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In the Saddle: Happy hacking

Anita on her horse April with Natalie riding Mara the pony
Anita on her horse April with Natalie riding Mara the pony

If you mentioned the word 'hacking' to a non-horse person they would immediately think of some computer whizz kid trying to break into computer systems to steal information.

Yet the word hacking means something completely different to the equine world - simply put to us it means pleasure riding.

This year with our pony having an elbow injury and my 9 year old girl, Alyssia, suffering a knee injury (both separate incidents) we have had to forfeit pony club and the competition season so far. Normally we are well into the throws of competing and out most weekends, but even though Mara, the pony is fine, we are still having to wait patiently for Alyssia to recover.

Alyssia can ride in walk and is allowed to use a mounting block to get on her pony, but she isn't allowed to do any trotting at the moment. We ended up seeking a private consultant and having private MRI scans and x rays due to lack of faith in the initial diagnosis and I'm glad we did.

She's set to make a full recovery, but just very slowly. After Mara, her pony, finally recovered from her injury I didn't want to put Alyssia on a bouncy, energetic pony so I had my riding instructor pop over and help to exercise her after I had taken her out first hacking.

I've used Natalie Roberts for years and have completed some British Horse Society exams with her recently too. She's an excellent help to have on hand for holiday livery, training and schooling horses. Last year she trained me for our first prelim dressage test where we came second place with a great score. I was ecstatic.

This spring we have been enjoying our hacking out and as Alyssia becomes less agitated by her knee I'm hoping we can start a new pony club later in the year.

Roll on Alyssia getting back to normal though so I can resume my post shouting at the ringside as she competes and completely embarrassing my daughter!