We asked Dorothy Still – senior international TREC competitor who has been representing GB at the highest level since 2012 – to describe her journey from complete beginner to international competitor:
I was introduced to the sport of TREC in 2008. A friend wanted to hire my outdoor arena for a training session and suggested I join in. I did!
My horse, Max is a 17hh light to middleweight Irish sport horse who had done a bit of everything, so thought this would be good for a change.
Although a big boy, he is a very amenable chap and seemed to really enjoy all the challenges.
Later that summer we embarked on our TREC career. After doing one level 1 competition, I moved up to level 2, looking for a bigger challenge.
In 2010, I was at the British Champs in Wales and was watching our elite level 4 riders. I started to think that I certainly had the horse power and the competitiveness to have a bash. I spoke with the chef d’equipe there and then and she told me what the requirements would be to work towards getting onto the squad for potential Team GB selection.
In 2012, after literally jumping through several criteria hoops, I got my first call up for Team GB. What an honour it was to wear the union jack in Mafra, Portugal at the World Championships. (not many sports allow someone my age to compete for their country)
This competition was slightly different for our team as we had to hire horses in Portugal so although we were at an instant disadvantage, the thrill of being there made up for our placings. Poor Max did not get to go.
I was capped again in 2014 for the Europeans in Italy but unfortunately had a bad fall earlier in the summer and was not allowed to ride. In 2016 I got the call for the World Champs in Segovia, Spain and was allowed to take my own horse Wahiki. (Max was getting a bit old and stiff so Wahiki, the young gun was bought as a 5 year old in 2012, purely with TREC in mind) What an event. We ended up 13th, the highest a Brit has come for several years (In 2000 David Hay Thorburn was the World Champion))
This year the Europeans were back in Italy, near Rome. A tough event and a silly mistake dropped our placing but as usual a great time was had.
I am often asked, what is the perfect TREC horse. I am not sure how to answer this as they need to be extremely fit for the orienteering ( at level 4), then extremely well schooled for the MA (control of paces) and then very disciplined and versatile for the PTV (obstacle/ cross country phase) and if it all goes right on the day, you could be the next World or European Champion (or just a really happy person, who loves their horse).
There are currently all types participating through the levels from Eriskay ponies to Clydesdales and everything in between. It really is a sport for all and would urge you to look up your nearest TREC club via the TREC GB website, where you will be welcomed in to our TREC family. The sport welcomes newcomers to the sport with a huge variety of training and competitions at all levels up and down the country.
Helen at Just Chaps has been a huge supporter of our International squads, supplying us for the last 6 years with very unique GB chaps. The mesh ones are great for when it is hot and the neoprene ones are just the smartest with the flag on them. We hope to continue this relationship with Just Chaps.
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.