Jacqueline Coward: the importance of hunting [H&H VIP]

  • I adore my hunting and go twice a week without fail until Christmas. I find it invaluable for getting the young point-to-pointers going.

    I took on a 5-year-old called The Honourable Howard, who is a bit of a fruitcake and hunting has been the absolute making of him. It was a bit scary the first time I took him, but he got better and better and he’s now one of my best hunters. I can’t wait to enter him in his first maiden this season.

    Hunting not only gets the horses fit, but it’s a great way of finding out what going they like, too.

    Although the weather has been kind to us and it’s still very dry here, I do wonder whether the horses are as fit as they were this time last year because they haven’t had to contend with deep going. Luckily, we have the hills to build them up.

    My poor sister Sam — aka Linchpin — has had a bad back for a while and, when she finally went for an MRI scan, it showed that she has a slipped disc, which is pressing on a nerve.

    She’s waiting for an operation and has to take it easy, so we’re a man down and feeling it!

    Sam rides three or four a day, clips and does all the office work and entries — a lot more than I really appreciated. Here’s hoping she makes a swift recovery.

    Getting into the groove this time of year can be hard, but I’ve found AP McCoy a real inspiration. What he has achieved in riding over 4,000 winners is amazing. What inspires me most about him is the falls he takes and how he just gets up and carries on. He must be made of iron and, to my mind, definitely deserved to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year.