Senior Riders – Kate Gillam


Computer programming

Horse’s name, age and breed.

Lily Langtree, 13 Irish Draught Sports Horse

Horses history, how did they end up being a superstar TREC horse!

I went to see a locally bred thorough-bred horse for sale at a farm a couple of miles from home. It ditched me in less than 30 seconds with violent bucks (I heard later that it had an abscess in his hoof), meanwhile Lily was watching the episode, wide-eyed and innocently over the stable door. I loved her beautiful white spots set against dark steel grey, a little rocking horse that I thought I could never hope to own; 30 minutes later I was loading her into my horsebox and taking her on her first trip towards TREC. Actually, she was beyond my price range, so I had agreed with the farmer to ‘ride her on’ as she was 4 years old and had just returned from being backed. Several months later it was obvious I should buy her and soon took her to her first TREC competition; I was appalled by her silly behaviour, spooking at every coloured thing available and so I returned to riding club, dressage, show-jumping and eventing, but several years later when we both ‘grew-up ‘ a bit (not much), I decided to return to TREC and so here we are today, 7 or so, years later.

How did you get into the sport of TREC?

It was mentioned in Riding Club AGM as a new sport in UK and described as “games for grown-ups”, “you gallop flat out beneath low branches and there is bending”. I was awoken from my reverie, happy memories of riding as a child in the Prince Phillip Cup team in Pony Club, always trying for the elusive Wembley, came flooding back. Games, a new sport, I was already forming ideas of getting into the team and re-living childhood fun.

What do you love about the sport?

In actual fact, although the games are what appealed to my early imagination, it is the riding across new landscapes, the exploration and the journey that I most enjoy. I love the connection and dependency that is built between horse and rider and the long weekends away together.

What is your favourite Phase and why?

Orienteering, as stated above, I love riding across new landscapes and visiting new places around our beautiful country; plodding down ancient by-ways, fleeting across hillside and mountain, listening in silent old woodlands. On the ancient tracks I think about all the many people who have ridden or walked the route over the years, the many footsteps, how the rocks are worn and what their stories are.

And the one moment of TREC you will never forget!

The first weekend away with Lily, it was a warm night and I had slept in the horse box with the top flap above the side ramp open. In the morning I was able to walk out from my “bedroom” by simply pushing down the ramp into Lily’s coral. I shall never forget the look of total astonishment and wonder on Lily’s face, she just seemed so bowled over by the fact that I was in her ‘horsebox’ and so close at hand. She is such a sweetie.