When you arrive

Aim to arrive about 90 minutes prior to your allocated time, especially if it’s your first competition. Have a look round, go to the loo, let your horse nibble some grass or his haynet, and relax a little after the journey.

Go find the secretary to sign in and collect your rider number & saddle tag details.

The three parts of a TREC competition may not always be run in the same order – for one day competitions the orienteering is often the last phase, and sometimes the obstacles and/or control of paces will be out on your orienteering route. Make sure you know where you need to be, and when. If you are unsure just ask any helper, we are always friendly and willing to assist – we were all new once!

Have a look at the diagram of the PTV course, and the order the obstacles are to be done in. Make a note of whether any obstacles are led. Some PTV obstacles may be out on your POR route, so be aware of this. Change your watch to the same as the ‘official time’ so that you can keep track of your progress on the route.

What happens if I’m in a pair?

You will ride the POR section together, try to remember to concentrate on the map – it is easy to chat away and then realise you have missed a turning. The benefit is that it’s often much more fun and confidence building for you and your horse to have a partner if you’re not used to hacking on unfamiliar terrain. Try to choose a partner whose equine isn’t dramatically different from your own – a 17.2hh hunter will cover the ground much more easily than a 12.3hh show pony for example, though at lower levels this doesn’t matter too much.

You will ride the MA and PTV separately. Bear in mind that your horses need to be ok about being parted from each other so it may not be the best idea to ride with your horse’s pair bond. You can ask the organiser for times far apart rather than one after another to reduce the problem.

At the end of the day

Let your horse chill out and have some hay or grass, offer him water and brush him off, then get changed and relax. Results will be available as soon as possible once you’ve finished, but it’s a big job so be patient and please consider offering your assistance to clear up once the event is over.

Once the results are out, give yourself a pat on the back no matter how you’ve done – the variety of skills needed to be successful in TREC is huge, and everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses. Look at your score sheet and identify the things to work on for next time!

This guide was written by Evie O’Keeffe and may be linked to, but not reproduced elsewhere without prior permission.

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