TREC originated in France but is now gaining popularity throughout Europe with many competitions being run in the UK, from beginner to international level. It is a great sport designed to increase the knowledge, awareness and enjoyment of the countryside for a diverse range of people and to be manageable for every rider, no matter what level their ability. One of the best things about TREC is that you can have fun with friends and your horse whatever your skills with the emphasis being on fun!
TREC is a really friendly sport and first timers are very welcome.
Most of the competition comprises challenges you would meet out riding in the countryside and involves the skills and hazards you might encounter while hacking in an unfamiliar area – including map reading, mounting and dismounting, going through water or under low hanging trees, opening gates, crossing bridges and negotiating various types of terrain. The winner is determined by points gained over all the phases of the competition. Most competitions not only run classes for individuals but also run pairs classes so you can go with a friend for moral support. Events are usually run over either one or two days and there is often a social event included with a 2‑day competition – a great way to get away with your horse!
There are three phases to a TREC competition:- orienteering (POR), control of paces (MA) and obstacles (PTV). (The abbreviations originate with the French names for the phases.)
Orienteering on horseback might sound strange and a bit scary but, at level 1 (“entry level”) and at level 2, the navigation is very basic and most people are pleasantly surprised. The POR route will be 10‑15km (6‑9 miles) at level 1, usually taking about 2 hours, 15-25km (9‑15 miles) at level 2 and is designed to be completed at a range of speeds chosen to suit the terrain and the weather. You will often find yourself riding through glorious scenery and on tracks where horses aren’t usually allowed to go. The higher levels of competition involve longer and more complicated orienteering routes.
The control of paces (MA) is a simple test of how slowly your horse can canter and how quickly it can walk without breaking into trot from either pace. It is measured through a corridor of up to 150m in length and between 2 and 2.20m in width.
The PTV is a course of up to 16 optional obstacles, each with a maximum score of 10 points. There is a large range of obstacles but they are all designed to test things that would normally be encountered out hacking in the British countryside and you will not be eliminated if there is something that you can’t, or don’t want to, do. All you have to do is stop and tell that obstacle’s judge that you’re not attempting it. So not being able to jump or mount from the ground is not going to stop you scoring well.
To find out more, please look at the TREC GB Rulebook
TREC events are run throughout the year but the format of the Summer and Winter competitions is different. The Summer competitions usually have all three phases whereas the Winter competitions miss out the orienteering (POR). Winter competitions are usually held in an arena (either inside or outside), have a shortened control of paces (MA) and a course of only 10 obstacles (PTV).
Have a look at the current list of events.
Throughout the country there are clubs affiliated to TREC GB running training sessions and competitions. Please feel free to go along to spectate or offer to help with an event – both will help you to find out more. Many clubs even run “taster days”.
For the list of clubs click here.
Although you do not have to be a member of TREC GB to compete, members do receive a number of advantages including discounts on competition entries and eligibility to qualify for the British TREC Championships (both the Nationals, for levels 2 to 4, and the Grassroots at level 1) and the ability to gain points in the TREC GB leagues. Red tier membership also provides members with 24/7 third party liability cover.
For details of membership please click here