Hacking on my own.

fishy

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I have finally come to the conclusion that my mare just doesn't like to go on a hack on her own. Whilst not dangerous, she is clearly stressed at being on her own and will snort, spook and power walk, even on a route that she has done many times before. However if I ride her with my daughter and her little cob, she is an angel, no snorting, no spooking and definitely no power walking, she is happy in front or behind him. Should I just accept that she is happier in company and not try to hack her on her own, or should I take her out now and then on her own, or should I try and always ride her on her own so she becomes used to that, then introduce the company? Any suggestions?
 

Alphamare

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I guess it depends on how important hacking alone is to you. I often have to ride alone so I would be forcing the issue myself. Have been actually.

It's about building their confidence in you and themselves. Little and often with progression on the length of time spent out.

Also think long term if you ever had to sell most people want a horse that will hack out alone.
 

Jingleballs

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I'm at a very small yard and few of the other liveries hack out so I often have to hack on my own.

My pony is generally good but if he's not been hacked out on his own for a while he's spooky and snorty and generally unpleasant to ride.

I make a point of working him through it and I find that he gets better the more he's out.
 

katie_southwest

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If you plan to keep your horse forever and arent bothered about going out alone then it really doesnt matter.
But as others have said, should you ever have to sell or loan etc, quite a lot of people do like to go on their own.
Personally, my mare is alot better in company - but I do like to go on my own. In the summer when I can hack after work and she goes out about 5 times a week she gets used to it and is fine...in winter when I can only really hack a couple of times a week (weather permitting) realistically she goes out once a week or once a fortnight on her own as we go with a friend also sometimes.
She can be an idiot, spooking, power walking, napping and basically a right cow sometimes if she hasnt been out for a while.
I think the key is to keep it up regularly - as I say, in the summer when I can get her out about 4/5 times a week shes fine :)
 

NicoleS_007

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As others have said its up to yourself weather you want to push the issue or not. My mare snorts and spooks, tippy toes past scary things which shes seen a dozen times, but I like hacking alone and as much as she spooks and snorts she enjoys it to :)
 

BlackVelvet

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If he seems better the longer hes out then id keep trying,

Mine used to be a general pain by himself, used to stop and plant his feet (pretending to be scared to something..) then spin round. But if i kicked him out and make him go he was fine, also hed put in stupid spooks to see if id go home with him,

After a few months i didnt have an issue with him at all, put it down to him testing me out.
 

Toffee44

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Although mine doesnt spook she neighs....alot!!


I force myself to go hacking alone. Like some others on here I am on a smallish yard and not many hack out in the week (I sometimes work w/ends) also they refust to ride on the roads, so I grit my teeth and go it alone, she is getting better going more regulary though.
 

vicksey

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It depends how much you want to be able to hack on your own. My horse was very nappy on his own when I first got him as a youngster so it was my mission to crack it and own a horse that I can do whatever/whenever I want. 6 years on we just starting to see a change but It is the best feeling getting on your horse and going wherever you want without drama and panic. Not that I would ever sell my horse but it is also a selling point to add that your horse will hack out alone and in company.
 

fishy

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Thank you for your comments, here goes with some answers. I have had my mare for 12 months and she is 8 years old. I don't know much about her past, other than she has come over from Ireland and had a foal over there (I suspect she had one before I got her) We've spent the last 12 months getting to know each other and in the stable, and on the ground she's an angel. I have lessons once a week, although at the moment the weather is so bad I find I'm hacking about 5 or 6 times a week,our arena flooded last weekend! She is much better in the summer when she is out, but unfortunately we have very limited winter turnout. I would love to keep her forever, however I would love to be able to take her out on our own. I too love it, there's nothing better to clear your head and destress you! Think I may hack her out with my daughter over the winter and concentrate on taking her on her own next spring/summer and build up her confidence.
 

Bikerchickone

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Personally I like to be able to hack out alone so I'd be very gutted if I couldn't. Have you tried walking her out in hand to see if she's the same? You could try walking the route with her one day and riding through it the next. Horses generally are different in alone to when they're in company. I find one of mine is much more spooky with others than alone, he's a total rock on his own but if we go out with a slightly nervous horse he acts worse than the nervous one! Very bizarre, but I just ignore it and if he keeps on I eventually ask him to come down on the bit and start doing some leg yielding or something along the lane. He soon forgets whatever it was he was worried about and decides having to work out hacking isn't fun!

Keep trying, and good luck.
 

Shantara

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Sounds just like Ned! Except I can't even get Ned onto the drive. We've only just mastered the school!
However, in company, even just one other, he's a complete donkey!

Good luck :) When Ned owner/YO gets more land, we're going to try and ride in the safety of the fields and no nasty roads to worry about.
 

Maesfen

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Sounds just like my new mare, I could have written that myself!

She drives me mad as she's a great ride just insists on spooking and it doesn't matter how many times she's been along the same route but ask her to go along the A41 with artic's and what have you bouncing about around her and she doesn't turn a hair which is the sole reason she's not been sent back yet! I'm hoping it's just a phase; tell me it will get better - please!!
 

fishy

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I'm hoping she gets better! I was chatting to a friend of mine, who has a beautiful calm mare, that she's had for 4 years. She told me that when she first got her she was very green and rushed everywhere and was really stressy. With work and perseverance she turned into the beautiful calm mare, steady as a rock. I don't mind the occasional spook and I'm fine with the star jumps, its the stress that it seems to cause her that I don't like. She gets herself sooo worked up that you can visibly feel/see her relax when I turn into the yard. As I said she's a dream on the ground so I too am hoping it gets better.
 

Zimzim

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I'd stick at it if you can. Sometimes it can take ages to get them to the point whereby they will calmly hack out, and if your determined to go on your own, you will do.

Even if you do hack out with someone else over winter to build up her confidence more, then in the spring gradually start going on short hacks alone and build it up to longer rides.

However as you say she seems fine in summer as Im persuming shes turned out for longer periods of time/ or 24/7 so therefore she is getting plenty of exercise? And since you have limited winter turnout it could be that she has that much energy etc that she is misbehaving whilst hacking because she doesnt get to let off enough steam in the field at the moment.
 

Winklepoker

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Again.. I could have written that! My horse goes out like a donkey with others and HATES going it alone... I long rein round the fields which seems to help his spookyness but he can be sharp as a tack when he wants to be.
 

wildcard

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Agree with what everyone else has said try as little and often as possible, Not many people on my yard like to hack out and when they do are more times than not more nervous than there horses, so i tend to go it alone and teach my horse to be confident with just me. this does at the start usually consist of lost of whinnying, spooks etc but persaveer.. it does get better..

maybe try doing some hard schooling then a short hack as a reward and this might help teach her its fun,enjoyable and not quite as hard work. It may help her to relax..

i always think even if you dont like hacking alone its always safer to be able to have a horse that will just encase of emergencies.. Ie if friend falls off and horse runs away.. is bad enough to have a possible injured rider, loose horse etc without having the one your sat on been silly aswell..

xx
 

Firewell

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I think it depends how much hacking on your own means to you. I like hacking on my own (sometimes I prefer it) as I don't have to worry about anyone else and I can canter where I like ect.
My friend had a 15yr old dressage horse though that obviously hadn't hacked much. She was awful on her own, she *would* do it but she would plant and rear frequently. My friend is terribly experienced with tricky horses (especially rearers) and even she decided in the end it wasn't worth it and to keep her as a walk round the block once a week in company dressage horse :).
 

canteron

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Thank you for your comments, here goes with some answers. I have had my mare for 12 months and she is 8 years old. I don't know much about her past, other than she has come over from Ireland and had a foal over there (I suspect she had one before I got her) We've spent the last 12 months getting to know each other and in the stable, and on the ground she's an angel. I have lessons once a week, although at the moment the weather is so bad I find I'm hacking about 5 or 6 times a week,our arena flooded last weekend! She is much better in the summer when she is out, but unfortunately we have very limited winter turnout. I would love to keep her forever, however I would love to be able to take her out on our own. I too love it, there's nothing better to clear your head and destress you! Think I may hack her out with my daughter over the winter and concentrate on taking her on her own next spring/summer and build up her confidence.
Sounds a really sensible compromise!!

...... and as a last resort, if your horse is only 8 and your daughter keeps up her riding it won't be many years before she gets that wonderful teenage confidence and can help you out with the hacking training!!
 
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Shantara

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(Posting another story XD just remembered about it)
I think if you keep at it and make rides positive, I'm sure she'll get to enjoy them!
I ride a horse out alone sometimes, he's called Archie and he used to be REALLY stressy when I took him out alone. He'd snort, want to trot everywhere and spook more than usual. He would never get REALLY strong, so that was a bonus.
The more exciting and interesting I made it for him, the more he enjoyed it and wanted to go out with me.
The only real incident we've had was there was a few pages of a 'lads mag' strewn across the road XD naughty horse obviously wanted to have a look, as he wouldn't move past for 10mins!
He's a star though, even when we met wasps, who decided to chase us on a road, I buried my face in his mane and he took me to the bridleway and stuck to the end of the road. He EVEN pulls over for traffic on his own :p If there's a layby, he'll move over, then continue when the lorry has gone ^^

Sorry to gush about Archie, but he's just so great hehe! Here's the stunning boy :) http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j308/gothic180/29924_403362877887_516957887_4173699_8147583_n.jpg
 

Mahoganybay

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I am 4 years in with my mare and she still does not like hacking out alone, she is spooky, strong and nervous, some days are worse than others, but with other horses she is great.

I do 'make' her go out alone because there are times when i want to ride on my own, initially the 'making' her go alone involved napping and rearing, fortunatly she does not do that anymore, she goes with a little growl. i know when she is genuinely scared (can feel her heart racing and her teeth chatter bless) but i can now deal with those situations quickly & most importantly calmly.

I have accepted that my mare will always be like this.
 
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Just found this post and Im glad I did.
I have a had my mare now for just over a year and she is great out with other horses so I tried to day for the first time in my new yard to take her out myself and she planked her feet and reared when I pushed her on, nothing scary but I know this is her way of telling me its too much. I want to be able to hack on my own as its nice to have that option.
In the end I got off and led her round lol took us 15 mins as its a short round the block hack but I didnt want to give in to her and let her know she won so we did it even if I wasnt on her.
I think Ill try and do it more as I think with her repitition is key!
Please keep us posted as Id love to know if it gets any easier, I dont fancy too many days like today!!
 

skydancer

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When i hack out on my own my horse will jog, spook etc for the first 15 minutes and then she will relax and is normally dope on a rope when we get back to the yard. THe best thing to do is ride her thru it, ignore any spooking, snorting and she should settle down:)
 

fishy

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Again thanks for all the fantastic responses :) Is this a mare thing? My daughters little gelding takes everything in his stride! I'm also so glad I'm not on my own with this. I find that she gets more stressy once she knows we are headed for home and can be awful riding up the lane to the farm. She wants to go! and if I try and hold her back she will buck or rear (more little bunny hops, but she has reared once). I try and ride her forward but with some bend in her neck to stop her bucking or rearing and breathe slowly (think I breathe). Am definitely going to hack with my daughter over winter and try her on her own again in spring/summer. Good luck to everyone having similar experiences. Keep me posted x
 
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