Eersel Report by Claire Pollard

A group of us went to Eersel over the weekend of 23/24 April 2016 to compete in a TREC. There were 3 of us competing in the Eurpean Cup competition – Hilary Barnard, Kate Gillam who was competing on a friend’s horse and myself. Amanda Marfleet and Vicki Glynn competed at the equivalent of Level 2.

There are quite a few hoops to be jumped through to take your horse abroad. You have to obtain an Export Licence and have a health check for the horses. The form for the application for a health check is about 8 pages long and quite confusing. The same form appears to be used for exporting all animals, live or dead, and even semen. In the end after trying to work out how I could be both the Consignor and the Consignee, I gave up and called DEFRA, who were extremely helpful and I managed to email the form to them.

The plan was to stay over at Amanda Marfleet’s on the Wednesday night and get the horses vetted there at the same time. This all went without a hitch, and we were ready to leave earlyish on the Thursday morning to catch a ferry. Amanda and Vicki’s horses travelled in Amanda’s lorry and my horse, 2B, and Hilary’s pony Harvey travelled in my trailer. I have never transported a horse on a ferry before and after driving the trailer onto the ferry you have to leave it and go onto the passenger decks. I admit I did not like leaving my horse for about 90 minutes, but all was ok. I am sure she was helped by the calming influence of the far more experienced Harvey.

We then had about a further 4 hours to drive, after leaving Calais, before reaching the venue. This was nearly all on motorways and the horses travelled very well. We arrived there early afternoon on Thursday and put the horses in stables. After a bit of a break for us all we took them out for a nice leg stretch, which also had the benefit of helping us get familiar with the maps. On the Friday I moved 2B into a corral where she was happier than being in a stable and we just spent a pretty lazy day.

Our tack check was on the Friday evening, which went quite well. The POR was held on the Saturday with the map room being in an indoor school. The POR was nearly all on sandy tracks through the forest which made the orienteering interesting, and the riding was lovely. Unfortunately I had twisted my ankle during the week, so I was rather slow and picked up tons of time faults, but my orienteering wasn’t too bad. The weather was rather cold with a few wintery showers. I think it is the first time I have done TREC in snow. The Sunday was equally cold and stormy, but the people were all really friendly, and the judges were well huddled up under huge umbrellas and lots of layers. I did feel very grateful to them for enabling us to compete. The MA was quite interesting, it was along one of the sandy tracks, which was lined with umbrellas. I expected 2B to spook at the umbrellas, but these were no problem. Unfortunately she did break when a dog in the hedge jumped up, no excuse for this, I didn’t expect her to be bothered by this, I ride out with dogs quite often. However, 2B did a lovely walk and scored 17. The PTV was quite interesting and used the features of the venue well. Because of my bad ankle I did not do the remount or the led obstacles, I was not in contention in any case. But the other obstacles were interesting and we scored quite well. Congratulations to Hilary who got the best PTV score.

Hilary and I decided to travel back to the ferry on the Sunday evening, to split the journey for our horses. This all went without a hitch and we caught a ferry just before midnight, arriving back at Amanda’s at about 1.30. There were lovely stables ready for the horses, which was very welcoming. Poor 2B was very tired and didn’t know whether to eat drink or pee first, but she settled very quickly and was fine in the morning.

Overall Hilary came 3rd, I was 16th and Kate was 17th. Vicki was 5th and Amanda 7th. Rather different for Vicki and Amanda as they rode as a pair but were placed as individuals. Huge thanks to Amanda, for the hospitality at her house, to “Nurse” Vicki for the treatments to my ankle which I am sure enabled me to ride at all and also to Hilary and Harvey for looking after me and 2B on our first foreign excursion.