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Hunting and point-to-pointing have always gone hand-in-hand, and it was a sad day when it was announced that pointers no longer need to hunt to qualify for racing.

I have fond but shaky memories of the days when you had to hunt eight times and stay out until second horses before you were signed off by the master.

My first pointer was Money From America, a 12-year-old schoolmaster who “hunts like a demon”, or so I was told. He arrived fresh from Ireland on the Saturday, and I took him hunting two days later.

He took one look at the hounds with eyes on stalks, spun on his hocks and bolted half a mile back to the box. We persevered and he hunted three
times a week until he was qualified.

Because we now have pointing in November, it is almost impossible to hunt four times before getting a hunters’ certificate. I would say that latterly, 75% of the pointers don’t hunt at all, so it was a decision that had to be made for the sake of the sport’s integrity.

However, owners still have to pay a subscription, so there is nothing to stop pointers going hunting. It freshens them up, teaches them how to jump out of different ground and gets them used to having other horses around them. It also gives them another job when they retire.

Ref Horse & Hound; 19 January 2017