The Central Ontario Region of Canadian Pony Club staged its first Le TREC fun day on Sunday, September 30, at Fiddlesticks Farm near Oshawa. Le TREC is an acronym for Techniques de Randonnée Équestre de Compétition, which roughly translates to Technical Competition of Pony Trekking. Le TREC rewards horse/rider combinations performing well over several different kinds of tasks, geared towards Canadian Pony Club (CPC) testing levels. The Central Ontario version was scored both for individuals and for teams of three or four players. Each team was named after a breed of horse or pony.
Le TREC is divided into 3 phases. Points and penalties are earned in each, along with points forveterinary inspection and turnout/equipment inspection. The 3 phases are:
PHASE A - Optimum Speed and Orienteering - Teams had to follow a trail through the woods at predetermined speeds, using a map, and had to arrive at a series of checkpoints along the route in a set order. Normally the older riders do this phase mounted and the younger ones on foot, but because this was everyone's first time out, we made it unmounted for everyone and placed a game of some sort, with prizes for all players, at each checkpoint. For example, one of the checkpoints was called Skip to my Lou, and required a team member to skip ten consecutive times in order to win a clue to the "mystery" that formed part of this phase. Two other team members operated the rope - or, if they wanted to go for the five point "Double Dutch" bonus, the two ropes.
Since some of the younger players had not yet been taught how to read maps in school, there was a brief lecture on map-reading before they were sent out into the woods, with a stern warning not to leave the trail for fear of poison ivy (NOT the big, bad wolf).
PHASE B - Control of Gaits - This phase required each C team member to canter up a slight incline for 75 metres between two rows of traffic cones, as slowly as they could, then turn around and get down the same little hill as fast as they could, but at a walk. D teams used a 50 metre course, and the D and D1 riders trotted instead of cantering. The start and finish of the track were flagged and riders with the most optimal time for each gait earned full points. But if the horse or pony lapsed into the wrong gait, no points were awarded for that section! This is much tougher than it may seem, because if you keep asking a trotting horse or pony to go slower and slower, it will eventually decide that you want it to walk (horses have approximately the same IQ as chickens; some suspect ponies of being much smarter but hiding it well).
PHASE C - Cross Country Trails Course - This had to be carried out at a set speed. Throughout the course the riders had to pass through a set of stations, each with a task or some questions assigned to it. Each task was marked out of ten - usually out of seven for effectiveness and out of three for style. The number of stations and degree of difficulty of the set tasks reflected the CPC level of the competitor. For example, riders at the D Pony Club testing level (the first one) were required to tie a quick release knot and to demonstrate the walk-trot-walk transition. Riders at the C1 Pony Club testing level were required to build a jump (one of an ascending oxer, a vertical, a square oxer or a Swedish oxer), and answer trivia questions such as "What is the pulse rate for a healthy, resting horse?".
Though the day was mainly for fun, we did keep score for both teams and individuals. At the D level, the winning team was the Durham/Toronto & North York "Trakheners", and the winning individual rider was Erica Bell of the Arête de Chêne "Lippizaners." At the C level, the Oshawa/Uxbridge-Scugog "Percherons" took the team honours, with the winning individual rider being Stephanie Rutherford of the "Percherons". Here are the details.
|Oshawa/Uxbridge-Scugog Percherons||Stephanie Rutherford, Kataryna Borysiak, Jennifer McKeen and Rebecca Simmons||529||1|
|Uxbridge-Scugog/Maple Shires||Whitney Brennan, Laura Parliament, Jessica McVittie and Kyra Holmes||484||2|
|Uxbridge-Scugog Clydesdales||Mori Cruikshanks, Sean Cruikshanks, Jocelyn Donaldson and Samantha MacDonald||474||3|
|Durham/Toronto & North York Trakheners||Kaisha Barber, Meaghan Lloyd, Dalton Wright and Melissa Alston||480||1|
|Rising Star Halflingers||Emily Lindsay, Chloe Raitt, Lindsay Weber and Skylar Norman||472||2|
|Durham/Toronto & North York Appaloosas||Carrie Doorenspleet, Jessica Rowe, Michelle Treen and Jessie-Lynn Boadway||460||3|
|Maple Morgans||Sara Smith, Maddy Fontein and Jacqueline Smith||457||4|
|Maple Thoroughbreds||Shay Lucas, Lauren Sergejewich, Molly White-Williams and Megan O'Hara||448||5|
|Uxbridge-Scugog Quarter Horses||Jane Stephenson, Chelsea Geer, James Cruikshanks and Stephen Hall||439||6|
|Maple Paints||Sarah Smith, Sunny Willert and Laura Hicks||439||7|
|Rising Star Connemaras||Justine Blocksdorf, Stacy Bootsma, Kayla Weber and Amy Westlund||434||8|
|Arête de Chêne Lipizzaners||McKenna Tinney, Hanna Robins, Laura McKeown and Erica Bell||416||9|
|Uxbridge-Scugog Fresians||Michael Hall, Kailey Rigelhof and Jessica Lloyd||406||10|
|Uxbridge-Scugog Arabians||Travis Geer, Chrystal Geer and Emily Lanos||405||11|
|Chelsea Geer||Quarter Horses||139||3|
Note that ties were broken by comparing the aggregate scores for Phases A and C.
Note also that we had no falls, no lamenesses, no excursions into the poison ivy - only two bee stings. And a good time was had by all. Next year we will make it tougher (though your humble editor fibbed when he told the kids that a snapping turtle would be added to the apple-bobbing checkpoint).
Pictures from Le TREC may be viewed (already!) at www.foxprints.ca/letrec/index.htm. More photos will be added later in the week.
For more details e-mail Bob Inglis, Central Ontario Regional Communications Chair, or call him at 416-493-1223 (office) or 416-491-4230 (home).