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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. Any breed, type or size of horse can be ridden in a TREC event and riders of all abilities can participate.

TREC competitions consist of two or three phases depending on the time of year. A full Summer TREC consists of the Control of Paces (MA), Obstacle Course (PTV) and Orienteering (POR) phases, whilst a winter competition usually takes place in an arena and consists of the Control of Paces and Obstacle course only. There are up to 4 levels of competition in a full summer TREC which can be undertaken individually or as a pair.

Full TREC events are usually run over a weekend, either one or two days, with the option to stay overnight if you wish.

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 is designed to demonstrate the skills of and relationship between rider and horse. It involves up to 16 obstacles, (10 at an arena TREC) which are all scored according to how well they are executed, to a maximum of 10 points each. Obstacles may be required to be ridden or led. Examples include opening and closing a gate, jumping a small fence, reining back, bending, immobility and going up and/or down a slope. Full details of possible obstacles and how they are scored can be found in the TREC GB Rule Book. Competitors may opt to omit an obstacle if they choose but lose the points for that obstacle.

Orienteering (POR)

This involves following a given route, copied under time restrictions from a master Ordnance Survey map in a Map Room. The length and difficulty of the route depends on the level of the competition. Essential tack and kit are also checked at the start of this phase. You are given a score card 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. There may also be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ tickets to be found which will indicate if you have followed the correct route. The route is carried out at usual hacking speeds and allow a mix of walk, trot and canter.

Test yourself on map reading

What will I need?

There is no dress code for TREC, but suitable riding attire is advised

  • Hard hat complying with current British TREC standards
  • An approved body protector (compulsory only on the PTV (Obstacle course) if a ridden fixed jump is included)
  • Head collar and lead rope (only required on PTV if competing with a martingale)

For the POR phase riders must also carry the following equipment:

  • Medical armband (also required on PTV)
  • Horse ID with rider number and emergency phone number
  • First- aid kit (human and equine) Horse ID with rider number and emergency phone number
  • Torch
  • Whistle
  • Clearly visible fluorescent and reflective hi-viz clothing
  • Hoof pick (Boot to replace shoe compulsory at L3 and above, other levels optional)
  • Compass
  • Pens
  • Waterproofs
  • Mobile phone – optional (switched off and in provided sealed bag)

Full details can be found in the TREC GB Rule book