We’ve all been there — one minute you’re enjoying the cross-country round of your life and the next you experience that sinking feeling as you realise gravity is about to take over and, inevitably, you and the ground are going to become thoroughly acquainted.
Yes, it’s that moment every rider dreads — the point of no return. We bring you 15 classic moments, all of whom we’re pleased to say could see the funny side…
1. Barry tries his Best
The HSBC Maltings proved the undoing of Rosie Thomas and Barry’s Best at Burghley in 2010. The chestnut is doing his utmost to keep himself out of trouble but the sideways exit for Rosie is now inevitable.
2. Look, no hands!
National Hunt jockey Richard Johnson tries every balancing act in the book but, when Swnymor hits the deck at the final hurdle at Chepstow, the mud beckons.
3. Bring on the wall
When Kool Kaiser declines to jump the famous wall at Great Yorkshire Show, he and Joe Whitaker send the bricks flying. The astonished expression on both horse and rider says it all.
4. The starfish
Eventer Joe Meyer (Black Andy) adopts the starfish position before making a splash at Burghley in 2008. Waterwings are unfortunately not provided.
5. See ya!
One competitor at Mid Herts Show is shown the side exit by his overexuberant mount. The only way is down.
6. Feet first
If you manage to time it just right, it is possible to land elegantly on your feet. Much easier said than done, however.
7. Too late to hail a cab
Nice try, Ruby Walsh, but the Cheltenham turf beckons when Twist Magic crumples on landing at the Festival.
8. A trip to the dry cleaners
Jade Hunter takes a spill while hunting with the Tynedale. We all know what’s coming next — mud bath anyone?
9. The swan landing
The showjumpers usually leave the dunkings to the event riders, but at Aachen in 2013, Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet and Desteny Van Het Dennehof make a splash landing, skimming through the water jump before grinding to a halt.
10. If I can just hold on a bit longer…
James Robinson (Comanche) defies gravity for as long as possible, but doesn’t escape an early bath.
11. Don’t worry, I can wait
Blow The Budget stands patiently as young jockey Antonia Platt wriggles back in to the saddle at HOYS. A great recovery!
12. The stuntman’s exit
Point-to-point rider Alex Edwards could audition for the next Bond film after this dramatic dismount off Chief Heckler at the Cambridge University Hunt Club meeting.
13. Going head first
Sometimes the horse will help you out in these kind of situations, but we all know that when his head goes down, that neck becomes a slippery slide to terra firma.
14. It happen to the best of them…
Even Andrew Nicholson can’t avoid a spectacular splash landing every now and then and the New Zealand rider’s turn comes in Luhmuhlen in 2013.
15. The ultimate sinking feeling…
The worst possible place for your horse to take proceedings into his own hands is at the top of the 10ft 6in Hickstead Derby Bank. Germany’s Axel Wockener clings on vainly in 1976, but his horse Glasgow’s decision to tackle the obstacle backwards was never going to end prettily.