Written by: Larissa Cox
Now that summer is here, we all think about hacking and it seems each time we are out for longer periods, going further in search of new places. There is nothing better than tacking up and going out for a relaxing hack with friends or on your own. The change of scenery, the gallop in the field makes you fall in love with riding and horses all over again and you forget all about the stresses of life.
Wherever you ride, it is highly likely that you will have to encounter a certain amount of road work at some time or another. Always make sure that both you and your horse wear reflective high visibility clothing so that you can be easily seen by others using the same roadway.
If you were like me, initially I didn’t think there was a need for reflective clothing, after all, my hacks were in daylight, but take a close look at this picture which was taken in daylight. How long did it take you to see the second horse and rider?
Even though you have no intention of riding into the night, there may be those circumstances when you do, so having reflective clothing is a very good idea for each and every time you hack.
Not only do I ride with a reflective vest and reflective arm bands, but my horse Rio is decked out with leg reflectors and a martingale reflector. He also wears an LED flashing brow band by Horse e Lites. This brow band has reflective stitching above and below the lights which enhance visibility to over 1000 feet so that we can be seen.
In my previous post, I mentioned some equipment that I take along with me during my trail rides/hacks, one of which is a cell phone. Some people put their phones in their pockets and each time I have done so, it seems the phone isn't there when I need it. If you trot along the trail, your cell phone can bounce out of your pocket, so I now have a cute cell phone holder which attaches to my riding boot. I personally like this way of carrying my cell phone rather than strapping it to my arm. The cell phone holder is fairly inexpensive ranging in price from $7.50 - $10.00 and in my opinion is a good investment. Attached to the inside of the cell phone holder is my personal and medical information. I also have a sport ID wrist band which I also use. In case Rio and I are separated, Rio has attached to his bridle an ID tag which has all his information so that we can be reunited. This ID tag is attached to his bridle at all times. On occasion and especially when Rio is travelling, I attach an Equitag onto his mane for more visibility and added protection.
A serious consideration for anyone on a hack is a first aid kit. Whether you design one for yourself or purchase one, make sure it is a comprehensive first aid kit in a convenient compact portable pack. I have one that fits on my belt designed for everyday emergencies. Remember to include aspirin and some folded duct tape!
For the hacker that has everything and wants even more, try a folding hoof pick belt! There is just so much you can take with you on a hack and you really don't want to be burdened with so much equipment as you really want to enjoy the ride, so another space saving safety item is the folding hoof pick belt. We all wear belts, right? The hoof pick actually snaps off and is a fully functional hoof pick which is satisfactory for those trail issues.
I have modified everything to suit my needs when hacking out. You use a saddle pad on your horse so why not use one with pockets? Pockets can store anything from water to snacks! These pads aren't too badly priced at $35 each. I put my collapsible Vapur refillable water bottle in the pocket along with my trail mix or energy bar. I generally keep my empty bottle in the pocket so that I always have it on hand when I hack out and don't have to hunt for it.
These are just a few items that I use constantly on my hacks. You may think that this is just so much you need to take, but you'll find it's quick and just as easy as tacking up your horse...and yet you are prepared for the trail.
Happy riding, Larissa.