It's short for Technique De Randonnee Equestre De Competition and it's perhaps best described as a form of orienteering on horseback. TREC is one of the fastest growing equine sports in the world and involves knowledge of terrain, and an understanding of map reading is an important feature of the sport. TREC is designed to test a horse/rider combination through a whole range of activities, combining elements of trail riding with horsemanship skills and flatwork. You will have an opportunity to find your way along a trail using map reading skills, and to demonstrate your horsemanship skills as you manoeuvre a series of obstacles and problems that one might encounter when out on a hack.
For WOR's TREC competition, the phases have been modified slightly to accommodate the various rider levels within Pony Club but still reflect the overall essence of TREC. For example, the trails will be well marked and all within the fenced property. The obstacle phase will be setup in an enclosed area, like an indoor TREC, so that spectators can enjoy the fun and our riders will be well supported by volunteers.
All riders, no matter their pony club test level (riders must be D level or higher to compete), will complete each phase mounted. Due to the nature of the competition all riders must be able to ride independently (no lead line).
The traditional TREC competition is comprised of three phases, and for Pony Club takes place on a single day.
Optimum speed and orienteering (P.O.R.) is broadly described as orienteering on horseback. Teams of 3-4 riders of similar riding level must follow a route on a map, find specific checkpoints along the route and locate hidden "objectives" based on landmarks and compass coordinates. The D and D1 routes cover a total distance of less than 3.0 km and are easily walked by volunteers. We encourage D and D1 teams to have a minimum of two handlers accompany them on foot for safety purposes. The route for D2 cover 5-10km while higher levels cover a minimum of 5 km and may exceed 10km depending on the competition.
Control of Gaits (COG) is designed to demonstrate that the rider can exercise a degree of influence over the horse first in canter (or trot for younger riders), then in walk following a straight line course of up to 150 metres long and 2-4 metres wide. The concept is that the slower the horse travels in trot/canter, and the faster in walk, the greater the marks awarded.
The Obstacle Course, is seen as the most exciting and popular phase for spectators. For the Western Ontario Region Pony Club regional competition, participants will complete Phase C in the same manner as "indoor TREC". The obstacles are set-up in one general area (ex. sand ring or enclosed outdoor paddock) with the focus on skills and horsemanship. The course may include 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. Each obstacle/task is optional and does not incur elimination if bypassed. For a complete list of potential obstacles by pony club level please download Obstacle Score Sheets.