If you like riding in the open countryside, orienteering and obstacle courses you’ll love Le TREC, or Le Techniques de Randonnée Équestre de Compétition (which translates to mean Equestrian Competition Hiking Techniques). Originating in France towards the end of the last century it was designed to test equestrian trail guides. It’s now become a very popular sport in its own right that tests the horse’s obedience as well as how well he’s been trained along with the navigation and riding abilities of the rider.
Held over three phases or stages that each requiring different abilities, the overall goal is to establish a horse that is obedient, well-rounded and capable of dealing with anything a trail can through at them.
- Phase 1 – Parcours d’Orientation et de Régularité – Known as POR, this phase (which can cover anything from 12km/7 miles to 45km/28 miles) is designed to test the riders orienteering skills. Regular checkpoints either require the horse to be checked by a vet or the rider to check in. Points are lost for things like missing checkpoints, veering off the course or losing your record card.
- Phase 2 – Maîtrise des Allures or Control of Paces (or CoP) – This phase is more challenging than you might think, a 150m/165 yard by 2m / 2 yard lane is marked out on the ground and the rider has to gallop up in a straight line then walk back. They’re judged for the controlled nature of the gallop and smartness of the walk and can lose points for not maintaining a straight line.
- Phase 3 – Parcours en Terrain Varie (or PTV) – A course with up to sixteen obstacles that all need to be completed within a set period of time. Each obstacle is worth a maximum of ten points and you’ll lose points if you’re too fast, or your horse misbehaves. The obstacles are a mixture of jumps and tests such as trailer loading, opening and closing gates, etc.
Le TREC is growing in popularity and many countries now have their own competitions. If you want to know more about the sport then check out the TREC USA website.
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