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The first few weeks of the hunting season have proved trying for huntsmen at three packs due to injury.

Oakley huntsman Duncan Cinnamond broke his hand at the opening meet on 6 November. He won’t be back much before Boxing Day.

“I’ve never injured myself this early before,” he said.

Whipper-in Simon Grimble is now hunting the Oakley.

Readyfield Bloodhounds new huntsman Bruce Langley McKim will have two weeks off after breaking his collarbone during hound exercise.

And kennel-huntsman Tony Holdsworth has taken over hunting the Duke of Beaufort’s after joint-master Captain Ian Farquhar pulled a muscle.

“He hasn’t had a fall, he’s just done a bit of damage riding,” said a Beaufort spokesman.

Capt Farquhar is due to retire as huntsman at the end of the season but continue as joint-master.

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 25 November ’10