Young Riders` Profiles – Jo McCormac





Horse’s name ,age and breed.

Clonlaras Dubh (Dubh), 14yo, Thoroughbred Cross.

Apache (Tia), 15yo, Irish Allsort!

Horses history, how did they end up being a superstar TREC horse!

Dubh has been my ultimate project and horse of a lifetime, bought 4 years ago as a horse who had done very little she was my TREC hopeful and TREC proved very helpful in getting my very whizzy and exciteable horse to slow down, enjoy the scenery, and think about what her feet were doing! I threw her in at the deep end and after only doing one winter season TREC and no summer season TREC’s she was entered into a level 3 class as a pair with Anna Weston and we had the highest PTV/COP score of our class and I was delighted to have come 4th! After a break from TREC where she enjoyed a successful endurance season along with many other successes in a range of disciplines, she is now returning to TREC with a much more refined style and more control! Her first winter event this season she went to having not done TREC for 2 years, and she won the class!

Tia was bought in October 2016, supposedly to be my riding horse as Dubh was due to be retired due to health issues. (Dubh then saw the competition for my attention and after a few miracles is now happy healthy and ridden again!) However Tia has been a wonderful addition to the herd, having already proven herself a careful and quick jumper winning nearly every showjumping class she has entered. We then took her to a winter season TREC and she really enjoyed it, she has just the right amount of brains agility and stamina to make her ideal for this sport. She has since done another winter season TREC where she was very successful, and I have high hopes for the colourful pocket rocket.



How did you get into the sport of TREC?

I started doing TREC on my little Welsh veteran – she did a few winter season TRECs and one summer season and we both loved them. They were particularly good for her as it meant she could still be out at playtimes but without having to over exert herself, which is useful for a pony that is a bit creaky.  She was the one who originally sparked my interest, and after some time researching the sport I found the young riders team. This was what encouraged me to progress to Dubh, as Vogue would not have been capable of the distances for Level 3.

TREC was then such a good schooling exercise for Dubh and I believe it was this that proved most beneficial in calming her down and transforming her into a safe riding horse.


What do you love about the sport?

I love that anyone can compete. Both horses and riders you see a whole age range, height range, so many different breeds of horse, and so on. It’s great to find a discipline where there is a level playing field, without one type of horse being favoured over others – there really isn’t a certain type of horse that is going to always excel at TREC, it is so much down to their individual character and ability.

I also love that it is a challenge that you can compete against yourself in, you don’t have to be pushed if you aren’t ready – such as being able to decline to do an obstacle. This was vital for Dubh when she started doing TREC as she was such a spooky and shy horse that if she had been forced to do an obstacle she wasn’t sure of it would have really knocked her progress back, but being able to decline that obstacle meant we could keep her happy and focused and save that challenge for another day at home.


What is your favourite Phase and why?

That’s a very tricky question! Tia is superb at her slow canter which I love doing as she feels incredible when she bounces along the MA. Dubh has a lovely fast walk naturally which again makes MA enjoyable.

The PTV is such a fun phase and I find it so exhilarating when you can do the obstacles at the higher paces – Tia cantering the bending poles always makes me laugh as this is her favourite obstacle and she knows exactly what to do when she spots them!

The POR has got to top it for me though, especially when you can ride over places not usually accessible. That is a real treat for an ‘outdoors junkie’ like me.




What advice would you give some one wanting to get into the sport?

Just go for it! All the TREC groups are so welcoming and will be happy to explain the rules if you are unsure. There is none of the unfriendly rivalry that is commonly seen in other disciplines, you can’t find a nicer group of people to spend your day with.

The winter season TRECs are a good introduction to the sport, allowing you to get to grips with the obstacles ready for the summer season. If you can match up with a pair for your first few summer competitions that would be beneficial as they can be there to help you with any queries – although my first summer season TREC I did alone and I had a ball!



And the one moment of TREC you will never forget!

It has to be one of the winter season TRECs at Milton Keynes Eventing Centre, run by Central TREC group. I had taken Dubh for the intermediate, pairs, and in hand class and she hadn’t done TREC for quite a while. She’d been out showjumping the day before (and won!). We did the intermediate class and she had done a great round so far, we came up to the low branches to Dubh’s delight – this is her favourite obstacle. She spooked just prior to cantering underneath them and I lost a stirrup. We didn’t knock any, but she swerved once we were the other side of them to avoid one of the other obstacles and I ended up very nearly coming off but with a bit of clambering and a patient pony I righted myself and we carried on our round – a highly amusing obstacle with laughter from the judges spectators and myself! I only wish there had been a photographer!