The Sport of TREC - What is it all about?

TREC (Technique de Randonnée Equestre de Compétition) is a sport intended to test the skills of a horse and rider in planning and executing a long distance ride in unfamiliar country. It originated in France as a way of testing and improving the skills of trail ride leaders, and was introduced into the UK in the early 1990s.

TREC events are run all year but in different formats in the summer and winter.   Full TREC’s are run during the summer months with up to 4 different levels competing, usually over a weekend.  Winter TREC competitions are a reduced format carried out on one day.  TREC is a three phase competition:


POR Phase (Parcours d'Orientation et de Regularite)

For the POR, the organiser will set the route and the pace or speed that you should go.  When you start TREC at level 1, It is suggested that you are best not worrying about the timing too much. If you ride the route at the speed that the terrain dictates, you won't be far wrong. When you are confident with following the map, then is the time to start trying to time and speed check.  The routes vary in length from 10km for level 1 to 40km for level 4 and riders lose points (from a maximum of 240) for using an incorrect route or being too fast or too slow. At the higher levels riders may be asked to navigate using grid references or compass bearings only.


MA Phase (Maîtrise des Allures)

The MA or Control of Paces which is ridden in a corridor up to 150m long. You have to canter down it as slowly as possible then turn around and walk back as fast as possible without leaving the corridor or breaking pace. Points (out of a maximum of 60) are determined by the time taken for each pace.

PTV Phase (Parcours en Terrain Varie)

The PTV which is basically an obstacle or handy pony course with 16 obstacles placed over a field or two if space is available. The PTV course can be up to 5kms long, though it is usually much shorter.  There is a maximum time to do the course in and it is timed from start to finish. Going over the time will incur time penalties.  Obstacles may be required to be completed ridden or led, and include things like riding through water, opening and closing a gate, jumping a small fence and riding or leading up or down a slope, over a bank or through a dip.  Each obstacle is worth up to 10 points. It is marked by positive scoring so you are allowed to miss out obstacles if they don’t suit you, but you must stop and let the judge know you don’t want to do that one.


TREC Competition Levels

Level 1 competitions, which are the entry level, are often run over one day with the other levels mostly being run over the whole weekend. The higher levels involve longer and more complicated POR courses and often harder PTV and MA courses too. A level 1 POR is 10-15km long, which is about 6-9 miles, and takes most horses and riders about 2 hours to complete.  Level 4 TREC is 40-45km long, which can take about 6 hours to ride and will include complex orienteering using grids and bearings.  Jump obstacles heights, speeds and complexity of PTV courses also increase as the levels increase.

Winter TREC

Winter TREC events are run October to March in an arena, which can be indoors or outdoors, with no ride (POR), just a shortened course of obstacles (PTV) of 10 obstacles and the MA.

The best thing about TREC is that you can have fun with friends and your horse whatever your skills.

The fun goes on all day, you have many opportunities to do well and a good level of all round performance is rewarded.