What to Wear: Hunting

Yay!! It's that time of year again! Hunting provides a hugely enjoyable day out for everyone ... hounds, horses, riders and on foot followers ... the lot! It is brilliant in that it can suit almost any type of rider - you can take it easy and avoid alot of the jumping and obstacles, you can attend a children's hunt for a fun and easy day out or you can even go drag hunting if you don't agree with the hunting of animals. But if this is going to be your first year taking the plunge and going hunting then I know all to well how daunting it can be (I come from a completely un-horsey family I had to learn things for myself!) One thing that I used to worry about was being in the correct attire and looking smart and presentable.


There are no proper, formal rules for what to wear when it comes to hunting ... although there are a few 'unwritten rules' which are generally followed and abided by. Don't worry too much if you can't get hold of the correct clothing, just aim to be as smart as you can while keeping warm! I learnt the hard way that showjumping jackets are more then useless at keeping out the cold so avoid them if at all possible!

In the early part of the Autumn hunting season (August / September time) dress and attire is usually informal. As the season progresses the dress usually becomes smarter. At the opening meet and thereafter, full hunting attire is worn.


Riding Hat
When is comes to hunting, safety is paramount so its important to have a suitable and up to standard hat. People usually wear hunting caps or a skull cap (with a black or navy cover) to protect themselves. Just make sure to remove any ribbons on a riding hat as these are traditionally only worn by the master of the hunt. I'm not sure how strictly this is followed now-a-days but I prefer to play it safe and stick to tradition :) I used to put my hair in a bun or a plait and then put on a hairnet ... It kept all the little stray hairs from getting on my face and irritating me! :)

Jacket / Coat
Women usually wear a tweed coat for Autumn hunting and then a black or dark blue hunting coat from the opening meet onwards. I'm pretty sure I've seen people wear tweed after the opening meet too ... so I wouldn't worry too much if you don't have a proper hunting coat. Men normally wear a black hunting coat with one vent in the back. 

Shirt / Waistcoat
A collarless shirt is normally worn with a cream or white stock (aka hunting tie) with a pin to hold it in place (although don't wear a white stock and a tweed jacket together!). If it's particularly cold out you can wear thermals under the shirt or can wear a waistcoat or V-necked jumper over the shirt ... but you do tend to warm up quite quickly once the hunt gets moving! 
Men traditionally wear a yellow, beige or tattersall check waistcoat ... but if I'm being honest I've never checked to see who was wearing them, I'm sure plenty of male riders don't bother with it! 


Jodhpurs / Breeches
Cream, buff or fawn coloured breeches or jodpurs are correct. Men usually wear white breeches.

Boots and Spurs
Long black, polished boots or matching jodhpur boots and gaitors should be worn. I've seen a few riders wear garter straps too but I never bothered with them although it is classed as 'correct' to wear them. Men normally wear black boots with brown tops or  plain black boots.
Spurs are correct but not compulsory. If your horse doesn't need them or you don't normally ride in them, then I would avoid them. I never needed them, I found the majority of horses actually get more excited and forward going while out hunting and need practically not encouragement to get them going!


Body Protectors
Body protectors are a relatively new invention so there are no traditional way to wear them. If you choose to wear one then it is perfectly permissible. I've seen people wear them both over and under their jackets so just stick to whichever way feels most comfortable and safest for you.

Gloves
Gloves can and should be worn by men and women. Go for a good warm pair that will provide good grip on the rains even in wet weather. Almost everyone goes for a dark and subtle coloured pair.

Whips 
A hunting whip is most useful out hunting as the handle helps with opening and closing gates and the thong and lash keeps the hounds away from your horses legs. I always brought a normal whip with a loop handle (to stop me dropping it so easily) and I never had any problems. I rarely needed to use it with Jack but it was good to have just in case :)


Don't spend too long worrying about what to wear. Pretty much nobody is ever dressed perfectly correctly ... just aim to be smart and warm. And most of all just enjoy your day out and have fun! I really miss my hunting days ... college really cannot end soon enough! I can't wait until I'm qualified and back out with a big, beautiful horse ... preferably an Irish Draught :)ccc

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Tack N Tails for the excellent information! I so enjoyed your article about what to wear while hunting (as well as your article about what to wear for a day of dressage! Truly helpful recommendations for when you're standing in front of your closet and your double-checking to make sure that you have everything you need to wear for a day of hunting! I find it interesting how a lot of non-horse people and celebrities wear equestrian clothes as fashion when they don't even ride or own horses: http://www.buckleyfence.com/riding-apparel/equestrian-couture/ Thanks again for sharing your fun and informative blog. I've read several of your blog articles and appreciate your point of view. Best regards, Jim Buckley

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