You don’t need a lot of equipment to be able to practice some of your obstacle skills at home.

With just four poles set out 90cm apart you can practise seven different obstacles ridden & in hand:

trec homework

When the above exercises are easy, play with setting out the poles at 45 degrees in a corner of the school to practice your angled corridor approaches.

If you’d like some feedback on the four pole challenge & other mini courses you can build with cones, wings & poles, look here for details of how you can film it & send it to Evie.


How many shallow loops can you fit in down the long side of the school without breaking pace?

You don’t need to come in very far off the track at all, but definitely no more than 4m. If you can fit in 3 balanced shallow loops in a 40m long side, you will be able to do the bending with 6 poles set 6m apart. Fit in 4 shallow loops to be able to do it set 5m apart. Make sure you practice it on both reins to be sure that your horse is equally supple and not relying on the fence on one side.

Doing this without the bending poles means you aren’t going to crash into them if it goes wrong, especially if you are trying canter. If you can only fit in one or two loops for now, keep practising until that’s easy before going for more.

bending diagram

No time/energy to get any poles out?Try some ‘TREC-age’ to mix things up and improve your accuracy – try each imaginary obstacle individually before putting a few together.

For example, course builders like to test your control with transitions – try a centre line that incorporates a canter ‘corridor’ at D then an immobility or rein back at G.
Gait obstacles
– Corridor – centre line from A, ride D-X in W/T/C
– Bending – 3 or 4 shallow loops down the long side in W/T/C
– Double U Alley – half a four loop serpentine in W/T/C
– Shamrock – centre line from C, at X ride a teardrop right XFAKX, then at X 10m circle left, then at X 10m circle right
– Figure of eight – in W/T/C at B turn to X & go one handed, from X ride a figure of eight via K A F X H C M, at X turn to E & pick up reins
– Low branches – at K pick up W/T/C & before A duck under imaginary branches for 5 metres
Style obstacles
– Rein back – halt at a marker & rein back for at least 6 steps
– Neck rein – A down centre line, at D take one hand off the reins, X circle 10m to B, then X circle 10m to E, G take reins back
– S-bend on left rein at M ride into the corner, turn 180deg left then walk a stride before turning 180deg right back to the track
– Mount from block – line your horse up at the mounting block and get on within 15 seconds, they must not swing away when positioning or move any feet until you have your second foot in the stirrup.
– Gate – if your arena gate is safe to do on horseback, see if you can do it without letting go.
Time obstacles
– Ridden immobility – stand at a marker with no rein contact for 10s
– Immobility – get off (secure reins), park your horse at a marker and within 10s go stand 5m away, wait for 10s

There’s a full test pattern with floor plan here that you can work towards & if you want feedback from Evie you can film it and send it in.

Hacking out

Make the most of your hacks by identifying what could be used as an obstacle and riding with the intention of scoring well if it was a competition, rather than leaving it up to your horse to choose the pace & route.

Sooti bankIf you have slopes, banks or dips to ride up and down, make sure that the path you take is straight, and that your horse stays in the same pace the whole way through.

If you have to duck to ride under low branches, make sure your horse doesn’t decide to speed up or slow down when you lean forward.

Test your ridden immobility by asking your horse to halt and releasing the contact. If your horse can’t manage the full ten seconds initially, just praise the halt and ask them to walk on after a couple of seconds. Gradually increase the length of time you ask your horse to stand for, gently correcting them back to stand if you haven’t asked them to walk on yet. Once you can do a 10 second halt reliably, try pulling up from canter and doing it!

Sooti gate

Get off and back on in different places & from different ‘mounting blocks’ – your horse should be happy to stand still next to a boulder or tree stump, or on a lower bit of ground.

If you have safe, horse-friendly gates, avoid the temptation to let them self-close – for TREC you will need to open and close them without letting go if you want to score maximum points. Read all about how to train for gates here.

1 Response to Homework

  1. Liane Williams says:

    Hi Evie, Loved the course today. Thank you so much!! Mr Budd and Liane x

    Liked by 1 person

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