TREC – An Introductory

What is TREC u ask? Well let me start by saying it is so much frickinnn fun!!! A local Trec show was being held at my yard last weekend, so I grew a set of balls and decided, this is it, I am going to enter and see how we get on! To say I was surprised with our outcome was an understatement, we ended up coming 3rd in our Novice class, I am so proud of Dante, he really put 110% into it!

But enough with that, let me give you a brief explanation of what TREC actually is, bearing in mind I am no expert, personally I think this is a great sport to get into if not for competing professionally, it really helps with behaviour, as the sport relies a lot on trust between you and your horse, read below to find out some more!

What is TREC?

TREC originated in France, it is basically a means of testing your ability as a trail rider to the max (in my opinion). It consists of 3 stages that tests the horse & riders ability in each stage, from pace of gaits, to obstacles, and orienteering.

Stage 1- Orienteering (POR)

Stage one consists of orienteering, now I haven’t done this part as of yet, but you basically get given a map and on horseback you follow the route given by the speed predetermined by the organizers, to set checkpoints that are unknown by the riders. They tend to Start from 10km treks up to 20km the higher the levels you go.

Stage 2 – Control Of Paces (MA)

So in stage 2, you are basically showing off how well you can control your horse within certain paces. You have to canter down & walk up through a 2-4m wide corridor that is 150m in length, judges score you by timing you, marks are awarded by having a slow canter and a fast walk. The most points you can get for each is 30, 60 in total.

Stage 3 – Obstacle Course (PTV)

In my opinion this is like a stripped back version of a cross country course, it tests your control as a team & how well you work together.  A single PTV course will consist of a max of 16 obstacles varying from ridden corridors, to jumping logs to walking over foot bridges, obstacles may also be done in hand as well as on horseback.

View the TREC Ireland website for more info!

I will attach below a couple of images of the obstacles that were included in the competition from Sunday, you really don’t realise how much trust you need in your horse or how much they need to rely on you for guidance throughout the obstacles.  Keeping in mind that most of these competitions take place in an open field, with young horses it will teach them to relax, and not be expected to race off, but to wait for instructions from you the rider. If any of you are interested in giving TREC a go I would definitely say DO IT,

Below are a few pointers of things you will need with you on the day, and certain things you should be made aware of!

  • If your horse has a martingale, a head collar & lead rope must be worn, this is to aid you with any in hand obstacles.
  • Medical Arm bands must also be worn, on either your arm or leg.
  • At an obstacle if the two entry cones are places together you may enter the obstacles from anywhere, if they are placed apart you must enter through the cones.
  • You can walk, trot or canter an obstacle, the faster the pace the higher the marks you get, canter is only permitted for certain obstacles in the novice stage.
  • If their are drawn white lines at an obstacle, you must stay inside them, if you don’t points will be deducted.
  • When you are doing in-hand obstacles, the horses nose must remain behind you, if you lead your horse standing at his shoulder you will be marked down.
  • If you are not a TREC Ireland member, the entry fee will require you to pay an additional €7 for insurance on the day.
  • As fun as TREC sounds, it is a serious sport so respect the professionals and listen to there advice, do have fun but don’t insult their sport!

So take a leaf out of my book & enter yourself in a local TREC competition you may do better than you think! I will definitely be doing another one!








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