A spate of hunting falls in the past few weeks seem to have been aggravated by hard ground.

At the Warwickshire, there have been several trips to A&E of late – from broken wrists to dislocated shoulders and broken collarbones. Huntsman William Deakin dislocated his shoulder and was off for 10 days.

“We have had quite a few injuries, but it hasn’t dented people’s spirits – they’re still coming out,” said Warwickshire joint-master Sam Butler.

I don’t think the falls can be blamed on the hard ground, but they may well have been made worse by it. If you hit the floor, there’s no soft, muddy landing.

“The ground is still quite hard now – we haven’t had much rain and the Warwickshire clay doesn’t have much give.”

Both Beaufort whippers-in have been sidelined recently – one with a broken collarbone and the other with a broken leg. But huntsman Tony Holdsworth told H&H they were “just unlucky”.

And the Fitzwilliam huntsman was off games for a couple of weeks after bruising his ribs when he fell from his horse in a sugar beet field.

“It’s always hard to land on that, but I have certainly heard of quite a few falls and accidents lately,” said joint-master George Bowyer.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (1 December 2011)