Well, it's short for Technique De Randonnee Equestre De Competition and it's perhaps best described as a form of orienteering on horseback. It involves a knowledge of terrain, and an understanding of map reading is therefore an important feature of the sport. However our Introduction to Le Trec Days will not require major map reading skills.
Le Trec is designed to test a horse/rider combination through a whole range of activities. Along with your ability to find your way across country using map reading skills, you will also need a safe degree of control to deal with the sort of obstacles and problems that can be encountered in open countryside.
LE TREC should appeal to all sorts of riders, with all sorts of horses. If you enjoy riding in attractive countryside, with a reasonable amount of challenge and a competitive element, you'll enjoy LE TREC. It has many attractions and advantages over other forms of equestrian competitive sport.
It's fun - and you can push yourself as hard as you like, or take it easy and enjoy it. It's inexpensive –the benefits of competitions and training are well worth the cost. It doesn't require high quality horses, expensive clothes and tack - or a high level of fitness (of horse or rider) - to enjoy LE TREC and to do well.
You can compete in Pairs - with a friend, a partner, or a child. The emphasis is on enjoyment first and foremost, with beginners and seasoned competitors made equally welcome.
Phases of the Competition
The competition is conducted across three phases (they are not always held in this order) Phase One: Parcours d'Orientation et de Regularite (P.O.R.) Max 240 points
This is broadly orienteering on horse back. You start with a map and a record card and must find your way around the course, via a number of checkpoints, at pre-determined speeds. You must be able and equipped to deal with most difficulties and mishaps on your own, although suitable emergency procedures ensure the safety of riders and horses. The POR is not a race and the majority of the course is conducted in walk and trot. Our Introductory Routes will be at a walk and trot hacking pace and will involve meandering around the Abderry property. Phase A - Optimum Speed and Orienteering –
Your route map will have most of the details on it when it is given to you, however you will need to check it with the master map and ensure there is nothing missing. You have limited time to do this before the start. You will get penalty points for not keeping to the set speeds, and, loosing your way. There is an optimum time in which to finish, the idea is to finish as close to this time as possible. Bring map marking pens – bright colours, a plastic map sleeve and a compass. You will be asked to find marshalled check points, here the marshal will sign your record card. At the unmarshalled check points you will find a special code which you will need to write into your record card.
Phase Two: Matrisse des Allures or Control of Paces/Gaits (CP) Max 60 points
This phase is designed to demonstrate that the rider can exercise a degree of influence over the horse first in canter (without breaking into trot) by following a track of approximately 150 metres long and 2.2m metres wide.then riding the reverse track in walk also without breaking into trot The concept is that the slower the horse travels in canter, and the faster in walk, the greater the marks awarded. Penalty points will be deducted for not staying within the demarcated corridor.
No points will be scored if you break into a trot.
Riders may elect to trot instead of canter and once again no points will be scored if you walk instead of trot or trot instead of walk!
Phase Three: Parcours en Terrain Varie (P.T.V.) Max 10points/obstacle
This is like riding a cross country event track, but, the obstacles are considerably less technical and one tackles them at a more leisurely speed. Each obstacle is worth 10 points and they are awarded for effectiveness (max 7 pts) and style (max 3 pts). Penalty points will be deducted for inconsiderate riding, not completing an obstacle and mistakes made during the obstacle/task. You will not be eliminated if you do not complete an obstacle/task, just carry on!
The course has to be done in a set time, exceeding this will earn you penalty points.
This phase is intended to demonstrate the appropriateness of the horse for safe riding and enjoyment by showing his temperament and physical fitness. It is also intended to demonstrate the overall horsemanship of the rider. While this phase does include some jumping, the size of the obstacles is set according to the level of competition. The course will also include some tasks which must be undertaken whilst 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 whilst riding in the countryside, and demonstrate the partnership working calmly and efficiently together.
The course will be divided into sections which should be carried out at a set speeds some of which may be up to 12 km/hr (light canter). The route will be displayed on a map before the start and competitors may walk the course. Throughout the course there are numbered stations with assigned obstacles or tasks.
The number of stations and degree of difficulty of the set task depends on the level of riders in the class. Our introductory course will have most of these obstacles positioned in the arenas. None of the tasks are compulsory (for our introductory course riders can elect to discount the scores of at least two obstacles of their choice) and a rider may choose not to attempt the obstacle or task. This results in points lost, not elimination.
In the interest of safety, competitors must present the horse to each station judge before continuing even if they choose not to complete the set task. Failure to present the horse (i.e. missing a station without informing the judge) is considered an uncorrected error of course and does result in elimination, from Phase C only.
Some of the tasks you may encounter in POR
Rein back up a track
Trotting or Cantering through a Corridor
Negotiating S Bends
Leading through a spooky place
Riding up an incline
Riding down an incline
Immobility in when mounted
Immobility when unheld and unmounted
Trailer Loading & Unloading
Riding under Low Branches
Jumping a narrow obstacle
Jumping a Log
Step down ridden
Step up ridden
Opening and Closing a Gate
Answering a set of horsemanship questions
Tying your horse up
Mounting from off side
and some other surprises!
All Le Trec Rules are designed to promote mindful and safe horse/human partnership where skilful demonstration of the qualities needed to enjoy a long and
varied trail ride is rewarded.
The scoring is based on accumulating the most points, and one of the major appeals of this discipline is that if a horse or rider is unable to perform any part of the competition, they are not eliminated - they merely lose points. It recognises that the demands of the competition are so wide and varied that not all riders or horses can be good at everything.
Injury, cheating or losing equipment can result in elimination but in practice eliminations are very rare giving the sport considerable appeal to the less than perfect rider on the less than perfect horse.
We see Le Trec as a great sport, and a good training ground for young or inexperienced horses and ponies, these days will give you something new to try before Springtime! So don’t hibernate this winter – join in the fun!