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The realisation that the new season is upon us hit me two weeks ago when Storm Barney blew through. I’d already taken the first phone call: “I have an unraced five-year-old for you to school… it’s never been off the farm” — but it was the arrival of “pointing weather” that did it.

The closed season for many involves turning towards other interests, but not for the key stakeholders running our sport.

A number of important race-planning changes, well publicised last season, have now been implemented. The intricacies associated with making rule changes caused a frustrating delay in the release of The Planner, but change is necessary to bolster the decline in numbers. So much time and effort has gone into the consultation, and therefore the Point-to-Point Authority (PPA), Race Planning Committee, Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Association, British Horseracing Authority etcetera should be applauded. Ultimately, if the changes prove unsuccessful, they can be reversed.

I attended the PPA press day in October, used to promote all things new in the sport and to give something back to the sponsors, without whom it could not function. Our sport is blessed with loyal supporters, who must be recognised for their input year round.

Fingers crossed for an enjoyable season. I hope that by the time you read this I will have recovered from my Black Forest Lodge exertions — I’ll definitely strip fitter for the blowout.

Read the first reports from the 2015/16 point-to-point season in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out today (3 December 2015).

Ref: Horse & Hound; 3 December 2015