The name ‘hack’ is essentially British and is of a quite ancient origin, but it must not be confused with the word ‘hackney’, for in modern times the latter indicates the harness-horse, while the hack denoted the refined riding horse. Furthermore, it should be noted that the hack is in no sense an established breed.
The hack in Britain is any horse or pony that is suitable for riding, but for general purposes, it is desirable to treat it according to the standards laid down by the British Hack and Cob Society, which decrees that it must not exceed in height 15.3 hands, and not being an established breed it can be of any color.
To win in the show-rings of Great Britain, Eire or Northern Ireland, any horse conforming to the height and having the necessary qualifications and manners may be of any breed or of any admixture of breeds, but in practice, as extreme refinement and performance are the principal factors, it follows that the winner is usually found in the Thoroughbred.
All, therefore, that is expected in the Thoroughbred of great quality (and it should be noted many Thoroughbreds fail considerably in this respect) is needed in the winning hack. Indeed, those points, such as the refined head to fit the neck of true proportions, the well laid-back shoulder, the pronounced, though not exaggerated wither, short back with big girth and well-sprung ribs and powerful quarters, must be found, if anything, in exaggerated proportions in the winning hack. It is obvious, too, that the legs must be clean and strong, and in his movements, he must be absolutely true and level.
It has been mentioned before that the show-winning hack is usually a Thoroughbred; however, it may be that, although it has prevailed for a number of years, this is something which will pass, giving way, perhaps, to the most refined type of Anglo-Arab or part-bred Arab.