As if taking a fall out hunting wasn’t shaming enough — there’s the prospect of having your misfortune enshrined in your hunt’s tumblers’ club. Cue the embarrassed emoticon.
Across the country armies of eagle-eyed spotters are on hand to take note when you make an unintentional dismount — whether it was your fault or a regrettable act of God.
At the Belvoir, over 18s have to pay £10 if they were unseated or £5 if their horse falls. And at the end of season supper, the much-coveted Belvoir Tumbler of the Year is announced. What an honour!
The Tanatside makes sure there’s no ambiguity when it comes to what happened on that fateful day, with each incident efficiently recorded — whether it was a “disagreement with a tree on landing” or the rider was “caught off-guard by a sudden change of direction, air bag went off in a puff of smoke”.
The Cottesmore‘s tumblers’ club is “dedicated to exposing the shameful errors made by those that should know better” — and certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
“If you expect to be comatose for any length of time please have your wallet ready beforehand,” reads its website. “Feigning unconsciousness to avoid payment will not fool our experienced spotters; you have been warned.”
But while you’re nursing your bruises, soaking your mud-stained breeches and patching up your pride, you can rest in the knowledge that your fine has gone to a good cause — with the indispensable air ambulance often benefiting.
With the end of the season looming, there’s not too much longer to hold on tight…
We take a look at some of this season’s more spectacular tumbles:
Note: Horse & Hound understands that no horses or riders pictured were seriously hurt in these falls