Ridden TREC – S-Bend Ridden

Note – Obstacle Flagged To Be Ridden In 2 Directions – Colors reversed on other side.
© Kim Stoddard


An S-shaped corridor marked with raised bars balanced on upright holders, with flags indicating entrance and exit. The S Bend is composed of (2) 4m outside bars, (2) 2.20 m end bars, (2) 1.80 m inside bars, 4 corner uprights, and 4 end uprights. Dimensions are the same for all Levels.

– Overall Width: 2.7 m
– Interior Corridor Width: .90 m
– Overall Length: 4 m
– Height: Around .2 to .3 m (8-10”)


To ride the horse through the S-bend in a fluid forward motion without knocking down the poles.

To be performed at a walk.

Scoring This Obstacle

See also: Ridden Obstacles / Scoring

Effectiveness Faults (E Score) -3 per incident

BEFORE the obstacle:

– Running Out
– Error of Course Corrected
– Stepping Back
– Refusal
– Circling

IN the obstacle:

– Break of Gait
– Knocking off bars

Each section (or part thereof) knocked down by horse = 1 fault

Style Faults (S Score) -1 per incident.

– Irregular Forward Motion
– Incorrect Rider Position, Not Over the Stirrups and Light
– Loss of Balance of the Horse or the Rider
– Incorrect Rider Aids
– Horse Moving Sideways
– Rider Not Looking Forward
– Rider Interfering With Horse’s Balance

Penalties (P Score)

– Brutality (-5)
– Dangerous Riding (-5)
– Fall of Horse or Rider (Rider Excused)
– Leaving The Obstacle (-10)
– Any gait other than walk X (No Score)

Get The Score!

Rate these performances to test your knowledge of TREC Rules and Scoring.

Ridden TREC Obstacles / Scoring

Images © TREC Ireland, K. Stoddard

– Scroll to the bottom of the page for Judge’s Scorecard –

Obstacle Building Tips:

Mini Clinic – Tips For Success

S-Bend Ridden


A good warm-up exercise (outside of the obstacle) is to practice a series of switch back turns without losing the forward momentum. This is not a stop and pivot exercise!  Example: Walk 10 steps, reverse direction to the right, walk 10 steps, reverse direction to the left. Practice using an opening rein to lead the horse’s nose, and opposite leg to achieve the turn. Use your eyes! Turning your head and upper body in the direction of the turn (in this case – looking behind you) will shift your weight to the outside and help to cue the horse to the quick change of direction. 

Obstacle Introduction:

See S-Bend In Hand.


The key to this obstacle is timing, and maintaining forward momentum. Ask for the turn as your shoulder reaches the end of the inside bar, using the techniques described in the warm-up exercise. Make sure to ride deep enough into the turn for the horse’s hind legs to clear the short rail, and to achieve a moment of straightness before starting the second turn. Do not allow the horse to stall out in the corners. Leg, Leg, Leg!

As always, be aware of where your next obstacle is and plan accordingly. If schooling, pick a spot to ride to vs. stopping the moment you complete the task.

Trouble Shooting: 

If you are having issues – be patient. Work on the practice exercise, and S-Bend In Hand. 

It can also be helpful to start with ½ of the S bend at a time to get the horse used to turning within the rails. Once the horse executes the obstacle correctly, offer big praise and pause a moment to let them process their achievement.

Ridden TREC Obstacle Gallery

Next: Mount













A. E Score: 7 / S Score: 0 Irregular Motion / Total: 7

B. E Score: 1 (2 rails down) / S Score: 0 / Total: 1

C. E Score: 4 Circling / S Score: 0 / Total: 4*

D. E Score: 7 / S Score: 3 / Total: 10

*Rider C – Judge could also add 2nd fault for error of course corrected.