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Forum: The Online Equestrian Message Forum for Herefordshire,Worcs, Glos, Shrops & Wales
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Schooling exercises for hacks

I'm keen to get my pony going on the flat again for spring and summer dressage comps, but it'll be a while before we can school in the field. Can anybody recommend any schooling exercises to use while out hacking? Many thanks!

Re: Schooling exercises for hacks

I think as long as you are in a safe area (in respect of traffic / pedestrians etc)and somewhere where your mount will not be distracted, then anything goes. Basics that come to mind - try warming up walking and trotting for short periods on the bit so your horse is making a nice outline when you ask and accepting the bit. Think about your positon - are you sitting well / stirrups the right length / balanced etc.
Try asking for obedient, easy transitions from walk to trot and vice versa. Try changing your diaganol - does your mount try and throw you onto a preferred one? On bridleways (where safe) you can practise making a tidy transition from trot to canter and vice versa, and even more advanced, walk to canter and vice versa. Ask your mount to strike out on the a certain leg when you ask for canter - is he listening?
Other exercises might be to ask your mount to stand at any time during your hack and get them obedient doing that. You might then work in the odd rein back. Consider doing a bit of leg yielding, firstly at a walk, and then at a trot. To be honest there is no limit on the variety you can try, just remember to do it in a safe area. Use your voice, praise when its due and if you're not making progress or your horse is just not in the mood, relax enjoy your hack and make a plan to try the same exercise another day.

Re: Schooling exercises for hacks

Thanks Hammy for your really useful advice. It's good to know that I can practise more varied movements than I've attempted so far (a few transitions and some leg-yielding). My mare always enjoys a little bit of schooling on a hack and I'll definitely try the walk-canter and canter-walk on a bridleway. Let's hope we have a kind spring so that we can all get out there competing. Thanks again!