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The term Hack is used for any horse used for general leisure riding as
apposed to competitive riding sports, such as eventing or hunting. However,
the Hack that approaches nearest in type, is that exhibited in the show
ring. The show Hack must not exceed 15.3h.h.. It must have impeccable
manners, show absolute obedience to the rider, have smooth and elegant paces
and be near perfection in comformation as possible. It should be the perfect
riding horse, a pleasure to ride and behold.
It may be any solid colour, it should have a small quality head, elegant
neck sloping shoulders with prominent withers; a strong body with deep girth
and well-sprung ribs; well rounded hind quarters; good sound limbs, with at
least 8 inches of bone; good sound well shaped feet. It stands at between
14.2 and 15.3 h.h.
The term 'hack' dates back to the days before motorised transport, when
'park hacks' were used by the most fashionable people of the day for leisure
riding, either in the park at home or in the public parks in the towns,
where they were exposed to the gaze of the public; notably in London's
Rotten Row, Hyde Park. Impeccable in appearance and manners, the 'park
hack' complemented it's well turned out rider.
The 'covert hack' was slightly different. Though it was also an elegant
horse with less substance than a hunter, it was used in the hunting world
formerly to take the rider to the meet. The grooms would ride the hunter on
beforehand at a gentle pace, to conserve it's energy for the rest of the
day. The covert hack was ridden across country at a fair pace to the meet,
where the rider would change to his, fresh and ready waiting, hunter.
Today in England, it is the thoroughbred horse that makes the most
successful show hack. They are shown in two classes: Small hack for horses
exceeding 14.2 h.h. but not exceeding 15. h.h. and large hack, for horses
exceeding 15 h.h. but not exceeding 15.3 h.h.. There are also classes for
ladies hacks, 14.2 h.h. to 15.3. h.h., which are shown under side-saddle.
The production of a show hack is a specialised job, as perfect manners and a
good ride for the judge are absolutely essential.