Beautiful Weather Marks Sandhills TREC
Rain came early Saturday morning to the Sandhills but by 9 a.m. the fall Sandhills TREC competition saw overcast skies, no rain and the promise of a great weekend of competitive trail riding.
The two-day event started Saturday morning with an obstacle course held at White Winds Farm on Calloway Road in Hoke County. Participants negotiated 16 obstacles to show the training and obedience of their mount. In addition, entries had to do the Mastery of Gaits where riders and their mounts canter slowly down a narrow corridor 150 meters long and then return at a fast walk, all without breaking gait. The slower the canter and the faster the walk gained entries the most points.
Sunday's part of the competition took place at the NC Sate Gamelands at Hoffman. Riders were given 20 minutes to make a copy of the competition route from the official map onto their map.
They then had to ride the course using map reading and compass skills. Riders had to maintain the speeds set for their horses by the organizers while staying on the correct trails and trying to locate the check points.
This "road rally" on horse-back tests the skills and abilities of riders and horses to safely navigate unfamiliar terrain.
Hailing from the mountains near Fries, Va., first-time participant Ann Crawford found the lower level introductory course easy.
"I was able to ride the trail using the contour elevations and critical landmarks," said Crawford.
A certified mounted search and rescue rider, Crawford thought the lack of elevation in the Gamelands might present the greatest challenge to reading the map and staying on the trail, but the obvious trails and roads helped to make the course easy for her. Her gaited horse Flash, proved very fit, physically and mentally, for the introductory course.
NATRC rider Pamela Kruder of Pittsboro also had no trouble with the map and trail. Mounted on her gaited horse J.E.B.Stuart, Kruder garnered the most points in all phases of the competition and was the overall Adult Champion. Crawford was reserve champion in the Adult Division.
Bethany Skellington of Aberdeen on her pony Flash was the overall champion in the Youth Division.
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