The idea behind it:
Yourhorse have created a fantastic scheme that is designed to get you out hacking more.
The benefits detailed by Yourhorse show that riding stimulates positive feelings, that being one with nature whilst exercising promotes great benefits. Hacking is free, it is one thing you can do with your horse that doesn’t cost you a penny! in 2026 any wrongly classified bridleways run the risk of being scrapped completey. Getting out hacking and finding new routes will assist the bridleways and access officers to secure our routes.
With the Yourhorse pledge of hacking 1000 miles per year it creates a great, fun goal you can do either on your own or with company.
We have followed this story with the lovely Joanna Holland, ambassador for Yourhorse and her beautiful mare Summer.
Jo has had a great passion for this challenge, and grabbed the bull by the horns tackling challenge head on. Jo unfortunately had an accident whilst out hacking which understandably caused Jo to lose her confidence.
This challenge provided an option for Jo and Summer to build on her confidence and strengthen her bond with Summer. We chat with Jo about her experience of the challenge.
Jo and Summer’s Story:
Could you tell us a bit of the history of you and Summer
I have had Summer now almost 3 years. I bought her as broken in 4 year old 🙂 just a bit green. She looked just like the horse of my dreams – bay with a white star and 4 black legs (International Velvet!!)
Unfortunately, Summer was a bit more than that.
At the beginning, Summer Breeze proved to be more of a challenge than a dream come true. She used to drag me behind her, tanking off coming in from the field. She wanted to kill me on the ground, would never let me in the stable with her, and you could just forget about cleaning her hind legs…!
She was horrible for her first farrier visit, double barrelled him a few times. In the first year of riding her I learned to sit to rears, spins, bucking and bronking which was knocking my confidence every day. I only used to ride well-schooled horses and now I had to put up with a very opinionated young mare.
I only started riding again about 5 years ago after a 20 year break.
What inspired you to take on the #hack1000miles challenge?
As soon as I heard about the challenge I felt like this was something for us. My goal is to one day compete in endurance events. By doing this challenge I will not only get Summer fitter but also strengthen our bond and overcome our fears.
She is a typical mare – very dominant and stubborn. If you would ask my husband – he would say – Just like me! Maybe that’s why we are such a great team as we understand each other.
Unfortunately two years ago we had an accident on a hack, resulting in me dislocating my shoulder and fracturing my arm in three places.
When I recovered and was able to ride I felt we had to start again. I had lost all my confidence and couldn’t face hacking out. I went back to basics. Gradually I began going on short hacks to build up my confidence with friends from the yard.
The Hack 1000 miles challenge provided me with the motivation to get out hacking more and more. I even started going on my own dragging my family out for support. We have been combining training with being out and enjoying nature. There have been of course good and bad days but we have always tried to concentrate on the positives. Taking all the setbacks as a chance to improve and work towards a goal.
What have been the highs and lows of this challenge?
Being chosen to be one of the #Hack1000miles Ambassadors!!
Seeing Summer becoming more confident with every hack we do. Our bond has never been stronger. We overcome obstacles as a team. From a horse that would nap and bolt for home when out on our own or just follow another horse when out with a friend. She has become an amazing leader to less experienced horses and riders.
It has also helped me overcome my fears and become a more confident rider. Every day brings new challenges and has some highlights – but being Summers owner has taught me to take one day at a time and appreciate little things.
I no longer let the setbacks get me down and keep positive. We have completed #hack1000miles in March this year and re-started the challenge again in April!
So far we have done two Endurance Pleasure Rides and two beach rides. Both were something I thought I will never be able to enjoy with Summer. But we have done it and I am no longer scared of cantering in open spaces!! Or taking Summer out on my own.
I had to stop the challenge for a month and a half last year due to an ill fitting saddle. This caused Summer some back problems because of that. On that note…. always check your saddle for lumps and bumps after being re-flocked by your saddle fitter.
After her many physio treatments (big thanks to Equigility and Ruth) Summer is finally healthy again!
What advise would you give to those thinking about taking on this challenge?
It’s not about “clocking up” the miles. It’s about the time you spend together. You are strengthening your bond. You are learning to trust each other. It’s a great way to set yourself goals and targets – or just relax and go with the flow. Either way it’s very rewarding and motivating to see the miles rack up.
My Tips would be:
– Stay safe and be visible: when out on my own, I keep in touch with my husband at all times. We have a rule: I call/txt before I set out, during, and when I am back from my hack. In case of an accident his number is the first in my contact list followed by an ICE (In Case of Emergency) I also use an app called *bsafe* which is free of charge and my husband and daughter are both my guardians when out hacking on my own – it sends them regular updates where I am.
– I also have a riders personal and liability insurance as you never know
– Download a tracking app: I have found Gallopica and the Equilab very useful and easy to measure your hack
– Involve your family: I like hacking out with my husband, daughter and the dogs! My husband likes to jog – so we combine one of my training hacks with his cardio workout
– Hack out with friends: I found hacking with friends that own experienced horses very helpful in Summers education.
But….. most and for all remember to enjoy it 🙂
What is your favourite item to have with you when out hacking
That would be my bum bag that has a drink holder 🙂 would never venture out without it!
Jo has inspired us to get out and hack more. What a perfect motivational story to help us all build our confidence hacking and have some fun!
x J x