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TREC - Europe does trail versatility, too

Published: 4/19/2010
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Check it out!

TREC is a new sport in Europe. The acronym stands for 'Techniques de Randonnee Equestre de Competition.' It was developed in France where there is a big equestrian tourist industry.
Initially used to test the expertise of professional equestrian guides, the TREC concept soon began to appeal to the everyday rider, too.

I was unable to find any TREC competitions in the United States and just one in western Canada! There were several enthusiastic TREC clubs in France, England, South Africa, and elsewhere.

The event takes most of the day and involves three phases.

Phase A, known as the Orienteering Phase, involves following a marked route using a map as guidance. It is not a race and the pace is usually a brisk walk with a bit of trotting and a light canter.

Phase B, known as Control of Gaits, involves cantering along a 150 meter lane as slowly as possible, and walking back as quickly as possible, without breaking into a trot.

Phase C, known as the Cross Country Obstacle Course, involves a course of 1-5 kilometers in length, with between 16 and 20 obstacles to tackle. Some of them are jumps, banks, hedges or ditches and others involve loading into a trailer, going through water, immobility tests, bending, reining back and many more exciting challenges.

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4/25/2010 Julie
Very interesting! I like the obstacle for "low branches" ha ha....I've encountered those many times, but of course, 10 times worse out in the woods picking your way thru a new spot to get around a huge downed tree crossing the regular path :)
4/25/2010 Heather
There is a TREC association in North Carolina. In fact, I just volunteered at the Spring competition this weekend. Go to their website: for more info. We're really trying to grow the sport in the US.
12/18/2011 Anita Hasbury-Snogles
We are this year trying to expand TREC in the US so anyone interested in taking part or holding a competition please see the new Website There are now groups in NC and VA with hopefully more on the way. This is a great Sport open to all. The exciting thing this year is that we are fielding a team to compete internationally in Portugal.
7/16/2012 Anita Hasbury-Snogles
RIDE TREC are now working very hard to promote this sport in the US please search for their website.
3/12/2013 Anne Buteau
I was one of the new TREC riders who trained hard and went to the World Championships in Mafra, Portugal, Sept 2012! Was a real challenge at the international level,as we had to ride rented horses! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am now offering training for folks wanting to learn about this fun sport, and a store called TREC SUPPLIES PLUS so you can get your gear in one place rather than wasting time and money searching all over, like I had to last year. There are still groups in VA and NC. Trec most importantly teaches you the skills to explore in the wilderness and find your way home! Try it!

"It is the hardest pill for all of us would-be horsemen to swallow, but it is absolutely true - if the horse is not responding properly, we are doing something wrong" - Mary Twelveponies