Sidmouth rider Susie Ford crowned UK TREC champion

Susie Ford and Jack on their way to victory in the UK TREC championships

Susie Ford and Jack on their way to victory in the UK TREC championships - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth’s Susie Ford and her pony Jack travelled to Eydon in Northamptonshire last weekend to take part in the UK TREC Championships, sponsored by Equisafety UK, and returned as the overall champions.

Saturday’s orienteering was around spectacular countryside including streams swollen by the previous night’s rain.

There were plenty of gates, a couple of wooden bridges, short sections of roadwork linking the many beautiful tracks leading around and through fields and woodland.

Lying fifth after the first day of competition, Jack completed an almost faultless round on Sunday over the 16 obstacles which included a mix of cross country fences and technical tests to win the UK Championships.

TREC 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.


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There are three phases involved; orienteering, control of paces and 16 obstacles over a distance of up to 5 km which include a mix of cross-country fences and technical tests.

Competitions are held throughout the summer months and take place over two days with a social event on the Saturday evening when everyone gets together to discuss where they got lost!

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Susie’s pony Jack is 16-years-old and was previously her daughter’s show jumping pony.

Susie explained how she and Jack got together saying: “My daughter Beth went off to University and I took him on. We brought him originally as a five-year-old from Ireland.

“It’s fair to say that he was a brilliant jumping pony and has taken to TREC really well.”

Susie also landed the TREC top honour last year when she rode her daughter’s other pony Kookie to success at the championships held near Kidderminster.

So what saw Susie move into the world of TREC? She says: “I decided to keep both Kookie and Jack when Beth gave up and took up TREC five years ago.

“I enjoy competitions, but no longer felt I wanted to event or show jump. I find that TREC is great fun and a real leveler.

“There are a real mix of horses and ponies competing. You cannot buy a horse to win as it is as much down to you being accurate map reading and ensuring your speeds are correct.”

What next for Susie – and Jack? Susie says: “Jack will compete again at the end of September on Dartmoor. That event will be his last one this season. To be honest, we have not had the best season this year – things didn’t go as planned.

“In fact he only had one competition prior to the UK Championships and that was a meeting locally at at Poltimore earlier this summer – one we also won!

“Kookie has been off all season, but I hope to get him fit ready for the Winter League which takes place from October to March.”

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