What is TREC?
TREC is a sport intended to test the skills of a horse and rider in planning and executing a long distance ride in unfamiliar country. It originated in France as a way of testing and improving the skills of trail ride leaders, and was introduced into the UK in the early 1990s.
TREC competitions consist of two or three phases depending on the time of year. Winter competitions consist of the Control of Paces (MA) and Obstacle Course (PTV) elements and Summer competitions also include a third Orienteering (POR) phase.
Control of Paces (MA): This is a ridden corridor of up to 150m long. You have to canter down as slowly as possible then walk back as fast as possible, both times without leaving the corridor or changing gait. Points are awarded according to time.
Obstacle Course (PTV): This is similar to a handy pony course and involves 16 obstacles, which are worth up to 10 points each depending on how well they are executed. Obstacles may be required to be ridden or led and include items such as opening and closing a gate, jumping a small fence, reining back, bending, immobility and going up and/or down a slope.
Orienteering (POR): Tack and kit is checked at the start of this phase and then you enter a Map Room, where a master map is set out for you to copy the route onto your own map (provided). You are given a score card and then mount and follow the route, aiming to keep to the required speed, which is shown in the map room. Along the route, there are checkpoints where stewards will make a note of your time and give the next required speed. The route is carried out at usual hacking speeds and allow a mix of walk, trot and canter.
There are various levels of competition depending on experience.