La Porte Property goes to a TREC competition.....
After a few months during a summer of hibernation, riding at 6 am, days spent relaxing by the pool while the horses chill out in the cool barns, I am now ready to see what horsey things are out there. And there are competitions or events - you just need to look and have good contacts.
Through an Anglo forum I found out there was a TREC competition not far from Monpazier at Beaumont du Perigord, so off I went to see what TREC was....OK, the orienteering bit shouldn't be too hard, I can survive without my TOMTOM, the canter as slow as possible (not too difficult, my horse likes anything slow) and walk as fast as possible (anything with fast in could be a problem). And finally the obstacle course with things like crossing a bridge, bending through cones, jumping small natural jumps, immobility (really good at that) and getting on your horse from the wrong side. This poses a problem, my horse Sunny is 16.2 in height and width and my legs seem to have got shorter over the years. After trying this on a ride, Sunny got bored and walked off leaving me hopping after him with one foot in the stirrup - but luckily at TREC you can use a conveniently placed log to help you.
A local horse group “Horse Tales” were hosting a Fun TREC competition not far from Bergerac so this was my chance to have a go. The day before I washed Sunny's mane and tail, clipped under his chin and tidied his hairy ears (very important that he can hear me), tack cleaned, trailer loaded and ready for the off at 7am the next day.
After nearly 2 hours we arrived. The event was being held at a campsite of one of the members, friendly smiles greeted me and compliments flowed about Sunny. I only knew 2 members of the group but everyone was so welcoming I soon forgot about the fact that I didn't actually know what I was doing. I spent most of my youth riding show ponies then moved onto show horses and then latterly bought my first "fun" horse and competed in everything I could with her but never TREC.
We set off on our ride with a map (the route already drawn, normally you have to copy it off an original) and of course a mobile phone so if we were completely lost we could call to be rescued. I was teamed up with a great young girl "Ali", she had done TREC before so I was sure we would be OK. On the way I discovered new skills like map reading while trotting, map reading while jumping a ditch and map reading while drinking coffee and eating croissants at one of the check points. We got back in a reasonable time although we missed 3 out of 4 clip points!
After a fantastic meal of curry, the obstacle course. Sunny was great, over the bridge, the tarpaulin, the jumps, under the flags not so easy but his occasional dressage training came into use - into an outline and under the flags they nearly touched his withers. The canter slowly was a slight problem we lost a bit of momentum trying to avoid a tree and broke into a trot; all in all we had a great day and came 2nd overall. Our next TREC will be an official FFE competition in December, watch this space !
Next weekend we are off to do some show jumping at Sarlat so better get started on Sunny and my training. Surely a week should be enough ... having not jumped poles since March !