Jacqueline Coward: point-to-point falls and why mixed opens aren’t fair [H&H VIP]

  • I’m on my way to a hospital to get my hip checked out after falling on it a few weeks ago. The bruise is a corker and everyone has taken photos of it.

    Falling is part and parcel of the job and anyone who decides to take up race-riding has to accept that they will inevitably take a tumble every now and then.

    I’ve had my fair share in more recent weeks, which has been even more painful because the ground is so hard. Have you ever tried getting grass stains out of white breeches? It’s not easy!

    You do learn to fall safely the more you do it. Rolling into a ball and keeping your arms and legs tucked in are key. I also try to get out of the way as soon as possible and you’ll often see me jump up and leg it to the side of the track once it’s safe to do so.

    This is so that I’m out of the way of other horses and it also shows my family and the course organisers watching that I’m OK.

    A few things need reassessing before next season. I’m wondering whether it would be worth lowering the weight of the mixed open races to 11st 7lb to encourage more entries from ladies’ horses. You never see a top ladies’ open horse running in mixed open races because they don’t want to carry the extra weight.

    The ladies always have to match the men, but the men never match the ladies, even though the men do low weights in maidens.

    Hunts should be considering the dates of their meetings. Just because they have always held their meeting on a certain date doesn’t mean they should never change it. There have not been that many runners down south in the past few weeks, compared with Yorkshire and the north, where there seem to be plenty.

    So do we need better race planning throughout the country? Surely it doesn’t help the sponsors when there are only a couple of runners in their races?