Tamara of The Barb Wire recently wrote about an unfortunate encounter with an unrestrained dog while out on her mare Consolation.
All of us have had such unpleasant meetings at one time or another. Regardless of your feelings about foxhunting, there are some bits of equipment that might help make equestrian outings safer and more pleasant.
In particular, I'm thinking of the hunt whip.
The hunt whip consists of three parts: the crop, or stiff handle, which, when the lash is folded against it, can be used to open and close gates, and prod the horse on; the lash, which can be unfurled against imminent dangers such as cur dogs; and the popper, at the end of the lash, used to make a cracking sound if absolutely necessar
[In fox hunting, staff (Whippers-in and the Huntsman) and skilled, experienced riders carry hunt whips. Anyone not wanting to come into close contact with a hound should carry one. The first rule of foxhunting is: DO NOT CONTACT THE HOUNDS! If a hound comes near you and your horse, move out of the way. If you can't move out of the way, it's a good idea to quietly unfurl you whip (straight down) as a warning to the hound, who will note it and move away as it does its job.]
The potential use of this tool in hacking is as follows: if you are lucky enough to see the strange dog coming, unfurl and waggle your whip, ccrop end stiff, at the dog, shouting or speaking a warning. If that has no effect, a few swings of the lash (provided you have desensitized your horse to this) might work. If this doesn't work, a crack of the whip with the popper is advisable. If the dog is upon you, you can always drop the lash onto the dog. Worst case scenario I'm not going to post about, because it goes against my principles, but if it's you and your horses against a dog who means to harm you, I think you know what to do with a whip.
Other cool tools used by foxhunters that come in handy while hacking:
You can't see them in there, but they are compact and sharp
Wire cutters strapped to the D-rings on your saddle can come in really handy in case your horse snags something and gets stuck. You could prevent or mitigate a serious injury. They are also useful for cutting brush and branches that impede your progress or endanger your beautiful face or clothing. Most landowners don't mind if you cut a branch or vine from the path.
I know that riders, especially endurance riders, have all sorts of cool equipment for every potentiality. But sometimes there are other places to look, and other goods to learn about. I hope these will prove interesting and useful to some.