At Plumtree,  one of my main aims,  is to teach my clients to be secure and safe in the saddle, at the same time as becoming all round riders. I share my knowledge, experience and enjoyment in all aspects of riding, which includes riding out and about. Often refered to as 'hacking', it is an essential basic requirement, in training all horses in equine pursuits and sports. If all the riding we did was in an arena,  it would be the equivalent of sending a child to school and not allowing them a break in between lessons or,in my day, playtime. Therefore, it is important for the horse both physically and mentally to be hacked out regularly.

   Riding out and about is in many ways is very different to riding in an enclosed space. However, I feel that both Hacking and tuition in an arena really do complement each other, in the development of an all round proficient rider. The horse is a herd animal and has a natural survival instinct to flee from danger.This makes them less predictable in open spaces and traffic. It is a skill that develops over time, to feel, foresee and understand what each individual horse may find frightening, then learn how to react to keep the horse confident, reassured, and safe in those different environments.

   A Riding and Road Saftey exam does exist. In my opinion, it would be beneficial to horses and motorists, if this was made a legal requirement. At Plumtree we support the British Horse Society's lead in educating riders how to stay safe as our roads get busier and busier. We do have access to quiet roads to teach these principals, but its safer and much more enjoyable to take advantage of the woods that are near by .

  I like to combine hacking into my clients regular riding lessons, the same way that we would include a jumping lesson or a lunge lesson. Therefore, hacking is only offered to our clients that ride regularly with us. I believe its essential that you have ridden a Plumtree horse or pony in the arena before riding out and about. This ensures that the rider has some knowledge of the nature of the horse or pony that they are riding. All our horses are experienced at hacking, they are confident and well mannered, true schoolmasters who our clients can trust and learn from.

  Our beginner riders start their hacking out with the Instructor by their side and on a lead rein. They progress so that they are confident off the lead rein, still with the Instructor on foot. The next progression is for the Instructor to be riding as well. We keep our hacking mainly on a one to one basis, just as our riding lessons are mainly private lessons. This keeps the learning experience tailored to the individual persons needs.