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Hacking Etiquette (or basic common sense if you prefer)

(11 Posts)
skihorse Thu 17-Sep-09 09:06:27

I could put this on AIBU but I don't think most would understand! wink

I went out for a long hack on Sunday (3 hours) with a woman with a small French native horse and me on my warmblood. Whilst her horse has a lovely working trot at walk it dawdles and she doesn't put any effort in to make him walk out. My poor girl was getting bored and frustrated behind and I kept having to halt and wait, halt and wait. I'm ashamed to say I snapped at this woman, lost my temper myself and ended up barging past and walking out at a decent pace. blush

Which leads me on to my next point - I freely admit I barged past this woman on Sunday however last night we went out in a group of 5. One of the women has a new horse and is very nervous so before we went out we agreed that there would be no over-taking and as Ms. Nervous was position 2, only 4 and 5 could swap around. I don't care where I am, my girl's easy - and having suffered chronic loss of nerve before I would be terrified if someone came racing past me. But there we were, the first canter of the evening and the woman from Sunday galloped past from last to first which I personally thought was BANG out of order.

I always think if you agree to race great - that's fine, everyone knows the "rules" and if you're in trouble you yell to stop. However, if someone is very, very anxious and you've agreed to stay in order is that just really poor form?

What say you?

MitchyInge Thu 17-Sep-09 10:00:49

think I'm with you on this one - although I have done it (but NOT on purpose I swear)

the nervous rider on that hack never came back to ride again, she hadn't even cantered before and of course her horse went full pelt after mine blush blush blush now I do everything possible to keep back even if my hands are bleeding and up by his ears blush

Butkin Thu 17-Sep-09 10:39:17

I usually hack out with friends whereas this lady doesn't seem to be on your wavelength. I'd say:

In first instance: If she was dawdling why didn't you lead so that you could walk on at your own pace and she could trot to catch up?

In second instance: Bad form to gallop past anybody unless you shout ahead and they call you through. I hunt regularly and you don't overtake at speed without at least fair warning.

Overall I'd suggest you either hack out alone - so you can go your own pace and school your mare or you agree in advance with your companions about how things will go. At the moment it doesn't sound like fun!

skihorse Thu 17-Sep-09 10:49:39

Butkin I did mostly lead - just once in a while I let her get ahead because I think it's "rude" to hog the lead all the time anyway - plus, bear with me - I only moved the horse to this area 2 weeks ago and we're going through villages I've never even seen on a map before never mind know where to go. I was going behind because I'd get to a junction and have to wait a minute for her to catch up to know which direction to take. I was spitting blood - although I do admit I was in a foul mood that day anyway.

I am having fun in the group just Sunday was horrible. She kept quacking on about how well our horses got on - which is true from the pov that they're great field-mates, but hacking is a pita.

One of my simple pleasures in life is how beautifully my girl will walk out.

I think maybe I'm going to have to bite the bullet and take her to one side and at least explain that you don't go galloping past the others. The other riders were furious too. This woman is also new to the yard (although not to the area) and has never hacked out in company before - so maybe it's just a case of she doesn't know the "rules"?

Poledra Thu 17-Sep-09 10:54:05

I agree she might not know the rules - I wouldn't, your post has been a revelation to me. grin I only started riding as an adult and have only ever hacked out with the riding instructor before. If it were me, I'd really appreciate being given some polite instruction in good hacking manners. Mind you, I'm not sure I'd ever hack without an instructor as I is a wuss.

Really must start going riding again - haven't been since pg with DD1 (6 years ago shock).

Catilla Thu 17-Sep-09 11:10:30

Sounds like basic common sense to me, as you say, and right out of order. Does she talk to everyone? Do you think she was aware of the nervous rider?
Probably the only easy way to try to resolve it rather than just avoid it, would be to find a convenient point to chat about it, and say something like "were you OK after that canter on last night, it looked like xxx [her horse] might have got a bit over-enthusiastic?" I find that giving people's horses a "mind of their own" is a good way to raise issues which might be seen as criticism if directed at the person themselves.

You can then follow on with "I think Ms Nervous was rather worried about the ride, wasn't it lucky her horse was so well behaved. So many horses would have been really upset by being overtaken." and you can add more on the slanted praise for her horse eg. "I'm sure he just wanted a turn at the front".

Good luck! Aren't people difficult?!

skihorse Thu 17-Sep-09 11:29:10

Catilla That's a great suggestion thank you! Now... if only I could work that in with "Do you think maybe the reason you couldn't stop him racing to the front was that his snaffle is about 3" too low on either side?" wink

Poledra Do it! I know you said you didn't know the "rules" but seriously, if you were out in a group of people and you started at the back - would you think it was "normal" just to gallop past everyone? I don't think so.

MitchyInge Thu 17-Sep-09 12:26:34

I wondered if she physically couldn't stop, perhaps no room to turn or horse v v strong and fast?

skihorse Thu 17-Sep-09 12:40:25

Mitchy No, I can't imagine that was the case. He's only about 14hh and we could've safely cantered 3 abreast - these were nice wide grassy tracks. I think she just didn't think - that's all! Plus a terminal case of reins like washing lines...

MitchyInge Thu 17-Sep-09 12:49:29

Hahaha, want to ride out with her so I can look marginally more competent by comparison!

There are one or two horses (rider irrelevant) that I am less keen to go out with because of the competitive dynamic between them and mine. It's not safe to have a canter at all unless you have ages and ages to stop, so hacking is no fun at all.

Ponymum Thu 17-Sep-09 13:05:41

I'm with you. Not only is it well-understood etiquette, but you also said the group actually talked about this and agreed not to do it before you set off! However, getting the message through to this person may take a bit more tact than I have in my possession. Good luck wiith finding the right thing to say.

One of the best group dynamics I ever experienced was on a 5 day trek in Australia. The riding ability was very mixed. Sometimes they split off the more experienced ones to do a bit of cantering through the bush and jumping logs (yes, just like the Man from Snowy river!wink). The leaders made it very clear that if you felt at all in difficulty you must clearly yell 'Stop!', never 'Whoa' as that can be mistaken for 'Go'. I have remembered that tip ever since and say the same thing if I am ever out with inexperienced riders. 'Stop' is much more clearly heard.

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