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.
The sport consists of 3 phases:
Orienteering phase - riders follow a set route (singly or in pairs) which they have copied onto a map themselves at a range of pre-determined speeds. The routes vary in length from 10-40km and riders lose points (from a maximum of 240) for using an incorrect route or being too fast or too slow. At the higher levels riders may be asked to navigate using grid references or compass bearings only.
MA (Control of paces) phase - riders must demonstrate their control over their horse's paces by cantering as slowly as possible along a track and then returning in walk as fast as possible. Points (out of a maximum of 60) are determined by the time taken for each pace.
PTV [obstacle] phase - riders complete a course of 16 obstacles which are designed to be formalisations of things that could be found on a ride, each of which is judged out of 10 (maximum points available 160). The course has a time limit and points are deducted for exceeding this limit. Obstacles may be required to be completed ridden or led, and include things like riding through water, opening and closing a gate, jumping a small fence and riding or leading up or down a slope, over a bank or through a dip.
The points gained by a rider or pair are totalled and the highest total wins.