This is the competition for you if you are looking to participate in a fun, friendly atmosphere with your pony and family. BDS Trec has been around, for some might say, donkeys years, but the only place in the UK where you can compete using standardised rules is in Wales. Put forward as a proposal at the AGM in 2008, BDS Wales took on the challenge of making sure that all of its’ Area Trecs were judged by the same guidelines and to the same standard. It took a year to formalise and put into practise and even now is constantly reviewed to try to improve and challenge its competitors.
So what should a prospective competitor expect? The competition includes the following phases: Presentation, Marathon, Cones and Skills.
The Presentation section is geared towards rewarding the competitor for being neat and tidy and being prepared to go out on the road. We therefore expect to see a well maintained tidy carriage, well maintained practical harness for a day out driving, high visibility gear, first aid kits (for just in case) and a practical spares kit. Then comes the hard part, making sure you put to correctly while being watched!
The Marathon section is a drive through the beautiful Welsh countryside which may include a walk section and this is timed. The aim is to drive your horse at a working trot and to ‘hit’ an optimum time for that given distance. Penalties are accumulated if you are too fast or too slow, but the size of your horse is taken into account for this.
The Cones section is a course which you are expected to drive at a trot. Breaks in pace are penalised and any tennis balls knocked off of the cones also gain penalties.
The Skills section is designed to test the partnership of horse, whip and groom. Past tasks have included the groom picking up the end of a rope which is tied to a central point that the turnout is able to walk around. The idea is that the whip should be able to drive their horse around in a circle so that the rope, which will naturally sag in the middle, does not drop and hit the floor. This always produces some chuckles as we all find out that actually we drive in egg shapes! Another task has been for the turnout to drive through a gate, stop with the back wheels in line with some cones, reverse back through the gate and stop, before trotting to another line and stopping there. That one is designed to test the horses’ obedience and willingness to listen to the whip. The best thing of all with this competition, is the guaranteed friendly atmosphere, whether a seasoned competitor or a complete newbie, you will be welcomed with open arms. Most competitors I know take their family as it is a fantastic opportunity for a lovely drive together and later on after the competition is ended, the organisers will usually allow the children to drive the skills section if their parents are happy to let them have a go.
In Wales we have spent time and effort developing the rules to structure the competition so that we can hold a Championship event. This event moves up and down the country so that all potential competitors have the opportunity to participate at a Championship near ‘their neck of the woods’. Each Welsh area holds a qualifying Trec event, from which the top three competitors whom have not already qualified are eligible to go to the Championships.
Although only Welsh members are eligible to qualify for the Championship, we welcome all BDS members at the events to compete. The best competitor wins regardless of Welsh, English etc. Also at the Championship, although only Welsh members can qualify and compete, we still welcome all BDS members to join in after the Championship event is safely on its way. Why not stay and make a weekend of it.
The 2017 Championship event is being held in South Wales and is kindly being hosted by S.E.Wales and Pat Dutson. The provisional date for your diary is September 17th.
For qualifying rounds, please look at the BDS Magazine for local area dates or the events section of this website.