"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.
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