About a year ago I first heard of a relatively new equine discipline to the USA called TREC. In the past I have fox hunted, but when I moved to North Carolina this was no longer practical, so I took up Endurance Riding. I will always be sorry that I did not start this when I was younger, I never got beyond the Limited Distance ride of about 25 miles, oh to have done a 100 miler! These days neither Andre, my horse, nor I, are up to that! It is a wonderful sport, with truly dedicated riders. So, when I learned about TREC it seemed just the ticket, fun, challenging in different ways, but still offered a goal which I love to have in my riding. Mary Harcourt who lives in Aberdeen NC, formed what I believe is the largest club in America TREC-USA. She and several of her club members will be coming to Thomas Divide the first weekend in October, to share their expertise with us. Mary and her team are currently in Portugal competing against the top European teams, at the 2012 TREC World Championships.
S, what is TREC? It is an international equestrian sport that tests the skills, confidence and abilities of horses and riders, or driving teams, over various terrains and obstacles. The three phases of TREC competition include Trail Orienteering, control of Paces, and a Cross-Country Obstacle Course.
The first phase, Orienteering requires the horse and rider to follow the official course using a map and compass. You are given a blank map and an allotted amount of time in which to copy the route before you start. This is a timed event, so knowing how fast your horse travels at any given gait is important. You will be helped with this calculation. Unknown checkpoints are placed on the trail and riders must pass through them in the correct order and from the correct direction. Traveling too fast or too slow loses points, as does missing a checkpoint.
Phase two is designed to demonstrate that the rider can exercise a degree of influence over the horse first in a canter, then in a walk following a straight line course of 150 meters long and 2-4 meters wide. The concept is that the slower the horse travels at the canter, and the faster at the walk, the greater the marks awarded. A shortened course of less than 150 meters is sometimes used and if the terrain prohibits a straight line track, then a curved track can be adopted.
The third phase is the Obstacle Course. This phase, which is generally 1km to 5kms long, is the cross-country obstacle course, and is seen as the most exciting and popular phase for spectators. While this phase does include some cross-country jumping, the size of the obstacles is set according to the level of competition and each obstacle is optional and does not incur elimination if bypassed.
The course also includes some tasks which must be undertaken while dismounted, as well as tests of obedience and calmness. It is designed to give an indication of the horse/rider’s suitability to cope with the kind of obstacles and difficulties that might be encountered while riding in the countryside, and demonstrate the partnership working calmly and efficiently together.
There are four levels of competition, with Level 1 being the simplest and Level 4 the most challenging. At our clinic we will be offering Level 1.
The clinic will be run on Saturday October 6, starting at 10.0 am, at a cost, including breakfast of $12.00. We are offering a three night special for accommodation at the property for this event, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, at for example, $35.00 for a hook up, or $15.00 for a primitive camp site. Please call Carol at 828 788 3648 for information, or check our events calendar on the web for all details, http://www.thomasdivide.com/UpcomingEvents.html