active up there. The rules are: Loose reins, hands forward (so you can get contact of either rein quickly by straightening your arm), calm rider, and never let the horse turn away from the object he's afraid of. What Chris Cox did was ride a spooky horse out into the woods. He had a friend jump out flapping a rain coat which sent the horse flying out of it's skin. He gained control by using his loose reins with hands forward, one at a time, to keep the horse's head facing the guy with the rain coat. He didn't do anything with his body other than sit square and keep the horse facing the object. After a good 3 minutes of his friend flapping the rain coat, the horse finally settled down and he was able to walk him up to it. He said the most important thing to remember is to never pick up both reins at once. It can flip over a horse that is spinning around trying to bolt and also cause a horse to rear since it feels trapped. The big trick of the loose reins was keeping the horse feeling safe by not confining it's head, but still having control of the head using the alternating steering reins. He said it's okay if the horse backs up, but he has to keep facing the object. Only when he calms down do you attempt to walk up to or past the object.

I modified this exercise a little. I know what objects my horse likes to pretend to be afraid of, so I started our hack already alternating my reins, so we were walking in a zigzag pattern rather than straight. It probably looked funny, but my horse proceeded to walk calmly past all the objects he objected to the ride before. It worked fantastic! Hope it helps you.
    05-06-2010, 07:38 PM
It sounds great and I have tried a variation on it myself but even with loose reins like above he pivots and spins like a quarter horse and heads straight back to yard/barn. Im not sure if it is lack of confidene or naughtyness as as soon as he is lead down the trck he is fine, I don't want to be mean to him but I don't want him to be taking advantage of me.

So I'm thinking if I was to try the loose rein thing with another person just walking in front is that encouragement? If he is fine does that mean its a fear thing or naughtyness?? What do you think?
    05-06-2010, 07:59 PM
I think he's totally putting you on simply because he has no problems unless he alone. He's just being a goofball. You just have to outlast or rather out-stubborn him assuming you can sit out those spins. Sounds like you just need to be a split second faster. If he succeeds in turning completely around, he's won that round. Really practice using the alternating reins to keep him turned toward the dogs. Don't ever let him complete a circle. Always turn him back the way he spun. It's not mean. It's not like you're yanking on him or yelling at him. You're just managing the situation. I would never be mean to my horse either. To me it serves no purpose whatsoever.

Maybe go past it a few times with the other horse, and then bring him back past a few times by himself with the other horse nearby but not participating in the exercise. Just remember. When you do get the desired result, lots of pats and praise. Let him know he's a good boy.
    05-06-2010, 08:15 PM
Thanx my boy!! Did think he was taking a lend but was worrying that if he was scared and pushed him I'd make matters worse.

Might sound daft but what happens if I just end up sitting there??? Lol will he get fed up before me?
    05-06-2010, 08:20 PM
I know that last post sounded daft its just sometimes I just wish he would walk past its soo frustrating and I don't want to end up yelling at him it just gets so frustrating!!

Its really late here but we're riding tomoro so if I have the same problem I'll post on here again (will try to anyway) and let you know what happens. Thanks for advice!

Good night for now
    05-07-2010, 02:13 PM
Right well when I got up farm today it was blowing a gale and all the horses were up a height so instead of riding we did a little lunging instead and he was great. So I know I wont be able to ride tomorrow which means the plan is sunday morning... fingers crossed!
    05-09-2010, 05:12 PM
So how'd it go?
    05-10-2010, 07:36 AM
Hiya sorry I havent been online earlier had a few inet probs

It went really well he tried spoiining a couple o times then I just stood him on a loose rein and after a few mins asked him to go forwards. He jumped a mile when dogs barked but we did it!!!

Thank you for help
    05-10-2010, 05:53 PM
Yey! That's great news. Each time the spook will get less and less to where he won't even side step...hopefully.

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