News

February 2017

The next championships will be the European Cup for Young Riders which will take place in Ireland in August this year.  Senior riders are now working towards their European Chamopionships in 2018, venue yet to be announced.

August 2016

Report on final training session before Segovia 2016 by Dave Rogerson, senior Chef d`Equipe Malhamarticle-932

July 2016

British teams for Segovia just announced:

Seniors – Hilary Barnard, Lynne Mabbitt, Jackie Bennett, Daniel Nolan, Dot Still and Lynn Davies. Reserve Claire Pollard.

Juniors – Caitlin Crossley, Alex Robinson and Jess Wain

May 2016

Le Seul Brit en France by Dot Still European Cup competition in Franche Comte

Thursday 19th May

J’arrive a Basel en Suisse via Easy Jet, got my hire car and drove over the border into France. One hour later I am at the venue Mathay for the French round of the Le Trec Euro Cup.

Jean Bernard was waiting for me so that he could introduce me to my hired horse for the weekend.

Umprevu, a 16hh grey gelding, 9 years old, last competed in Trec 3 years ago with Lynn Davies at a very appropriately named horsey place in France called DUNG!!!

JB arranged for me to join in with a lesson at the stables that evening to get to know my horse. Olivier, the owner of the riding school and a French National event rider was taking the lesson and did not speak a word of English, mixed with my lack of French……. I couldn’t wait!

In the meantime, I went for a drive around to get my bearings and have a general look at the area. I checked into my hotel and headed back up to the stables.

I joined in with 5 others for the jumping lesson. Should I have been worried? 2 had on French regional team saddle squares?

Not a bit, Umprevu was a star and was the only one to pop through the 1m grids, without stopping or touching a pole. The language barrier did not pose a problem at all. Lots of gesturing though!!The lesson finished at 8.30pm and I was invited to supper of bolognaise. Yum, I had forgotten I hadn’t eaten since the morning.

Off back to hotel for some ZZZzzzzz.

Friday 20th May

Up to the stables for 9am, tacked up and went for a  reccy ride with Umprevu, map and compass. (you daren’t go anywhere in France without your map and compass) Lovely 2 hour ride in the woods trying to find tracks that are on the map but not easy to find on the ground. Back to stables and had an hour in the school trying some PTV moves and to measure his walk and trot. Little did I know how important this would be.

Lunch again at the stables,( they really did look after me well) cleaned my tack, packed my saddle bags and went for more reccying in the car.

It is a beautiful region with hills ( they call them mountains) up to about 550m and forestry as far as the eye can see.

For those not familiar with a Euro Cup competition, meals from Friday night to Sunday lunch are included in your entry, so… pizza and salad for all on Friday night and a good opportunity to meet everyone. All very social.

There are new French rules which mean that a Friday night and Saturday vetting are no longer required, only on the Sunday morning are the horses vetted. Also new in French rules for this year, you no longer have to carry any equipment except your Id and a copy of the horses passport. It was explained that it was up to the rider what they carried and if they chose nothing and your horse lost a shoe and you had no hoof boot or shoe to put on, he would probably fail the vet the next day. Me being fairly risk averse, tool the whole lot ( by UK standards) of equipment.

Back to the hotel for 10.30pm. Set alarm for 6.30am

The fire alarm in the hotel went off at 11.30pm. No blooming fire but I still had to get up and check what was going on. A member off staff had blown out a candle under the smoke detector.

Saturday 21st May.

I awoke before my alarm, unusual for me!!! I don’t normally wake before the alarm. QUELLE HORROR!!!! It was 8.19am. My phone had decided to do an automatic update through the night and had switched off my alarm.

My map room time was 9.30am, I was a 3km drive from the yard.

I threw my clothes on, jumped into car and arrived at stables at 8.40am. Was I glad I had got all my equipment ready the day before? Missed breakfast but made it to the tack or ID paperwork check with 3 mins to spare. AND BREATH…… AND FOCUS……..AND INTO THE MAP ROOM.

Every time I have competed in France ( this is my 4th time) they give you the whole OS sheet, all neatly folded up, not a nice A3 or A4 printed map of the area, so the first task is to locate yourself on the huge sheet. The map was a complicated draw with lots of off piste and little “offs” or wiggles with most of the route being in the woods. There was a large gap about ¾ of the way round??

Got it all down and about 20km marked up and off we went minus my lunch pack which I forgot to lift. ( remember I had no breakfast)

The first ticket or difficulty was within 200m of the start and was a test of whether or not you were paying attention from the get go. Apparently I was as I got it right. YAY. This gave me a huge boost as it had been a bit of a fraught morning.

A km further on, my right rein clip broke and I had no steering. Oh Oh!

I jumped off, put it back on, only for it to become detached another 300m up the track. I undid my lead rope and used that as a rein. It wasn’t a nice soft, synthetic lead rope it was an old fashioned jute rope. I continued for the rest of the day with rein and rope in hand.

The rest of the day went amazingly well without any more dramas. The gap in my map arrived. It was grids. French grids are not the same as our nice 8 figure references. They have 13 figure references. A challenge as I had never done French grids before. We had to sit in the back of a van at a table and chair, very civilized, please take note British organisers!! I tried to plot, but they didn’t make any sense. They were all over the place. They had given the end grid which was at the end of the gap, marked by two lines. I managed to work this out and the rest were fairly simple after that.

All plotted with 2 mins to spare and off I continued. We had 30 mins to get to the finish of the grid section. I arrived at the end in 29 mins and 50 seconds to find a car but Non Personne!!!!! I shouted Moi ici, J’arrive etc and got some funny looks from some cyclists. Turns out you just continue on your route in France. Only wasted a minute or so and thought, take a note of the time and move on.

The next checkpoint was quite near the end and as soon as you arrived they took your map off you. Bearings! In French of course, no translation for Le Seul Brit!!

13 instructions. All went well and I was one of only a few to come in the right way. This was the finish.

Back to the stables, very happy, thought I might have missed only one ticket at a very tricky bit. Had found 11 tickets ( all manned!!)

Washed down Umprevu, who had turned out to be very strong, remember the rope rein. I hadn’t really noticed during the ride, but I was now a couple of layers of skin short on some of my fingers!! Found some ice  which helped, found my lunch pack which helped and someone found me a glass of wine, which definitely helped. Sat in the sun for an hour. Ahhhhhh.

Checked on Umprevu, he was very fine, munching his hay in his stable then off to dinner, a very tasty local sausage and potato rosti. Results out. Scored 170, 8th place, only missed that one ticket and had the 5th best score of the day. (4 riders were on equal scores just above me)Not bad out of 39 elite riders. Only 4 got all the tickets.

What a full on day.

Back to hotel, showered and fell into bed. I woke every hour in fear of the alarm not going off.

Sunday 22nd May

Alarm did go off at 6.30am.

Made it up to stables in time for bacon and eggs, juice and tea. This was a much better start to the day.

The vetting was at 8am and the MA started at 9. The MA was a straight line, over the brow of a hill. Very narrow, about 1m30 and lined with spectators, dogs and judges.

Umprevu does not really possess a slow canter but you have to try. 17 points gained. His walk was quite good but apparently he stepped out.

After the MA, everyone has lunch. Fish and Chips with salad. The PTV started at 1.30pm. I was not on till 3 so took the opportunity of watching the first few and timing some of them. The time of 9 mins was going to be very tight. Nearly all of the 18 obstacles had an associated difficulty to contend with.

I warmed Umprevu up and headed to the start. Number one was a ridden corridor,  along the top of a bank but with a barrel jump immediately in front and at the end. It had caused a lot of problems. Not for Imprevu. Did it perfectly for a 10. The jumps were all between a metre and a metre 10, the incline and decline were very steep with a moving (gravel) surface, the branches had a jump immediately before and after etc etc etc. It was a totally thrilling PTV and we loved every bit of it. Came in at 8 mins and 45 secs.

The scores came out very quickly. 134 for us. Nobody queried anything and the prize giving took place within 30 mins of results, followed by some cheese and wine. No wonder they all stayed for the prizegiving.

I ended up 16th overall and was delighted with how the weekend ended up.

During the chat afterwards, a person who liveries at the yard was curious as to why I was riding in a snaffle bit. I replied, “ it was the bridle I was given for him”, they replied oh, ok, he is usually ridden in a gag!! This would perhaps explain why I had such a strong horse over the weekend. Hey Ho!!

A fabulous weekend, with lots learned and with some fantastic memories and a couple of blistered fingers to take home. More new Trec friends have been made and I would thoroughly encourage anyone to make the journey to compete abroad. The standard is high ( In France you are competing against World and European Champions) but you come away having learnt a lot.

Huge thanks to all in France , especially Jean Bernard and the staff at the stables who made it such a fun and enjoyable weekend. I will be back.

 

 

 

Some Pearls of Wisdom

  1. Take a second alarm clock.
  2. Always be super organized.
  3. Try to take as much of your own trusted tack as you can.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, most people are more than happy to help
  5. Take your own snacks for the POR in case you either forget to lift or don’t like the local offerings
  6. Count every step of the way and when your map says … go through those thick prickly bushes….. GO!!!!!!

 

Some Stats

POR 170

MA 17

PTV 134

Total 321

 

Kms ridden POR 34km

Kms walked about 30km

Kms driven 320km

Kms flown who knows

Tack cleaned 4 times

Nationalities present- French, Swiss, Spanish, Austrian and un seul Brit

 

Au Revoir et Jusqu’a la prochaine fois

Umprevu

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The view through Umprevu’s rather lovely large ears

dot2

 

The Master map

dot3

 

The ridden corridor with associated difficulty

dot4

 

The low branches with associated difficultydot5

 

 

The double of offset hedges 1m10

doy6

 

The flags of the nations being represented (lucky me. I got two flags)

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The Prize. A rosette and a happy horse and rider!!!! J

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Weekley training weekend 21/22 May

7 International riders took advantage of the facilities at Weekley where Central TREC Group kindly allowed us to tag on  to a L1/L2 competition. On the Saturday whilst the L2 competitors were out on their POR we had a morning training on the MA and PTV courses and used the opportunity to have some of this videoed to help us determine where and how we can iimprove.  On the Sunday  senior Chef d`Equipe Dave Rogerson  cleverly added variations to the L2 route which provided us with a good mix of navigational challenges which kept our brains occupied from start to finish.  An excellent weekend with the added bonus of decent weather!

 

April 2016

Eersel report by Claire Pollard

Eersel

A group of us went to Eersel over the weekend of 23/24 April 2016 to compete in a TREC. There were 3 of us competing in the Eurpean Cup competition – Hilary Barnard, Kate Gillam who was competing on a friend’s horse and myself. Amanda Marfleet and Vicki Glynn competed at the equivalent of Level 2.

There are quite a few hoops to be jumped through to take your horse abroad. You have to obtain an Export Licence and have a health check for the horses. The form for the application for a health check is about 8 pages long and quite confusing. The same form appears to be used for exporting all animals, live or dead, and even semen. In the end after trying to work out how I could be both the Consignor and the Consignee, I gave up and called DEFRA, who were extremely helpful and I managed to email the form to them.

The plan was to stay over at Amanda Marfleet’s on the Wednesday night and get the horses vetted there at the same time. This all went without a hitch, and we were ready to leave earlyish on the Thursday morning to catch a ferry. Amanda and Vicki’s horses travelled in Amanda’s lorry and my horse, 2B, and Hilary’s pony Harvey travelled in my trailer. I have never transported a horse on a ferry before and after driving the trailer onto the ferry you have to leave it and go onto the passenger decks. I admit I did not like leaving my horse for about 90 minutes, but all was ok. I am sure she was helped by the calming influence of the far more experienced Harvey.

We then had about a further 4 hours to drive, after leaving Calais, before reaching the venue. This was nearly all on motorways and the horses travelled very well. We arrived there early afternoon on Thursday and put the horses in stables. After a bit of a break for us all we took them out for a nice leg stretch, which also had the benefit of helping us get familiar with the maps. On the Friday I moved 2B into a corral where she was happier than being in a stable and we just spent a pretty lazy day.

Our tack check was on the Friday evening, which went quite well. The POR was held on the Saturday with the map room being in an indoor school. The POR was nearly all on sandy tracks through the forest which made the orienteering interesting, and the riding was lovely. Unfortunately I had twisted my ankle during the week, so I was rather slow and picked up tons of time faults, but my orienteering wasn’t too bad. The weather was rather cold with a few wintery showers. I think it is the first time I have done TREC in snow. The Sunday was equally cold and stormy, but the people were all really friendly, and the judges were well huddled up under huge umbrellas and lots of layers. I did feel very grateful to them for enabling us to compete. The MA was quite interesting, it was along one of the sandy tracks, which was lined with umbrellas. I expected 2B to spook at the umbrellas, but these were no problem. Unfortunately she did break when a dog in the hedge jumped up, no excuse for this, I didn’t expect her to be bothered by this, I ride out with dogs quite often. However, 2B did a lovely walk and scored 17. The PTV was quite interesting and used the features of the venue well. Because of my bad ankle I did not do the remount or the led obstacles, I was not in contention in any case. But the other obstacles were interesting and we scored quite well. Congratulations to Hilary who got the best PTV score.

Hilary and I decided to travel back to the ferry on the Sunday evening, to split the journey for our horses. This all went without a hitch and we caught a ferry just before midnight, arriving back at Amanda’s at about 1.30. There were lovely stables ready for the horses, which was very welcoming. Poor 2B was very tired and didn’t know whether to eat drink or pee first, but she settled very quickly and was fine in the morning.

Overall Hilary came 3rd, I was 16th and Kate was 17th. Vicki was 5th and Amanda 7th. Rather different for Vicki and Amanda as they rode as a pair but were placed as individuals. Huge thanks to Amanda, for the hospitality at her house, to “Nurse” Vicki for the treatments to my ankle which I am sure enabled me to ride at all and also to Hilary and Harvey for looking after me and 2B on our first foreign excursion.

 

 

Three international riders, Hilary Barnard, Claire Pollard and Kate Gillam will be competing in the European cup competition in Eersel, Netherlands 22-24 April. Kate is riding a loan horse, Hilary is taking Harvey and Claire is taking 2B.

030416 Read Jackie Bennett`s Horse Hero Blog     http://www.horsehero.com/celebrity-blog?CelebId=121184

Report on Tordesillas European Cup competition by Young Rider Alex Robinson  who was competing abroad for the first time

After a very late arrival at our hotel in Spain on Thursday night we met up with Hilary and Claire at breakfast. They had arrived a day earlier than ourselves and had already driven over to Segovia to have a look at the Championship venue, a trip that we made on Friday.  Whilst having breakfast we spotted the weather forecast – it didn’t look good.

We had a great trip to Segovia – found the venue easily and took some photos of the landscape and the cross country course. We also had a brief trip into the centre of Segovia before making our way back to meet up with Agustin so that we could meet and try our horses.  On the way back to Tordesillas we drove through some heavy rain and it was soon fine again.  Shortly after arriving back at the venue the rain caught up with us and soon the ground had turned from a dustbowl to claggy clay – reminiscent of Culworth last season!  Mum and my horses belonged to Javier who owned the venue.  Violetta took us to the horses, neither of which wanted to be caught to leave their other friends in their pen and trying to catch them in the claggy clay was not the easiest thing.  Anyway, successfully caught we had a short ride in the rain.  My horse was a grey gelding called Niño and mum’s was a bay called Aranda.  Niño was well behaved but Aranda was naughty at first, with an attitude similar to Star – no manners.  Once we got away from the venue she settled down so we thought she’d be okay, then we put them back and went to find food before returning for the evening briefing and draw for the order.  The trouble with the food is that most of the cafés and restaurants don’t open in the evening until at least 8pm and we wanted to eat before the briefing so that we could return to our hotels after, make sure we’d got everything ready for Saturday and get a good nights sleep.  We found a burger/pizza shop that was open and ordered pizzas and chips – the only trouble was they only had a small oven and were only able to cook two pizzas at once so we finished up taking mum’s and my pizzas in takeaway boxes so that we could get back for the briefing.  The boxes came in useful though as we could use them as makeshift floor mats in the car so that we didn’t get mud absolutely everywhere.

Back at the venue and the opening briefing, with Gill, Chef d’Equipe for the Spanish team translating for us, we were all made very welcome and were invited to the draw before the Spanish riders – Jackie took first dip and got 21, then mum got 20.  I got 3 so that meant that we were going to have to have an early start the following morning.  Claire got 8, Hilary 16 and Lynne 24 so it was only Jackie and mum that were very close out of the total of 30 riders.

Back at the hotel mum and myself made sure that we’d got all our equipment ready and we were trying to dry our coats, chaps and jods that were all wet from the earlier ride.

Saturday morning we arrived at the venue, caught Niño up and started to get ready – then the heavens opened again.  I put my coat over the saddle to try to keep it dry as it was a synthetic one and my backside had got wet from the saddle on Friday.  I went into the map room at 9.10am for 20mins to draw a 25km route including plotting three grid references and a section that had the map details blanked out.  The route was difficult to see as the colour of the line was similar to the contour lines on the map.  The starting speed was 6.5km/h.  I mounted Niño and set off.  The route took me down the track between the venue and the main road and down onto the river bank.  I made my first mistake by getting a loop into the first ticket wrong, ah well.  I continued to follow my route which then took me onto the section where the grid references were (without having passed through a checkpoint).  I’d accidentally marked the grid references 1km further south than I should have and was working out what I needed to do as they seemed to be a long way from where I needed to finish up when I saw a rider going in the opposite direction which made me realise what I’d done wrong.  The ticket near the first grid reference was a bad ticket which I didn’t punch, thankfully, the 2nd and 3rd were both hidden in the corners of the woods but I found both of those and carried on to the next checkpoint.  The route from that checkpoint was quite fiddly with the tracks on the ground not being shown on the map so it was technical.  There was a ticket by a track which I clicked (another mistake) and then I made another mistake and didn’t ride up a steep hill by the side of a derelict house where I then missed a good ticket.  There was then another ticket which was on the inside of an old wall which I got right.  From there the route was somewhat easier alongside a track next to a large housing conurbation.  There was a kink off the track but no sign of any ticket.  From a junction where the return route met the outward route I turned left alongside the edge of the conurbation.  There was then another kink off the track with a good ticket which I didn’t find.  The route then turned and went round some more scrub type area where it was again difficult to navigate.  This took me through a manned ticket (wrong) then into a checkpoint which I got right.

From this point I followed my route which took me down a steep short hill to another manned ticket where there was someone taking photographs and I carried on along the fence line then dropped back onto the track into another checkpoint, only to be told that I’d gone too far along before dropping down (I think most other people got this wrong too).  From there I then carried on along the track back to the point where the routes met and turned left, going off track again round some scrub type area and round the edge of some trees.  Some more unmanned tickets in there – some slightly off route, some on route (I think I got 2 of the 3 right) and then I was on the blanked out bit of map where I had to take bearings where even though I’d written some bearings/distances on in the map room I got messed up and took a long time before getting to the checkpoint (from the wrong direction – as did everyone else).

We were then given a sheet with aerial photos of junctions for the next section.  There was still a short section of bearings to complete before this task and I started the photos but couldn’t make them fit so rode directly to the given point, which I think many riders did too.  Mum and Jackie said that there was only evidence of one horse on a track in front of them later on.  From here the route was comparatively straightforward down onto the river bank with a couple of kinks off – one for a manned ticket and another for an unmanned one and the finish was back at the venue.

On getting back to the venue I sorted Niño out and put him back in his pen then Hilary and Claire kindly took me back to my hotel where I had a soak in the bath before Mum eventually arrived back with Jackie and Lynne.

Mum told me my score.  It certainly wasn’t my best POR and the score I was given was -148, with the best rider getting -27.  Mum has tried weighing up the scoring on the score sheet but can’t make head nor tail of it as the penalties for the manned tickets or wrong routing into the checkpoints.  Mum told me that her horse had been being naughty and she’d effectively ridden the route with Jackie and had somehow been given 30 fewer penalties for an unmanned ticket than Jackie even though they’d punched exactly the same tickets – certainly very strange.

We turned the heating up full in the room and spread everything out in an attempt to dry things out before we had to pack up ready to check out in the morning.  Back to the pizza shop with mum, Jackie and Lynne – this time it was okay because we just ordered two pizzas between the four of us and then back to the hotel.  Mum’s back was aching so she lay on the bed and fell asleep after having an anti-inflammatory tablet.

On Sunday morning we finished packing the bags – leaving out the things that we needed to ride, managed to get some breakfast and headed off to the venue for vetting.  We managed to catch Niño and Aranda and vetted successfully (as did everyone else).  Mum and myself managed to miss the course walk and I didn’t have time then to walk it.  I got a map and got told what the obstacles were and had the route described to me.  I think that they’d had to alter it because of all the rain from what was originally set up on the Friday.

I managed to keep Niño in canter but it was too fast, and he was going sideways, and I scored about 13 for the walk, then went off to the PTV, map in pocket.

  • Gate without a string on it – 0
  • Ridden bridge – 0
  • Led S Bend – 8
  • Led Rein Back – 0
  • Led Log – 0
  • Ridden Corridor – 4
  • Ridden S Bend – 7
  • Ride Up – 4
  • Ride Down – 9
  • Jump – 0
  • Rein Back – 0
  • Bending – 7
  • Hedge – 0
  • Ridden Immobility – 7
  • Path Crossing – 0
  • Figure of 8 – 7

Niño wouldn’t jump for me, so I lost 40 points there.  Quite a few of the obstacles were placed very close to each other – it would have been harder for me to try the rein back and immobility if we had jumped.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and have learnt a lot which hopefully I’ll be able to put to good use in September.

All in all, an excellent experience that I would certainly recommend to everyone to try.  I’ve learnt so much from this and am really looking forward to September riding Warrior there, although I definitely prefer our maps to the Spanish ones!

Tordesillas route

Final results Hilary 12th,  Claire 16th, Lynne 22nd, Alex 24th  Jackie 27th, Liane 29th

March 2016

Tordesillas, Spain  European Cup Competition March 19th and 20th

Several senior  international riders Hilary Barnard, Jackie Bennett, Lynne Mabbitt and Claire Pollard, together with Young Rider Alex Robinson and her mother Liane will be kicking off the TREC 2016 season by competing in this European Cup Competition. We will all be on hired horses and this is a selector competition for the Spanish riders so competition will be tough!

Training organised by some of the International riders in Derbyshire

On Saturday 5th March 2016  14 TRECcies congregated “sans cheval” for a dose of pre-season orienteering practice- organised by some of the TRECGB International riders to raise funds to support those who will represent GB at the Championships in Spain in September 2016 –  in Robin Wood near Ticknall, Derbyshire.  These woods had caused considerable challenges to all levels in the National Forest TREC in May 2015 and this was an ideal opportunity for riders to see where and why problems had arisen there as well as to have a go at the routes for higher levels. The woods are ideal for on foot training as they are small enough not to mean endless walking but many of the paths marked on the map are missing, and just as predictably many new ones have been created. This means you have to concentrate on both your distance and direction to find the correct path. We think these woods hold endless possibilities for further training and hope to repeat the exercise next spring.

The weather was reasonably kind, although the going underfoot decidedly wet. All made it back out of the woods a little muddy with their orienteering skills tuned up to a cuppa and a slice of cake.

February 2016: The senior International riders are pleased to announce that Dave Rogerson has agreed to be the senior Chef d`Equipe at the World Championships in Segovia, Spain in September 2016

September 2015: Caitlin Crossley represents Great Britain as a junior at the Junior European Championships in Eersel, Netherlands. Read her blog with further photos and info on our facebook page.

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