Jun 14, 2021

Lauren Nicholson's Top Tips for Successful Hacking

Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus. USEA Photo

We all want to do the best with our young horses and to produce well-schooled, educated animals. However, it’s easy to get bogged down in detail and spend a lot of time in the arena. We shouldn’t forget that young event horses need to learn to deal with wide-open spaces, natural terrain, and obstacles - and the best way to do this in an unpressurized way is by going hacking.

US Olympian Lauren Nicholson says: “Hacking is an integral part of my program and really should be part of everyone's. It’s important for the development of the horse’s body - muscles, ligaments, soft tissue, and so on. Event horses are expected to run across the varying ground and jump solid objects, and they need to learn to keep their balance while doing so. Introducing that early on in their lives is essential.”

Here are Nicholson's top tips for successful hacking:

  • “If your horse is green or spooky, or you or your horse are a bit timid, find a more experienced, settled horse and rider to go with to get your confidence up.
  • “We are lucky here in Virginia to have access to undeveloped woodland and lots of open spaces, and we call hacking through that ‘bushwacking’ for the babies; going off-site and making new trails, walking through creeks, popping over little dead logs on the ground. Make the most of what is around you. It’s good for their brains to do something different and makes going cross-country pretty easy.
  • “Look for different types of terrain to cross at different speeds. Go up and down hills and banks. Help them learn to find their own balance and to think for themselves.
  • “Keep within your comfort level and, if hacking is something that makes you nervous for whatever reason, put it into very manageable steps. Don’t ask your horse to cross a creek alone, for example, if you don’t have the skill set to do it successfully alone. But, on the other hand, you don’t want to create a problem that might lead to a bigger issue.
  • “Be clear about what you want and be firm; give the impression of confidence to the horse, even if you don’t really feel confident.
  • “With my young horses, the first rule is that they have to stay on my line of direction, even if it is just from one fence post to another. So keep your focus, and keep calm, taking them back to stay on that line, even if they are doing everything they can to distract you from that, and eventually, they will give up and get on with it.
  • “Always give yourself enough time to achieve whatever you have set out to do.
  • “Take the emotion out of it. Like everything, hacking - especially on a young horse or one who might be spooky or resistant - is about training and repetition.
  • “Don’t forget that hacking is good for older horses, too; it helps keep them comfortable, enjoying their work, and is great for longevity and long-term soundness. It’s also great for fitness; remember how, as humans, it is much harder to run 10km at a good speed on natural terrain than it is on a treadmill in the gym.”
Oct 23, 2021

Sara Kozumplik-Murphy Takes the CCI4*S Lead at TerraNova After Dressage

The inaugural Event at TerraNova kicked off with dressage on Friday at Terranova Equestrian in Myakka City, Florida. In the CCI4*-S the first rider down the centerline Leslie Law (GBR) took the early lead riding the Irish Sport Horse Typically Fernhill (Dondoctro Ryal K x Castlefield Sarah), owned by Craig McCallum, on 27.2. He maintained the lead through the lunch break and then Sara Kozumplik Murphy and her syndicated Selle Francais gelding Rubens d’Ysieux (Balougran x Orenda d/Ysieux / Mr. Blue) took the top spot with 26.1.

Oct 22, 2021 USEA Foundation

Holekamp/Turner Grant Recipient, MBF Cooley Permission to Land, Completes Dressage at Mondial du Lion

Young horses from all over the world have flocked to Le Lion d'Angers, France for the Mondial du Lion young horse championships, including this year's Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. Prize recipients Cole Horn and MBF Cooley Permission to Land (Cobra x Deeply Dippy K). Horn and the 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding bred by Knightfield Stud are representing the U.S. in the 2021 FEI Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in the 7-year-old CCIYH3*-L Championship.

Oct 22, 2021 Young Event Horse

The YEH Yearbook: Class of 2014

With 24 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program competitions on the 2014 calendar, young event horses all across the country had the opportunity to shine and qualify for the 2014 USEA YEH Championships. The YEH West Coast Championships were held at Galway Downs in Temecula, California, while the YEH East Coast Championships took place at Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. Following 2014’s YEH finale, many of the graduating class of the 2014 USEA Young Event Horse Championships have gone on to make their mark on the upper levels of eventing.

Oct 21, 2021 Eventing News

One-Week Bid Process Now Open for Week 19 CCI4*-L in 2022 on East Coast

Following the cancellation of the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event for 2022, US Equestrian will open a one-week bid process to fill the date on the 2022 U.S. Eventing Calendar. Per the 2022 U.S. FEI Eventing Calendar Policies and Procedures, applications to host the CCI4*-L level during the 2022 competition season are accepted by invitation only.

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