Winter League - Leg 1
Competition 27th November '22 - PTV in Bantry
What a lovely course to start of the Winter League of 2022/2023. We would like to thank all those who entered into the spirit of the Christmas theme and decorated their horses and themselves with tinsel, lights, and everything else.
A selection of photos has been uploaded into an album on the West Cork TREC Facebook page. The results of this competition can be seen here.
Our grateful thanks to Adèle Connor (Technical Delegate), Judith Perrin (Chef de Piste and also Christmas Theme judge), and to volunteers, competitors and spectators, and last but not least to Bantry Bay Pony Trekking for the use of their facility.
TREC Ireland Championships 2022
"Success for Local Women at TREC Ireland Championships in Boulta"
An article written by Frances Whooley, as published in the East Cork Paper
The TREC Ireland 3 phase Irish Championships Competition was held this year after a 2 year break due to Covid. The TREC members and friends, judges, and volunteers from all over Ireland, gathered on Friday evening at Boulta Schooling near Ballynoe, to pitch their tents and build corrals for their horses, meet and greet one another after the long-enforced absence. The West Cork TREC group who were the organising committee, had spent the day setting up the obstacles on the wonderful cross-country course in Boulta in preparation for the PTV (obstacle course) and MA (control of paces) which was to take place on Sunday. It was unbelievably good to have all our friends together again. And shrieks of laughter could be heard into the night and throughout the weekend. It is a long 2 years since we sat around a fire till midnight recounting stories of exploits from the past and remembering trekking adventures and what drew us to this wonderful sport.
Saturday morning dawned all too quickly and the weather was obligingly good. The morning started with vet checks to make sure the horses were all in good condition to do the impending orienteering phase called the POR. Next was a tack check to make sure that everyone had the necessary high visibility clothing and a whistle some water and munchies among other requisites before heading on their way.
A visit to the map room was facilitated by kind volunteers who held the ready tacked horses to allow the riders visit the map room to copy the map from the master map onto a blank copy to take with them. When this was completed their phones were sealed and put into their pockets, not to be taken out again until they got to the finish. The riders then set off as individuals or pairs at 6-minute intervals to find their way around without the use of modern electronic devices.
The route they took was amazing. It was a showcase of what we have to offer here in East Cork. Thanks to the generosity of the local farmers and Coillte the riders got to travel through farm tracks, open fields, a local gallops track, a tram line in a barley field, a number of different forests, and quiet country lanes. The majority of their route was off road with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside form the sea at Youghal to the Knockmealdown mountains and everything in between. They met checkpoints along the way at roughly 5km intervals, where their progress was monitored, and their time recorded for scoring purposes. Too fast or too slow and you lost marks. On return to the venue the riders attended to their horses before sitting down to a social evening which ended around the campfire.
The MA and PTV were the order of the day on Sunday. The judges and volunteers arrived from far and wide to assist in scoring these phases. First the competitors had to demonstrate their ability to control their horses pace on the MA by performing a canter as slow as possible followed by a walk as fast as possible over 150 m corridor 2 m wide and then they went to the start of the PTV course designed by Winfried Bastian which put everyone to the test. This is where riders had to demonstrate agility and speed and control as well as ability to negotiate tight bends, weave through bending poles and circle around barrels single handed and jump both a hedge and a ditch as well as dismount and lead their horse through obstacles in hand after a lovely fast trot or canter from the previous obstacle at least a field away among many other tests. All the while the scoring team were collecting scores and totting them up. While this was going on the beautiful rosettes and many prizes were laid out along with the Grange Clare Perpetual cups for the best in each level. A huge thank you must go to our sponsors, Orchard Equestrian, O Brien’s Saddlery, Equine Warehouse, Kelliher Mills, Barrett Agri, Ryall O Mahony, Bantry Pet & Equine, Mane & Tail, The O’Reilly Family & Jimmy Mc Kinney, Celia O Rahilly and Adele Connor, who gave us wonderful prizes to distribute to the winners. A big thank you also to all the landowners and Coillte, and the volunteers and judges without whom the event could not take place. To Boulta schooling, and the West Cork TREC group, Gwen Bastian the Technical Delegate for TREC Ireland, Adele Connor, Assistant TD, Frances Whooley the POR route planner, Winfried Bastian the PTV course designer, Jill Davies event secretary & Megan Davies assistant event secretary.
The first woman out on the course on Saturday was local Glanmire resident Elaine Dolan-Crowley riding her pony Molly. Elaine was putting herself and her pony to the test as she hopes to travel to France in August to represent Ireland in the World TREC Championships. She showed that she will be well up to the challenge by winning the L3 Individual competition. She also won the best Mane and Tale competition for the best turned out horse as well as being a member of the Kaspyr Kup winning team. We wish her every success in her quest in France with two other Irish TREC riders, Mairead Moynihan and Kayleigh Mc Cormack.
Orla O'Reilly Memorial Shield the best Newcomer was awarded to Ciara Mulcahy from Tallow. This was Ciara’s very first TREC competition.
Breda Mulcahy from Boulta was Ciara’s partner in the L1 competition where they scooped the first prize having successfully negotiated their way around the countryside and gaining good scores on the MA & PTV. This enthusiastic pair also had the best POR score of the day winning themselves another red rosette. Both Breda and Ciara have only recently taken up TREC and thoroughly enjoyed the L1 competition and are looking to participate in future TREC events locally.
Click here to see the results.
The TREC Ireland Championships 2022 will take place on the 18th and 19th June 2022.
This 2-day 3-phase event will be hosted by West Cork TREC, and the venue for the event is Boulta (north-east Cork).
Day 1 (Saturday 18th June) will see the riders heading out on the POR phase (orienteering section). Riders will have to find their way along a planned route. Our traceur, Frances, has secured access to a considerable amount of off-road tracks and trails, something all the competitors should enjoy.
Day 2 (Sunday 19th June) will see the riders compete in the grounds of the venue itself for the other two phases, the MA phase (control of paces) and the PTV phase (obstacle course). The riders will be started at intervals and will ride the two phases consecutively.
The schedule has now been released for the TREC Ireland Championships 2022 and entries are open. Please click here to download a copy of the schedule.
We would like to thank Boulta for this opportunity of holding the Championships event at their venue and the landowners for granting us access to their land for the POR routes. We are very grateful to all who have agreed to sponsor prizes for this event, including the following (in alphabetical order): Adèle Connor, Bantry Pet and Equine; Barrett AGRI (Bantry); Equine Warehouse; Kellihers Mills; O’Brien’s Saddlery; Orchard Equestrian; Remedy Health; Ryall O’Mahony; and Stephen Crowley Leather Craft. A number of special prizes will also be awarded on the day of the event, including the O'Reilly Memorial Shield (sponsored by O'Reilly Family and Jimmy McKinney, and to be presented by Jimmy McKinney in person); the Grangeclare Perpetual Cups for each level (sponsored by TREC Ireland); the Kaspyr Kup (sponsored by Celie O'Rahilly), Best Mane & Tail (sponsored by Mane & Tale Equine Jewellery) and Best in Competition (for the highest score for the POR phase, the MA phase, the PTV phase, and the Best U-18 Rider in the overall 2-day event).
Winter League - Competition 4
Competition 27th February '22 - PTV in Bantry
The fourth leg of our league was held on Sunday 27th Feb 2022 at Bantry Bay Pony Trekking. Caitlin was the Chef de Piste and Adèle was the Technical Delegate for the event. It was Caitlin's first time in the role of Chef de Piste, and she designed a challenging course of 16 obstacles for the riders.
An additional obstacle, the Low Branches, was used as a sort of associated difficulty - this obstacle was optional and unscored, and could be attempted twice during the course (from opposite directions) but the rider could bypass them completely if they so wished. While a true associated difficulty would normally be judged for effectiveness and any faults noticed would affect the scores of the following obstacle, it was decided not to judge the Low Branches at all in either direction but rather to use this opportunity to introduce the obstacle to the horses.
We received 30 entries for the event. Along with our non-riding volunteers, we also needed some of the riders in the arena to help judge other levels. We split the day into two sessions divided by a 25-30 minute break. Level 3 riders were first in the arena, followed by the Level 2 riders. Caitlin then held a second course walk during the break for the remaining riders (both the Level 1 class and the Under 16 Newcomer Level 1 class). Adèle and Jill went to work on processing the score sheets while the last two classes were in progress. The scoring was finished while the course was being dismantled, and results were announced shortly afterwards in the arena and rosettes were handed out.
Many thanks to Georgia and Bantry Bay Pony Trekking for the use of their facilities, to all the riders, and judges and helpers for helping to make this event run smoothly, to Adèle as the Technical Delegate, and to Caitlin for designing the course.
Winter League - Competition 3
Competition 6th February '22 - PTV in Bantry
The morning of Sunday 6th Feb was cold and windy with spells of drizzle and the occasional heavier shower. We had 25 riders take part in this our first event of 2022, and the third leg of our PTV league.
On arrival, people began setting up the course which was designed by Chef de Piste Annie. With Elaine as our Technical Delegate, a decision was made to reduce the number of poles from 4 to 3 for the one-handed slalom. There were 8 obstacles 1-8 repeated for obstacles 9-16, with the rider required to remount between 8 and 9 although this would not be judged as an obstacle. Megan was nominated as Assistant Technical Delegate since Elaine was riding.
Level 3 riders were first into the arena, followed by the Level 2 riders. During the break that followed, the Level 1 riders that had been judging went to get their horses ready and warmed up, and Annie held a second course walk for the remaining Level 1 riders. Elaine and Jill went to work on processing the score sheets during the Level 1 round. The scoring was finished while the course was being dismantled, and rosettes were handed out.
We were delighted to welcome 10 newcomers to their first ever TREC competition, most of whom had never seen TREC before.
Many thanks to Georgia and Bantry Bay Pony Trekking for the use of their facilities, to all the riders, judges and helpers, to Elaine as the Technical Delegate, and to Annie for designing the course.
Winter League - Competition 2
Competition 28th November - PTV in Bantry
We had another fantastic turnout for our second league event held in Bantry Bay Pony Trekking, with a total of 18 riders taking to the arena.
The course was designed by Chef de Piste Elaine, and Frances was our Technical Delegate. On arrival, it was all hands on deck to help set up the course. With the course maps in hand people helped manoeuvre equipment, measure and mark out the 50m corridor, the slalom and the other obstacles needed. The course consisted of 8 obstacles 1-8 repeated for obstacles 9-16. The overall lap would be untimed, as there were a number of timed obstacles within the course to contend with.
The riding order was the same as the first leg, so Level 3, Level 2, Level 1. Adèle and Bastian judged all levels, with help from riders and their helpers - while one level was competing, riders of the other two levels were in the arena judging obstacles, acting as scribes for some obstacles, and/or rebuilding obstacles as required.
Many thanks to Georgia and Bantry Bay Pony Trekking for the use of their facilities, to all the riders, judges and helpers, to Frances as the Technical Delegate, and to Elaine for designing the course (and also for sending the scoresheets to Jill to input into the scoring spreadsheet).
Please find below the results summary. With Christmas fast approaching, we are taking a break from the events until the new year - let us hope that the numbers will begin to drop soon and allow us to continue our plans for training and events in 2022 (provisional dates etc. to be confirmed at our AGM in January).
Winter League - Competition 1
Competition 7th November - PTV in Bantry
The day of the first leg of the WCT PTV League Bantry got off to a rocky start with an urgent phone call from the Technical Delegate Elaine and Chef de Piste Frances. The jeep had broken down en route not far from Cork city (and a good hour from the venue). Not only were they towing their horses, but they also had with them a couple of obstacles that we would need plus all the judge’s paperwork in their car, however a quick phone call to Bastian ensured we could get a second set of the obstacles to the venue for the competition, and Jill photocopied the necessary judge’s data sheets and score sheets.
The replacement obstacles and paperwork arrived at the yard around the same time, about 40 mins later than planned. Everyone pitched in to help set up the course. Poles were put in place for the slalom, rein back, s-bend and corridor, and marked the areas for the mounted immobility and mounting. The acting TD, Megan, went around to measure widths between the poles etc for the mounting, s-bend, rein back and corridors.
Once the course had been built, the riders were given a course walk by Adèle, and then the Level 3 riders left to get their horses ready. The Level 2 and Level 1 riders then took up their judge’s sheets and stationed themselves at the various obstacles, along with judges Sara and Megan.
Since Frances and Elaine were stuck on the side of the road still, which meant we had just 3 riders for level 3. Judith was the first to ride, followed by Annie and then Kate. Barely started, we then had to break after the Level 3s to let the Level 2 riders get their horses ready while Level 3 put their horses away.
A quick reshuffle of judges, and an adjustment to heights/widths of obstacles as necessary, and the first of the seven Level 2 riders began. Once the Level 2 riders were finished their round, they went to put their horses away, and the level 1 riders went to get their horses ready. The Level 2 riders were drafted back in as judges, so that the Level 1 riders could begin their rounds.
The course of 16 obstacles included: Slalom, S-Bend (ridden and in-hand), Corridor (ridden and in-hand), Rein Back (ridden & in-hand), Mounting, Tree Trunk, Mounted Immobility.
One horse, new to TREC, decided the flour marked circle of the mounted immobility obstacle was something akin to a trap, but eventually was persuaded to enter. Once inside he then had a few sniffs and sampled a taste, curling his lips at the experience – to much amusement (and some sympathy from onlookers who experienced their own sudden flash back of memories to the taste of sandwiches on a sandy beach).
The in-hand corridor proved to be a sticky obstacle, with a couple of riders unfortunately forgetting to dismount. The different rein backs caused another issue. While some of the horses appeared to get a little better the second time around, others were not as lucky.
Overall, there was a good turnout, with a total of 17 riders. A big thank you to all the riders, judges and helpers, and to Georgia of Bantry Bay Pony Trekking for the use of their facilities. It was great to see some new faces, looking forward to the next event.
Sunday 19th September 2021 - Rider Report
Report by Frances Whooley Riding Level 3 with Siobhan Wolf.
We rode from the farm-yard through the quiet county roads of East Cork. Our first section of off road was riding at the Coolguerisque bridge where we turned righthanded and followed along one side of the river with a steep incline on the other, into a lush grass field.
Following the route on the map we found an opening in the hedge to another series of grass fields where we got the opportunity for a lovely canter. We came upon a closed gate onto the road, which Siobhan kindly opened and closed again. We went downhill to the left and our next entrance gate was open on our right which took us along a grassy track, a bit above the river. After about 5 minutes of trotting, we came to a river crossing followed by a second river crossing. Thankfully, both our horses were happy to step into the flowing water. We entered a lovely mature wood and followed the track to a steep incline to find our exit out onto the lawn of Aston Grove – a lovely old Georgian house. We followed the path out through the entrance, and when we rounded the corner we came upon our checkpoint 2 with Megan.
When our 5 minutes rest was up, Megan unexpectedly produced a sheet of paper with details of a grid referencing section, which we then had to transfer onto our map. Having completed this exercise, we negotiated our way via these grid reference points into a Christmas tree plantation, noting some tickets along the way. We exited the farm once again, and on our way out, along a country boreen, we met a small excavator mending potholes. Our two steeds were not bothered by this, and we carried on gaily, only to find Barbara and her daughter at checkpoint 3 lurking around the corner. Consulting our map, we saw that we were to go under the motorway and along another quiet small road. Mindful of our allocated speed, we kept up a brisk trot along the quiet stretch while we admired the dairying countryside that surrounded us.
On our way past the local disused graveyard, we came upon a checkpoint which was not for our level, so after a brief chat, we carried on down into a valley. Crossing the river again – over a bridge this time – we climbed up the steep hill on the other side. Shortly after passing an entrance to a large farm-yard, we found the entry to the next off-road section, which was in the main gate of the farmers house – then left into another grass field. Checking our route bearing we crossed the field and found the track which took us down to the river and up the other side. It lead us to a disused farmhouse, and from there out onto another lane just not far from the roundabout for Junction 18 of the motorway. We then turned left, and it lead us down to the outskirts of Riverstown. Here we went under the motorway again and swung left-handed at the edge of a housing estate. We rode down a long avenue into a farmyard where we found our checkpoint 4, along with the farm family out to greet us.
Our maps were then confiscated by Etaine – the checkpoint steward – and put into sealed envelopes for us to carry with us while we negotiated the next section. Etaine then gave us a sheet with a list of bearings which we were to follow. Having taken the first bearing we struck off, counting our strides to the next change of direction. We found this part of the route was very interesting. We followed a track from the farmyard to a little old narrow stone bridge crossing the river, then following the bearings we found ourselves in a deciduous wood just as it started to rain. Luckily the leaves were still on the trees, and we got some shelter, though our bearings sheet got a bit soggy. We then had to drop into the river to cross it, following a dirt path under the motorway again. We carefully followed the bearing directions and counted our strides. After a short steep descent and another few twists and turns, we found that we were at the Rocky Road – which is a local walking path. We crossed over the wooden footbridge to find checkpoint 5, just up the road. We had a 10 minute break there, as another pair of riders had come in just in front of us. When the stewards Diana and Maria got a chance they gave us permission to open our maps again.
We took advantage of the wait at the checkpoint to locate our position on the map. We were then given the go ahead, to leave the checkpoint. We proceeded up hill on the final leg of the route – homeward bound. The return journey took us along undulating and peaceful country lanes, bringing us to checkpoint 6 near the graveyard, and into familiar territory as we recognised the road back to the venue. We returned to the final checkpoint to hand in our record card. We were incredibly happy to have come to the end of a wonderful day out on our trusty steeds Brandy and Paris.
The Final phase – Sunday 19th September 2021
We concluded our 3-phase event with the POR phase on Sunday 19th Sept 2021. The venue for this event was Whooley’s Farm in Kilrussane, Knockraha, Co. Cork. Elaine Dolan Crowley was our Traceur for this phase of the event. Having traced a POR (Level 1 & 2) before, Elaine took it up a notch and traced her first Level 3 POR route for this competition. The technical delegate for the POR phase was Bastian.
A few competitors had travelled to the venue on Saturday and stayed overnight, but the remaining competitors and volunteers began arriving at Whooley’s Farm from 9am that morning. As they got their horses ready, the riders did a quick double check to confirm they had all their equipment before heading to the tack check steward; missing items could mean penalty points and possible delays. In the meantime, the stewards that would be out at the first couple of checkpoints on the route were shown to their locations with the Traceur, who advised them where they were to wait and helped them setup their checkpoint with entry and exit cones, CP numbers and speed signs for the next section. Having the longer and more difficult route ahead of the three levels, the four Level 3 riders (2 pairs) were the first to present themselves for the tack check at 10am, after which they waited for their turn to be called into the map room (checkpoint #1, aka CP1). Horses were tied up (or if required a rider could ask one of the helpers to hold their horse) while the riders were in the map room. Level 3 riders were given 15 minutes to copy down the route from the master map onto their own map, and take a note of the sample ticket and the speed set for the section to CP2. The first pair of Level 3 riders set off from CP1 at 10:15am, the second pair at 10:25am; all four riders blissfully unaware of Elaine’s plan for them at the next checkpoint!
The map room was then set up with the Level 2 maps. With their tack check completed, the Level 2 riders were called at intervals into the map room and given 10 minutes to copy the route from the master map. The only individual rider was called in first, followed by the four sets of pair riders. The Level 2 route would be a bit shorter and not as complicated as the Level 3 route, as traceurs do try to include some sections of off-road riding for them and the riders don’t have the challenge of plotting grid references and working off compass bearings that the more advanced levels “enjoy” (but for some that might translate as “endure”). Once all Level 2 riders had departed, the map room was again changed and set up with the maps for Level 1. For all six L1 riders (three pairs) this was their first ever POR, again with 10 minutes to copy the route, and it wasn’t long before all riders had departed from the yard.
The steward at CP2 for the level 3 route (which was also CP2 for the level 2 route) arrived back to the yard shortly after the Level 1 riders had departed, and told us of the surprise that had awaited the Level 3 riders: just as they were about to depart the checkpoint, they were stopped and handed a sheet of paper stating that their route had been unexpectedly changed. They were given a list of grid references that they were to plot on their map, and told to find their way to each of the points until they rejoined their originally marked route. A small table was set up at the CP for the riders to use so they dismounted and plotted their new route via the grid reference points. Despite the curveball, it wasn’t totally unwelcome, as the new route cut across country and shortened their expected journey considerably. The level 2 riders heard about the surprise while resting during their 5 minute break at the CP and were grateful they did not have to worry about such challenges.
The PTV helps to prepare the riders for obstacles they may face while out on a POR. This particular route took them over a footbridge, which they could cross in hand or ridden, through a stream and open and close gates. Should they have encountered these obstacles during a PTV, they would be well equipped to handle them in the POR.
The first riders arrived back to the venue around 2pm, with the last pair clocking in just before 4pm. We finished the day with tea and biscuits while waiting for the scores to be processed. Once the Scorer, Traceur and TD were happy with the scores they were posted for the riders to view them. Some of the riders had already left the venue, so those that remained were given a period of 30 minutes to query the POR scores should they need to. After a brief award giving and thank you speeches, riders and stewards alike were off homeward bound.
The day ran smoothly, leaving stewards, riders and organisers happy after having a great day out. It was wonderful to hear from all the riders that they had enjoyed riding along their respective routes, and in such lovely sunny weather (ignoring a couple of drops of light rain here and there). Both riders and the checkpoint stewards got to enjoy some beautiful views of the Knockraha countryside during the day, and the stewards also managed to take a few photos for us all to enjoy.
This day would not have been possible if it weren’t for Elaine who put in such a great job of tracing the routes, Bastian fulfilling all his duties as Technical Delegate, Jill for scoring, the Whooley family for hosting this phase of our event at their farm, all the landowners for agreeing to Elaine’s requests and letting the riders have access across their land, the stewards for manning checkpoints and undertaking different roles throughout the day, Brid-Anne for providing tea, coffee, biscuits and food for stewards (and the riders who had arrived on Saturday) and finally all the riders for giving us a reason for this event to happen. Thank you all.
The First 2 phases – Sunday 12th September 2021
The first day of this 3-phase event took place in Glengarriff on a rainy Sunday 12th of September, and comprised of the MA (occasionally referred to as Control of Paces) and the PTV (Obstacle) course.
The first rider set out for the MA phase of this event just after 10am, when it looked like there was no hope of the rain stopping. Each rider completed the timed and marked 150m long x 2m wide corridor first one way, in as slow and controlled a canter as they could manage without breaking stride or stepping out of the narrow corridor, and then back the other way, trying to get their steeds to walk as quickly as possible, again not stepping out/or changing gait. It was our first time using electronic timing equipment in a competition. With the timing equipment beeping merrily away as the rider passed between the flags, we were also manually timing the rider with a stop watches (our backup system should the electronic sensors and wet weather not be compatible after all!)
There were 20 riders entered for the day and after completing the MA, it was time for the PTV (obstacle) phase. This was to be no ordinary PTV phase. Designed by the Chef de Piste - Bastian - to allow riders to experience a greater variety of obstacles on the same day this phase would consist of not just one PTV course of 16 obstacles but two separate courses giving a total of 32 obstacles in all – thus, the PTV XL.
With the help of the volunteers and some of the riders (who would be judging levels other than their own), the first course of the PTV got under way. Thankfully the rain had started to clear just as the PTV started. Level 3 and Level 1 riders rode Course 1 first while the Level 2 riders helped judge. The horses and their riders had to negotiate jumps, water crossing, inclines, a footbridge and to duck under low branches without touching them. After breaking for lunch and a quick swap over of judges, we then saw our Level 2 riders complete Course 1. There was a brief changeover of the course transitioning from Course 1 to Course 2. This time we began the course with our Level 2 riders before the last short break to change parts of the course, and riders and judges changed over, with Level 1 and then Level 3 getting their chance to do Course 2 obstacles. It was a wonderful day out and everyone got to experience a wide range of obstacles. We completed the day with a group photo of the riders that had been able to stay until the end.
The day was an overall success, but we couldn’t have done it without Bastian letting us use his land for the venue or creating the wonderful courses, our TD Gwen - handling all sorts of queries, Jill our scorer, and all our judges and all the riders not only gave us competitors to judge but were also there to help with judging.
Looking forward to Sunday the 19th for the final phase – the POR!
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