When I came to Oakcrest Farm to try Biasini the first time two years ago I already knew he had lots of talent and excellent training. I knew Belinda Trussell had bought him as a four year old and his entire health history from that time was known. I was looking for a Small Tour horse that would be a suitable match for me. Biasini met all of the criteria. Sound. Healthy. Beautifully trained. Lots of ability and talent. Suitable for an amateur.
But before I tried him I had one question to ask. The answer would be a deal breaker.
Does he like to go hacking?
“Oh yes,” came the answer from Lynsey Rowan, Belinda’s assistant who had taken him hacking in the forest. If she had said:” No not really. He doesn’t like hacking out much, he gets nervous,” or ”no he’s one of those horses that just doesn’t like to hack out.” Well, I would have still tried him. Once. And then I would have politely said something that would get me out of trying him again.
The very first time I tried him at the end of the ride I took him for a short hack into the forest. Apart from trying to eat a few leaves off a maple tree he was perfect. Perfect.
Why is it so important to me to have a horse that will hack out? I’m still in the training and competition phase of my riding and not ready to be a happy hacker full time yet but….hacking is the best possible therapy both for me and for my horse.
Case in point: this week I will train in the arena Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Friday. Wednesday, weather permitting, is a day for a hack in the forest. Oakcrest Farm has about 30 acres of forest trails and they are adjoining the York Region Forest trails with many more acres of trails. I don’t have to trailer anywhere I can just get on and away we go.
It was a hot one today (30 Celsius+) and I was concerned there might be bugs in the woods. I sprayed Biasini with a mixture of vinegar and citronella, put on his fly bonnet and off we went. It was glorious! There were no bugs and in the woods it was beautifully cool. I took a turn down a trail we had not been on before. I could see that no one else had been along that trail recently. I have a good sense of direction and I thought it would eventually link up with another trail that I knew. It did. So on we went through the beautiful woods. I sing in the woods. Right. Out. Loud. Show tunes, some old, some newer. Biasini goes along with his ears forward and his head somewhere around his knees. On the buckle.
When we got back to the barn I could not have felt better. There is no therapist in the world that can lift my spirits like a hack in the woods with my Biasini. I feel sure he feels the same.