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Point-to-Point races provide a show of skill and love

A centuries-old tradition came alive amid the rolling hills of Bear Creek Farm near Moreland recently. And in the second running of the Bear Creek Hounds Point-to-Point Races it is likely that a new tradition had emerged. And through it all, the day was immersed in the love and admiration of the riders for their horses.

“Point-to-Point” is a form of amateur racing for horses used in fox hunting. And on March 27 a total 83 horses were on hand for riders to participate in junior and senior races such as the Foxhunter’s Flat Race, Draft Dash, the Foxhunter’s Field Master’s Chase and the Foxhunter’s Relay.

Also included in the day’s event was a parade of the Bear Creek Hounds and a Tailgate Competition. In all, several hundred turned out for the festivities that were held at Bear Creek Farms, owned by Hal and Linda Barry.

“Our second annual point-to-point races featured excitement and fun for everyone. Riders compete in unusual events like relay races that show off their skills. There’s even a race just for draft horses,” said Race Committee Chair Mary Margarett Nevin. “Our point-to-point is a benefit for the Joan Hope Latiolais Fund for the Shepherd Center Foundation. The Shepherd Center has long been a friend to equestrians. Bear Creek member Joan Hope Latiolais needed its caring services after a fall in 2008, and our hunt members are avid supporters of the hospital.”

In all, the crisp, sun-filled day was idyllic as horses and riders showed their mastery in the racing events and spectators soaked up the scenic beauty of the 1,500-acre farm grounds while absorbing the thrill, even the inspiration, that comes from watching a horse and rider course over the countryside.

Point-to-point racing began in Ireland 250 years ago when two riders dared each other to race to a church steeple in the distance, jumping fences, ditches and other obstacles on their way to the “point.”

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