by Maria Freestone
After an hour of half of scrubbing my little muck monster we were finally ready to load and travel to our first TREC competition. I always get nervous driving the box with our precious cargo inside and this time it was an hour’s drive to the venue with a late class time meaning a dark wintry return journey. To say I was nervous would be a complete understatement! Meanwhile Parker was super chilled out. He always loads first time and is fine travelling without his pal. All of a sudden, we were on our way.
On arrival at the venue I ran down to look at the course layout. I nearly turned for home then. Ten obstacles; right sequencing of obstacles; led or ridden all had to be remembered. All of this was overwhelming and on top of this I also had to try and work out what I had to do at each obstacle! I tacked up quickly after finding out they were running half an hour early: I’m so glad we arrived early!
My super-groom daughter Mylie coaxed me to do the practice jump a few times in the outdoor arena giving me a bit of coaching and encouraging me to get to the same height as the one in the TREC arena. A quick practice of rein back which we had only been taught by our instructor three days ago before we were asked to go in. (Nice video of that here, please let me know if it doesn’t work, new to this technology, and please note Maria scored a 10! Mo)
I arrived in the arena a shaking mess. The steward allowed me to look at the course layout again but I took absolutely nothing in. The only thing I could remember was red flag on right and white on left and to go through the Finish markers. So off I went gently guided by the steward. First a walk through The Corridor (10/10) then on to a terribly skinny jump. As we approached I could feel Parker saying yes I can do this whilst I was thinking no no no. We stopped at the fence due to my lack of commitment but I asked and he went forward with his front legs dropping his back through the top pole (7/10). On to the S bend which was a perfect 10 and we had lots of lovely comments about how nimble Parker is. A break into tölt on the bending cost us 3 marks then I messed up completely on neck rein and mounting. So despite Parker being perfect I circled him round the wrong obstacle on the neck rein and circled him round on the mounting. Zero points for both. Then on to a perfect neck rein before the immobility which wasn’t scored just an added option. Again perfect performance from the boy. Then the led ditch, S bend and corridor again before remembering the Finish.
I was in shock as I left having had an overload of information. I fed the boy and then went back to get my notes fully expecting to have got nothing due to my two errors but there was a First rosette waiting for me.
Our first together and I think my first First ever.
24 hours later I feel so proud and happy but on the night I was just overwhelmed by the whole experience.
I found lovely people; a supportive atmosphere and a new challenge. All in all a great way to spend my weekend. If you’re thinking about trying TREC do it! The Icelandic horse is built for this: they’re so clever, willing and most definitely nimble.
Fantastic. Thank you Maria, and a Brave Pants Cup is on its way to you. Watch for your article in the Achievements section of the next Set the Pace E-Magazine, due out mid December. Mo.