Taking part in MyHackathon often means you’ll be changing your routine, so take some time to read the points below before you start. If you’re unsure about your horse’s fitness, you should consult a professional before starting any new exercise regime.
What to consider before taking part
- Age: Young horses who are still growing and developing aren’t able to take on as much as mature, fully-developed horses, and older horses may be less able to cope with long distances. Be mindful of this and don’t push your horse to do too much.
- Medical history: The same goes for injury-prone horses or those recovering from injury or illness. They won’t be able to take on as much activity as horses who are fit, healthy and sound.
- Fitness: Consider how much is right for your horse’s current level of fitness and how well they will be able to cope with the hacking programme, and adjust the pace and distance of each hack to suit you both. If MyHackathon means taking on a lot more activity, fitness should be built up gradually over several weeks (see Equimed’s 10 reasons for a daily horse workout). Consider following a training programme like this one from Horse & Hound.
What to look out for during MyHackathon
- Signs of tiredness or exhaustion: Make sure your horse has adequate rest and beware of overdoing it, especially with horses that aren’t used to frequent exercise or are returning from injury/illness. Signs of tiredness include stumbling, tripping, sweating a lot, panting/difficulties breathing, flared nostrils, weakness, stiffness, and dull, lethargic behaviour.
- Signs of injury, strain, back pain or lameness: If your horse is showing any of these signs please stop hacking and make sure your horse is given appropriate treatment.
- A change in behaviour: If your horse becomes lethargic, goes off their food or seems stiff in their movement, they’re doing too much. Refusing to move or being aggressive could mean your horse is trying to tell you they’re overworked.
- Temperature and climate: If it’s hot out, don’t let your horse get dehydrated. This can lead to heat stress, which can have a serious impact on health.
- Diet: Make sure your horse is getting the right nutrition for their exercise regime. Most won’t need to change their diet, but keep an eye on their weight and adjust their meals if needed.
Remember to hack safely, looking after yourself, your horse and the environment around you.
Advice for hacking on the roads.
Hacking advice in a downloadable PDF.
Safety advice for you and your horse.