Broken ribs, a fractured ankle and a head injury. Here are 10 eye-catching hunters who got the nod from the judges in the show ring this month, several riders having overcome the odds to get there
1. Dark Waters Déjà vu
This chestnut ridden by Zara Owen won back-to-back small hunter classes at North of England (14-16 April) and then Kelsall Hill Showing Festival (23-24 April) for owner Dawn Trimarco.
2. Master Bandsman
Despite riding with two broken ribs, Cerys Ford partnered her home-produced gelding to two victories at Brook Farm (3 April), taking the middleweight and ridden amateur titles.
One week later the pair gave Oliver Hood and Potters Ace a run for their money in the hunter championship at the BSPS area 16 show (9 April), where Master Bandsman stood reserve.
Cerys was injured during a skiing holiday, where she placed herself between an out-of-control skier and her four-year-old twins.
3. Maverick Maybe
This middleweight collected the Royal International (RIHS) hunter title at NCPA Lancashire Spring Show (3 April). Maverick Maybe was piloted by Nicki Turner, who had only returned to riding three weeks earlier after breaking her ankle.
4. Aidensfield Rupert
This charming coloured stood top of the middleweight hunters at South of England Spring (5-6 April) and went on to secure the tricolour for Jayne Ross, who was back in the ring for the first time since being hospitalised with a head injury following a fall six weeks earlier.
This lovely grey was also a winner at South of England Spring, securing his first RIHS ticket after topping the heavyweight class with rider Nikki Randles for owner Danielle French.
This handsome chestnut was another who took his RIHS ticket at South of England Spring when topping the lightweight class for Katie Jerram.
Another bound for Hickstead in July is Boss, who topped the heavyweight class and claimed the amateur hunter title for Lucinda Martin at Kelsall Hill.
Lucinda spends all week in London studying interior design, so her Concorde 10-year-old is kept fit at home in Shropshire by her parents Geoff and Suzanne.
8. Finkle Street
This seven-year-old earned his RIHS amateur and open tickets at the Northern Spring Show, before standing amateur reserve champion to Boss at Kelsall Hill. He is owned and ridden by Jemma Ellison, who works in law.
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9. Pride Of Place
Robert Walker continues to dominate the northern hunter circuit, with myriad wins on different horses already. One of those was Pride Of Place, who stood champion at BSHA Northern Spring (10 April) after topping his open lightweight class.
10. Hart Beat
This upstanding small hunter took the amateur title at Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain’s annual show (2 April) for Motorsports event event manager Becky Patterson.