Meet a Treccie - Polly Lloyd Owen
I have always loved Cowboy ﬁlms, Red River, Blazing Saddles, Big Jake, A Man Called Horse, The Lawman, Joe Kidd, I would watch these ﬁlms on the telly and a bomb could have gone off nothing could take me away from them. They were the magic that took me away from my 4 siblings and busy noisy family life in London. The feeling of being out on the trail, under the sky in all weathers, the relationship, trust and bond you have with your horse, the decisions you make effect every step, the care and nurture you put into your horse reﬂects its love and loyalty to you, its life and yours are combined. You have a great friend there and that is more important to me than anything materialistic.
The Outlaw Josey Wales, Little Big Man, Once upon a time in the West, Shane, From a very early age I remember pleading, nagging and begging my mother for a riding lesson, I had my ﬁrst session at a riding school in Witley at the age of 6 and remember being so disappointed with how uncomfortable the trot was. This was the beginning of my passion for horses. Wet Wood Rough in Dunsfold and Mrs Ure was my instructor, I had my ﬁrst canter on a lovely dun mare called Polly, who I loved, and learnt so much from. Mum took a big step and bought my ﬁrst pony a welsh mountain called Dumbo, we were inseparable Dumbo and I joined the Chiddingfold Pony Club, hunted with the Chidd, Lec and Cowdrey. From sunrise to sunset, we would disappear for hours riding on Black Down and in the Forestry Commission land around Shillinglee and Dunsfold, with just an apple and a coat. All weekend would be taken up with Dumbo, washing grooming riding feeding, poo picking and tack cleaning. I soon found a bunch of friends, who like me loved to ride miles and miles, amazing adventures we had, most were fantastic other times we had hard lessons to learn. In the summer we begged a cattle truck lorry driver to come and pick us up and take us to local shows, I spent all my pocket money on Paying the driver, hours and hours we spent with our ponies and I was in heaven.
The Appaloosa, Fist Full of Dollars The Virginian, Open Range, The Unforgiven, One two miss a few years. I’m in a Farm in Wales, with 2 small children, its 2001 I read something about Le TREC in France, a competitive sport for Trail Riders a prize for whoever rides to the venue from the furthest distance. Alarm bells ring and I can’t stop thinking about this, my imagination runs wild, the whole idea of riding out in all weathers on a horse with an apple and a coat. The childhood memories all come ﬂooding back, endless hours on horseback, the relationship between you and your horse, the bonding and love that was so key to my world when I was so young. Could this sport be for me? I do a load of research and ﬁnd out about TREC in the UK. Tove and David up in Scotland come up in my searches a British Team, Rob Jones, Bob Weatherly, so I take the bull by the horns ring up Tove Hay Thorburn and the Argyle Trekking Centre and book myself up on a training week with a competition at the weekend. I borrow a lorry from a good friend and take my appaloosa Sapphire, my faithful friend who carried me over so many miles in Wales, up to Scotland the longest journey I have ever done with her… my ﬁrst week away from my children and husband, what am I doing? I ask myself, I must be crazy.
Rawhide, Maverick, The Magniﬁcent Seven, Paint your Wagon, High Plains Drifter, David and Tove were the opening of my world of TREC, now it’s more than an apple and a coat, there’s a whole heap of stuff that needs to go in my saddle bags, snack bars, compass, ﬁrst aid, tool kit, torch, ﬂuorescence, hoof pick, whistle, pens stopwatch, phone and a map case which sticks to my left hand all day long. Competition what competition, I made it to Scotland, big conﬁdence boost, I rode my horse miles POR, learnt how to do obstacles PTV, schooled for the MA, to me there is no competitive element in TREC it’s about personal achievements. I want the open road, to see what’s out there to ride a lovely ride, to enjoy my horse and to accomplish what ever tasks are put in front of me; it’s all about working out a partnership.
Wyatt Earp, Last of the Mohicans, Dances with Wolves (a movie I only watched recently with my pal Helen Wain.) For nearly 15 years, I have be taking part in TREC and I am so grateful, to the sport it has saved my life, every time I’m at a competition I think, what a treat it is to ride out over so many different parts of the country, to have such an honest four legged friend a true companion that watches your back, a network of fabulous people who like me, love our horses, the open trail the sun on our backs the endless sky, the true combination of trust, loyalty, life and love of the open trail.