If you’ve ever thought about giving TREC a go but haven’t the foggiest about what it actually involves, TREC trainer Evie O’Keeffe walks through it.

There are three phases to TREC, the titles of which are abbreviations of their French names:

POR — orienteering

POR is a form of orienteering — copying a route onto a blank map, then navigating you way around it with optimum speeds for each section.

You will need to recognise map features such as buildings, field boundaries, woods, streams, roads and paths to ensure you always know where you are. This section can be done in pairs or alone.

MA — control of paces

MA (control of paces) reguires you to maintain the slowest canter possible in a marked 150m corridor, then turn round and demonstrate your fastest walk all the way back.

Both are timed and scored out of 30, depending on how slow or fast it was, but if your horse breaks pace or leaves the marked corridor, you will score zero.

PTV — test of horsemanship

PTV (a horsemanship test) is a timed course of 16 obstacles incorporating terrain features and man-made obstacles that simulate hacking challenges to go over, under, up, down, around or through.

Some technical obstacles must be negotiated in walk, while others can be ridden at any speed. Some will be completed led and there may even be some small jumps — everything is optional, though, and you can stay in walk/trot if you prefer.

Versatility is key

TREC can take you to the most demanding terrain and conditions, with breathtaking scenery to experience.

There are different levels within the sport, so it’s very accessible as well as a great way to challenge yourself and your horse.

Competitive TREC requires a versatile horse, though he can be any build or size. Versatility is key as the sport combines the control, suppleness, bravery and manoeuvrability of other disciplines with the fun of hacking — and more relaxed rules on tack and turnout too.

And the best thing about TREC? It’s another great excuse to go out hacking more and clock up those miles for #Hack1000Miles!

Evie is a TREC trainer based in North Yorkshire and runs clinics for all levels of ‘TRECcies’. She has been involved in TREC since 2004 as a competitor, judge and organiser.

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