2016 TREC World Championships

Segovia, Spain September 1-3 / 2016

By Kim Stoddard

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our TREC Training events throughout the year – instructors, event organizers, riders, facility owners, and volunteers!

Team TREC-USA From left: Angela Moore, Celia Spillman, Paula Nelson, Lauren Spillmann, Mary Harcourt, Stephanie Church.
© Kim Stoddard

The World Championships of TREC took place from September 1 to 3 at the Centro Ecuestre de Castilla y León in Segovia, Spain. 110 competitors from 14 nations participated in these Championships, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, United States, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Switzerland. The United States was represented by 5 riders: Stephanie Church (KY), Mary Harcourt (NC), Angela Moore (NC), Paula Nelson (NC), and Lauren Spillmann (NC). Other Team TREC-USA members who participated in the event included Chef d’Equipe Kim Stoddard (NC), International Judges Lee Ann Bunn (VA), and Tim Thomas (NC), and Celia Spillmann (NC), who provided invaluable support to the entire team. Team

TREC-USA gives special thanks goes to Enrique Camiruaga and Rafael Sanchez of Hipica Eresma, who provided excellent horses, training facilities, and support prior to and during the competition.

Team TREC-USA riders: Paula Nelson on Ideale, Mary Harcourt, and Angela Moore with Cubana, prepare for the 2016 TREC World Championships at the Hipica Eresma, Segovia Spain.
Photos © K. Stoddard

The Spain adventure started one week prior to the event. Team members rented a large stone house (El Zaguan) in Cabanillas, a rural sheep herder’s station near Segovia, which offered them a home base close to the Hipica Eresma where they leased horses. The first days were spent getting acquainted with the horses, matching horses to riders, and getting familiar with the local terrain which was primarily rolling farmland skirted by wide areas of public land and trails (historically used for driving sheep). Segovia is flanked on the south by Montes de Valsaín on the northern slope of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Enrique Camiruaga (who leads extended guided trail rides as part of his business) provided great help in planning mapped training routes, and also provided equipment and use of materials for the team to build improvised TREC Obstacles on his cross-country course. Additionally, Rafael Sanchez was there everyday to translate, ride “sweep”, and assist with the horses as needed.

Team TREC-USA riders Lauren Spillmann on Kenya and Stephanie Church on Marinus, prepare for the 2016 TREC World Championships at the Hipica Eresma, Segovia Spain.
Photos © K. Stoddard

The following week the horses were moved to the competition site at the Centro Ecuestre de Castilla y León, an impressive equestrian facility that formerly housed the regional agricultural school. The team moved to the Puerta de Segovia hotel, which hosted teams from the various competing countries. The first day on site, teams registered, set up their gear, and acclimated the horses to the new environment. There was a meeting for the Chef d’ Equipes explaining the program for the event. The next day began with veterinary inspection of the horses and equipment, followed by the official course walk for Chef d’ Equipes and Judges, open course walk for the riders, and the Judges meeting. That evening 2 riders representing each team rode into the town of Segovia where they met with other team members for a parade though the main streets, and for the Opening Ceremony which was held in front of the Roman Aqueduct in the town center. Afterwards all returned to prepare for the competition starting the following day.

2016 TREC World Championships Opening Ceremony.
From left: Team TREC-USA participants Mary Harcourt, Paula Nelson on Ideale, Rafael Sanchez (Hipica Eresma), Stephanie Church on Marinus, Lauren Spillman, Celia Spillmann, and (partially hidden by flag) Lee-Ann Bunn, and Angela Moore. Segovia, Spain.

Photos © K Stoddard

Day 1 of the competition was the Mounted Orienteering Phase (POR), which was a 40-45 km mapped route to be ridden at set speeds with the use of watch, map and compass (GPS not permitted!). That morning rider’s reported to the official map room at a specific time and had 20 minutes to record the route onto their topographic map (provided). It was a challenging one-way course that started at Segovia and followed a winding route that ended at the town of Valsain in the foothills of the mountains. The route included varied terrain, numerous control checkpoints, vet checks, coordinate and azimuth skills tests, and many opportunities to lose the trail. Fortunately all Team TREC-USA riders made it to the finish (before dark) and passed the final vet check!

2016 TREC World Championships: Mounted Orienteering Phase (POR). From left Team TREC-USA participants Marinus Van Der Lubre (ridden by Stephanie Church), Mary Harcourt on Mirlot, and Angela Moore with Cubana.
Photos: S. Church and K. Stoddard.

Day 2 of the competition began with an additional morning vet check followed by the Control of Paces Phase (COP or MA), and the Trail Obstacle Course (PTV). The COP was held in the main outdoor arena on a curved 150 meter by 2 meter track. The COP is a timed exercise designed to show obedience and control.

First, riders canter as slowly as possible along the track with out breaking gait or stepping outside of the marked corridor, then return walking as quickly as possible.

It is a simple exercise that is difficult to master, especially with the distraction of trackside judges, loudspeakers, and grandstands.

2016 TREC World Championships. Control of Paces (COP or MA).
From left, Team TREC-USA rider Lauren Spillmann on Kenya, and International Judge Lee-Ann Bunn (USA).
Photo © Kim Stoddard.

The Trail Obstacle Course (PTV), notably one of the most exciting phases of TREC competitions for spectators, was held on the CECYL cross-country course.

It consisted of 16 obstacles, including natural logs, ditches, and combinations that might be found on a typical cross-country course, as well as many TREC specific obstacles including the rein back, S-bend, mount, one handed figure eight, bridge, low branches, immobility, and slalom. Obstacles are judged for completion and accuracy. While not a race, time penalties may be accrued for exceeding the course time limit.

2016 TREC World Championships. Cross Country Trail Obstacle Course (PTV).
Team TREC-USA Riders Angela Moore on Cubana, Paula Nelson on Ideale, and Stephanie Church with Marinus.

Outside Photos © K. Stoddard
Center image posted by the Federación Hípica de Castilla y León.

Early in the evening all participated in the closing ceremony also held in the main arena. Team TREC-USA entered the arena to the theme song from the Magnificent Seven to the great delight of the crowd.

Competition results:

  • Young Riders Category (44 riders)
  • Teams: 1st Italy, 2nd Spain, 3rd France.
  • Individuals: 1st Chloé Guyon (FR), 2nd Luca Fabbri (IT), 3rd Jonathan Rambaldi (IT).
  • Seniors Category (66 riders):
  • Teams: 1st France, 2nd Spain, 3rd Switzerland.
  • Individuals: 1st Pau Dorca Petit (SP), 2nd Lisbeth Lumpp (FR), 3rd Amanti Muller (FR).

Later that night the event informally concluded with a party where teams traditionally exchange gifts featuring products from their home countries. Thanks to generous donations, the Team TREC-USA gifts included totes donated by The Horse.com, Kentucky bourbon donated by Buffalo Trace, Hats, T-shirts, and other items donated by NASCAR, handmade para-cord key chains, and American flag bandanas, headlamps, and patches purchased with funds raised by Team TREC-USA.

Team TREC-USA at the 2016 TREC World Championshipsclosing ceremony. From left: Celia Spillmann, Mary Harcourt, Stephanie Church, Lauren Spillmann, Paula Nelson, Angela Moore.
Photo posted by the Federación Hípica de Castilla y León.

Team TREC-USA at the 2016 TREC World Championshipsclosing ceremony. From left: Celia Spillmann, Mary Harcourt, Stephanie Church, Lauren Spillmann, Paula Nelson, Angela Moore. Photo posted by the Federación Hípica de Castilla y León.

Many thanks to all who supported the team effort throughout the year, and a big congratulations to Team TREC-USA!


For additional pictures of this event please visit:


Federación Hípica de Castilla y León: https://www.facebook.com/321961054590822/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1008723072581280

Links to places mentioned in this article:

Hipica Eresma Website: http://hipicaeresma.es/general

For information about equestrian tours offered in the Segovia Area:


Segovia Tourism Board / Hipica Eresma: http://www.segoviaunbuenplan.com/segovia-capital/qu%C3%A9-hacer/hipica-eresma/

Centro Ecuestre de Castilla y León: http://www.centroecuestrecyl.es/

El Zaguan de Cabanillas: http://www.elzaguancabanillas.com/videos.html