We all love hacking because there’s nothing more relaxing than taking your fave pony for a long ride. But it can also be a fun way to top-up your pony’s schooling and help strengthen his muscles in ways that can’t be achieved on a flat surface of an arena.
Riding on the road can be great for getting your pony fit and the firm surface means that you won’t have to worry about uneven ground! Riding on the road has some great benefits for your pony, too, such as…
- riding in straight lines, which is easier for him while he builds up muscle
- working on a firm surface, which will help strengthen and condition his legs
Top tip – Make sure you don’t overwork your pony on hard surfaces – such as trotting for long periods – because it could put him at risk of injury.
Hills are fantastic for building your pony’s fitness, balance and stamina. It’s also great practice for tackling a cross-country course. But to make sure he’s getting the best out of the work, you’ve got to make sure he’s using himself correctly. Ponies are powered by their hindquarters, so he needs to be fully engaged when going uphill – it should feel like he’s pushing you forwards from behind rather than dragging himself up.
Did you know?
Schooling along a bridleway is also good practice for competing on a grass arena.
For more great tips on schooling while out hacking pick up a copy of September PONY, on sale 1 August.