I would love to write this blog telling you what a fantastic month I have had out and about with Bradley but unfortunately life has taken over again. TREC GB is now into its 3rd year of being the governing body for the sport of TREC in the UK. It is run by an elected board consisting of members from different areas in the country. There are also several working groups that are made up of both board members and TREC GB members.
The job of these groups is to concentrate on different areas of the sport and take the decisions they make back to the board for approval or tweaking. I personally think that the format that has been put in place is running very well. I am on two of the working groups. One being the International riders, which coordinates competitors aiming to represent their country at the World and European Championships. The second group I am part of is the Training group which coordinates writing and delivering training for Technical delegates, Traceurs (the people who plan the POR routes), training of the people who judge the judges as well as other responsibilities to organisers and arranging international judges training.
So why the insight into how TREC GB works? Part of the reason I have not got out anywhere with B is because I have been committed to other things. I was asked to travel up to Carnforth in Lancashire a few Saturdays ago to present the Traceur training to an interested group of members. I had already researched the outdoor session required when on my way back from the Lakes in December. It was a 125 mile trip each way which meant a very early start. The day went well and the training was well received with some very positive feedback from the attendees. They will now hopefully have the confidence to set competition routes with the necessary levels of complexity required for the different levels in the sport.
The Sunday saw B getting a second day off. A chance conversation with our new neighbours made me aware that they had decided that a French oak kitchen was not what they wanted in their new house, worse still they intended to break it up and skip it. Absolute sacrilege! The kitchen, I knew, was of a very good quality as it was my father’s house and he lived alone for the past 18 years. I suggested that they " skip it our way" in return for us allowing them access into the field to replace their house windows! So on the Sunday I spent the whole day cleaning the cupboard units and doors and formulating a plan of how it would all fit into our house! I have a cousin who is a joiner so Martin and I decided that as the kitchen had cost us nothing we would get it fitted professionally, replace the handles, paint it a different colour and put wood worktops in.
Had I known how much work was involved with prepping said worktops maybe I would have thought of something else, three oiling’s before they could be fitted – they had to be inside, they are three meters long and required doing both sides. Not like I don’t have anything else to do! Martin and I also needed to remove the old kitchen and tiles and prep everything ready for fitting. I have to say it’s been a hard slog over the last month. The cupboards needed two coats of primer and two top coats, the doors and drawer fronts had the same treatment and took two weekends and every night to do and you can only do one side at a time! Anyway, one month later the kitchen is in, the tiling has nearly been finished and the house is returning to normal. It’s not completely finished but it is at the stage where my OCD will allow me to move on from it. Martin’s sister did make the comment that once the kitchen was installed I would be able to take my time painting the doors at my leisure. My sister in law clearly does not know me at all!
In the midst of all this I also travelled to Wales the Sunday after the Traceur training to attend the International judges training, This was of interest to me for two reasons, first to give more of an insight into what the judges are looking for when we compete abroad and secondly because B is not getting any younger and at this time I cannot see a way that I will have the time to bring another horse to his level and expertise. At least I can still travel abroad and have an active part if I can judge! The training was very informative and it was great to see fellow Treccies that I have been out of touch with since the end of last season and I did learn from it. There were several things in the training that made the penny drop as to why things had been done the way they had when I competed abroad! Slowly we learn. I was very glad that I had taken time out from doing the kitchen to attend.
I have had James the horse dentist here for his once a year titivation of the horses’ teeth. He is a lovely guy and I have used him for about 25 years. Polly saw him walk down the track to the stables and buggered off into the winter paddock taking the other two with her. Don’t you just love them!
So finally, last weekend, I managed to find some me and B time! I was desperate to get out and up to Cannock Chase which is only an hour away to do some compass work. Despite my best efforts to keep training over the winter, the compass bit has just not happened. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do! I really need to retire! I had planned to go on Saturday until I found out that there was an Endurance competition on. They had very kindly put a map on line and had got several course lengths you could enter. B is really not built to be an endurance horse so we decided to delay our day out until Sunday. We did however take advantage of the maps! The advantage of riding the day after a race is that most of the route is marked with ribbons and makes for excellent training. I copied the map over into our usual format and then followed the route. The markers can be used for checking that you are on course!
B, however, was anything but cooperative. To start with, he constantly tried to turn around and was very unwilling to go forward. Suddenly though, it was like someone had switched on a switch and he started to enjoy himself. It was a lovely couple of hours and made a welcome change. So the reason I needed to remember how to read a map and compass again, is that Lynne Mabbitt and I fly out to Spain on Thursday afternoon, to compete in a European Cup in Riocaballo on borrowed horses! Hopefully, my brain will be back in Trec gear by then!