TREC, short for the French Techniques de Randonnée Équestre de Compétition is an equestrian discipline designed to test horse and rider. With origins in France, the sport has spread through Europe, and was introduced to the UK by the British Horse Society (BHS) in 1998. The sport is now known as British TREC and is run by TREC GB. TREC competitions consist of three separate events (phases) - mounted orienteering, a demonstration of control of the horse's paces and an obstacle course - all completed over the course of one or two days, and points scored, with the highest scoring being declared the overall event winner.
The first phase consists of mounted orienteering where riders copy a route from a marked map onto their own map, and follow this route at a speed determined by the organisers. The length of the route varies according to the level of the competition, ranging from 10 km at beginner levels up to 45 km at championship levels. The complexity of the navigating and challenge of the terrain also increases at higher level competitions, demanding greater skill. There are checkpoints along the route, which are not marked on the map, these are designed to ensure that the route is ridden accurately and at the correct speed and that horses have sufficient rest along the route. There are also un-manned ticket points on the route where the rider must stamp their own record card before proceeding.
A number of items of essential kit must be carried or worn:
Riders start the POR with 240 points, and the aim is to complete the phase with as many points remaining as possible. Penalties can be deducted in a number of ways including:
The MA phase is designed to demonstrate that a rider has a high degree of control over the horse, first in canter and then in walk. The rider must canter the horse slowly along a marked corridor, which is 2-4 m wide and up to 150 m long, and then turn around and walk the horse back quickly. There are up to 60 points available on this stage, depending on how slowly the horse canters and how fast he walks. If the horse leaves the corridor or breaks into another pace, the score is zero.
The PTV is a series of obstacles, designed to test the obedience, confidence, courage and balance of the horse and the correctness of the rider's aids. The course consists of up to 16 obstacles, to be tackled in a certain order and within a set time. The obstacles may include jumps, ditches, water, steps and dismounted tasks.
There are up to 10 points available for each obstacle (totalling 160 available) these points are broken down into:
Penalties (from -3 to -1 for carelessness, brutality or dangerous riding) can also be deducted from the score as appropriate.
If the time allowed is exceeded, time penalties are deducted: