I think I'm overly cautious when hacking and I tend to not canter if there is the slightest hint of hardness. Although theres nothing wrong with that, Holly's a sturdy kinda pony and isn't at all fragile and I think I'm just so cautious because I don't know what actually defines "hard ground", and I can't quite tell whilst on board.
What are your tips for finding out if the ground is unsuitable whilst mounted?
Recent studies have shown that cantering on a hard surface is less stressful on the joints than trotting.
You can build up the horses resilence to jarring by conditioning them to work on hard surfaces, it has to be done gradually though
"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night." -Arabian Proverb
Trotting and cantering on hard surfaces are really not that bad as long as the speed is kept to slow and rythmical. It is also bettter if it is on an incline, and that the surface is not rutted. Obviously dont over do it, because conditioning takes time. I start of by doing no more than 100yds at a time. (roughly the space between telegraph poles)
The horse knows how to be a horse if we will leave him alone,but the riders don't know how to ride. What we should be doing is creating riders and that takes care of the horse immediately.
I stear clear of trotting and cantering on hard ground altogether because of Zeb's age. It is very interesting to learn about canter being less stressful, it does kinda make sense. Also I didn't know you could condition them by building it up slowly, I just thought you'd be doing more damage, even if it was built up slowly.
If I can hear that dull thud on their footfalls I will stick to walking on that surface.
I feel pretty daft saying this, but I really think that B lets me know when it's too hard to be comfortable for her - she just won't go if she doesn't want to, and I am completely fine with that on a hack - we both love a good blast, so if she says no thanks, not today, I know that something is holding her back and won't push it.
Of course, I've heard that sometimes damage is progressive and you don't necessarily get a reaction the first time (though what clippi and TLM say makes sense too), and if it's obviously not rained for days and days, and the ground sounds hard then I just won't try, but if I'm not 100% sure about it, I'll let B make the decision - seems to work for us (it should be noted that she's not exactly the delicate type!)