The winner and commendations in the Countryside Alliance Hunt Tumblers’ Club competition for the 2016-17 season, sponsored by Pol Roger, have been announced, with North Yorkshire’s Hurworth Hunt taking the dubious top honours.
Out of hundreds of photos sent in from hunts across the UK and Ireland, photographer Amy Fair’s sequence of South Durham Hunt Chairman Barry Johnson and his horse, Carlo, falling with the Hurworth Hunt, was judged to be the top tumble of the 2016-17 season.
Photographer Amy Fair said: “I’ve been the Hurworth Hunt’s official photographer for the past 7 seasons and photo sales from Hurworth Photography are an excellent way to raise funds for the hunt. The sequence of images were taken on a Saturday that’s renowned for lots of jumping action and is always a popular day for visitors. I was in the middle of the country photographing the hedge jumping action and nearly missed Barry and Carlo’s spectacular tumble. Intently focused on the main field tackling a particularly inviting hedge, I heard a commotion and colourful language over my shoulder. I swung around just in time to capture Barry and Carlo flying through the air in this uniquely artistic combination. Fortunately, both horse and jockey were fine after their tumble and only winded from the experience.
Top Tumbler Barry Johnson said: “It’s amazing that having an accident still blights my life! In a former life I was National Rally champion and broke my back crashing while travelling at 136 MPH competing in the Jim Clark rally. Then I had a rotational fall from the same horse 3 years ago – I was very lucky here! So with that background, this latest “off” was any easy one. I rode as a child and only came back to horses after my rallying career ended, which must be something to do with adrenalin. I event on a regular basis and look forward to competing at Intermediate level this year having qualified both horses. The set of rails where I had my tumble were “nothing to worry about”, however a horse jumped across in front of us and I think my horse, Carlo, was looking at them. No harm came to Carlo although we were both winded. When we got going again I thought I would pop another hedge just to make sure he was OK and when we landed that’s when I realised I had broken some ribs (I broke my ribs due to my mobile phone being in my pocket). I retired there and then – this was a Saturday but I was out hunting with the Zetland on the Monday, albeit on pain killers. Six weeks later I finally got a good night’s sleep.”
The competition was judged by Business Development Director Paul Graham of Pol Roger UK, Alexandra Henton from The Field magazine, three-day eventer and keen hunting supporter Harry Meade, and Polly Portwin, head of the Countryside Alliance’s hunting campaign.
Paul Graham said: “Champagne Pol Roger is delighted to be supporting the annual Hunt Tumblers’ Club, those participating truly share the Churchillian adage ‘In defeat I Need it, In Victory I deserve it’. We would hope our Champagne helps in some way to soothe the pride of those taking the tumble.”
Polly Portwin of the Countryside Alliance’s hunting campaign said: “The winning image captures a classic hunting fall of which many will have had similar experiences. Such an innocuous-looking fence can be the downfall of even the most experienced horse and rider combinations and the impact here clearly catapulted Barry out of the saddle resulting in a very dramatic-looking fall. We are delighted that all of our tumblers – both equine and human – were safe after these falls and look forward to launching the series again for 2017-18 in association with Pol Roger.”
Highly Commended tumblers:
A sequence of Dave White “hedge surfing” and then falling while out with the Kimblewick and caught on camera by Greg Knight of Rural Shots Photography
A sequence of Jordan Jeffrey falling while out with the Cheshire Drag and captured by Al Johnston of Al Johnston Photography.
The top tumbler and photographer win a magnum of Pol Roger and a crystal tankard. The Highly Commended tumblers and photographers will each receive a bottle of Pol Roger.