Dot Still, a long time member of Peebles & District Riding Club (PDRC) has just competed in the TREC World Championships. She chatted with PDRC treasurer Sandra Lamb about her amazing achievement.
Sandra: Were there horses in your family?
Dot: No, I just remember watching rides from the local stables go past our house on Saturday mornings and thinking, I want to do that.
I know that you have previously competed in various equestrian disciplines but what started your interest in TREC?
I had little time for competition as I was working hard converting the farm into a livery and competition yard. Four years ago, one of my liveries asked if she could organise some TREC Training on the yard. I took part in this training and that was me hooked!
You had to go to Portugal several times for training and possible selection. Is this where you made the bond with Bubalou, the horse you rode in the champs?
Not really! The long-listed riders had to ride all the horses and the selectors decided who should ride which horse based on what they saw. I only rode Bubalou once in November and again in March. The final British team and individuals went out to Portugal two weeks before the World Championships and I rode Bubalou three times in those two weeks.
So she was an experienced TREC horse then?
(Dot laughs) No, she was a six year old Lusitano cross, a riding school horse who had never hacked out herself, and she had jumped only a few cross poles.
Wow! So how high were you expected to jump in the TREC competition and what distance was the orienteering part?
The jumps were 1m10 and the orienteering course was 40 to 45km, undertaken in unbelievable heat.
How many nations took place in the World Championships and did you all ride a hired horse?
Fourteen nations took part in the competition; Canada, America and Great Britain competing on hired horses. The cost of travelling our horse over to Portugal made it impossible for us to even consider.
It seems to me that you were at an extreme disadvantage, so how did Team GB fare?
Two of the team of four were unfortunately vetted out so the other two became individuals. Bubalou and I were 39th overall and we were the top scoring GB team member.
So Dot, when did you last do any mucking out?
This morning! I have done the whole yard.
What piece of kit could you not do without?
What are your hopes for Arthur, your connemara?
He has done amazingly well so far and I aim to keep improving our skills and compete in the British Championships in Wales next year, so who knows? I might be the next British Champion.
I hear that one of your twin boys, Jamie is also very keen on TREC.
Yes, Jamie is very good at TREC. I will have to keep an eye on him as he beat me earlier on this year in his first competition.
Dot will be running TREC competitions and training at Hyndshawlands, starting in October. So, If you have been inspired by this interview, why not have a go?