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What do I need for my first competition?
In most cases your first TREC will be a one-day level one or two event.
You need your normal riding wear, along with the compulsory equipment listed in the rulebook. Ankle boots with a raised heel and treaded sole (with/without chaps) are usually a more practical & comfortable option than long leather riding boots or jodhpur boots – you may need to get on & off to negotiate gates, or you might want to walk alongside your horse to give his back a break. Trainers and other items of footwear with no raised heel are only acceptable if you are riding with caged stirrups.
For all three phases you need a hat of the required standard (see rulebook); a ‘medical armband’ – something visible strapped to arm or leg containing your personal details, next of kin and any medical conditions or medication; ID with the emergency number on you and your horse (could be as simple as a luggage tag on saddle & your coat zip).
For the POR you need:
Compass – to begin with you only need a very simple low-tech one. Remember that the red needle points North, and don’t use it near metal objects ie power lines/cars/magnetic bracelets.
Map marking pens – light coloured/fluorescent gel pens in at least 2 different colours (pink and orange are popular) – one for the route, one for notes and markings. You may also want to take a biro or pencil for writing other things down such as the emergency contact numbers.
Headtorch suitable for riding at night
Small first aid kit for human and horse (expand…)
Headcollar and leadrope or combination bridle
You don’t necessarily need saddlebags, you can put all this equipment in several pockets, a small rucksack or a bumbag. If you do use saddlebags for the POR you are allowed to take them off for the other phases.
It’s also useful to have a rain-proof map case, a mobile phone, water, cereal bars and a digital watch. Many people also carry emergency money for emergency stops at the pub/ice cream van on the way home…
For the PTV you must wear a BETA level 3 body protector.
If you carry a whip it must be less than 75cm in length, and if you use spurs they must be round-ended, point downwards and be no longer than 3.5cm.
Your normal riding tack – whether traditional, bitless or Western – will be fine, but whatever you use must be the same for all phases (specifically the bitting arrangement – eg rein attachment/curb chain, and saddle). The only prohibited tack is any fixed rein, eg standing martingale. Your horse must have ‘horse ID’ for the POR phase consisting of your rider number and the emergency phone numbers for the competition. A luggage tag is a good idea for this, but some organisers will provide a pre-made one for you to attach to the bridle.
Many competitions take place over a whole weekend, which involves spending a night or two away from home with your horse. This gives riders the opportunity to socialise in the evenings, and often there will be an organised meal or BBQ. It requires a few extra bits of kit to be safe and comfortable, but is great fun.
Staying away – horse
Corralling kit – 8+ electric fence posts, a reel of tape, a car/leisure battery and an energiser (or an all in one energiser/battery unit)
Label for corral – your horse’s name, competitor number, your name & mobile phone number
Buckets for water and feed
Feed for however many nights you are away
Water container such as an aquaroll or H2Go
Hay – especially if grass is sparse
Poo picking equiment – some use a speed skip, others just gloves and a bucket. Check arrangements for muck – there is usually a muck heap but occasionally you’ll need to take it home. The easiest way to do this is to take some empty feed sacks with you.
A wheelbarrow is very helpful for carrying equipment round the site, especially if it folds for travel eg gorilla trug barrow.
Staying away – human
Several changes of clothes, sleeping gear, food, water, camping stove, cool box, toiletries. Wet wipes are essential when there are no showers!
Lots of people have living in their lorry, but what if you’re not so lucky? It’s a bit harder work but it’s possible to have a very comfortable weekend next to your corral if you have the right kit.
Clear out the horse area/trailer after travelling, move your partitions & pop everything outside under the lorry, then put up a 2-man tent in the horse area. I use a tarpaulin as base layer to keep manure off the tent, then a double air bed, then my tent on top with a duvet underneath me and Arctic rated sleeping bag either closed or open depending on the time of year.
So you’ve decided TREC is the sport for you? What is worth investing in?
Map cases –
Eventing watch –
Compass with extras –
Magnifier half glasses –
Tabard or waistcoat –
Synthetic tack –
Horse quencher –