Proper Hunting Attire

Hunting attire is part of the tradition of our sport! Practical ... and comfortable.

Proper Hunting Attire, Tack and Appointments

Norman Fine, the editor of Covertside, wrote an introduction to Hugh J. Robards, MFH’s Foxhunting: How to Watch and Listen” (The Derryville Press, 2006) regarding proper hunting etiquette and attire. He opens the section on hunting attire, tack and appointments as follows:
 

“The following suggestions for correct hunting attire have been extracted with permission from Guidebook 1997, a publication of the Masters of Foxhounds Association of North America, Berryville, Virginia; (540) 955-5680. Another authoritative and readily available reference is Riding to Hounds in America by William P. Wadsworth, MFH. This comprehensive and informative booklet was first published in 1962 by The Chronicle of the Horse and has been reprinted many times. Contact The Chronicle of the Horse, Middleburg, Virginia; (540) 687-6341.
 
“A careful comparison of these, or indeed any other resources will reveal differences in what is deemed correct attire. The fact is, there is not universal agreement regarding every detail of attire; however, a gentleman or lady rider who relies on any one of these references may confidently appear in any hunting field in the country with assurance of being correctly or, at the very least, acceptably attired.
 
“The hunting attire described here has, over the years, proved to be practical, comfortable and comparatively safe, for which reason it has become traditional. Your Master has the authority to dictate the specific livery for your hunt or the degree of formality or informality of dress that suits your own particular country.”

 
The Fairfield County Hounds has adopted the traditional hunting attire presented by Mr. Fine, with few modifications. The following sets forth the proper hunting attire for members of the Fairfield County Hounds.

Informal Attire (or “Ratcatcher”)
For Cubbing Season and
Wednesdays during the Regular Season)

 

Lady and Gentlemen Members

Hat:
Black, brown or blue hunting helmet (ASTM-approved with secure chin strap recommended) with ribbon up, or black or brown hunting cap, black or brown bowler.
 
Shirt:
Navy blue or white FCH polo shirt (or plain navy blue or white polo shirt) during August “roading” and in warm September weather. Once jackets are worn, white or light shirts with buttons (conservative patterns such as stripes or checks are allowed).
 
Coat:  
Tweed or wool in muted or dark (not black) colors, tailored and vented.
 
Neckwear:
Stock tie (plain or colored) with horizontal pin or man’s necktie; ends should be pinned down to remain tidy and in place. Neckbands (chokers) are appropriate for ladies.
 
Breeches:
Earth-tone colors: buff, tan, beige, fawn, grey, khaki.
 
Spurs:
Regular hunting style with no rowels.
 
Boots:
Brown or black leather, dress or field with laces. Formal boots with brown, patent or leather tops are not appropriate. Rubber boots are acceptable with the Master’s permission as are canvas-topped (Newmarket) boots and jodhpur boots with either canvas or leather leggings.
 
Gloves:
Black or brown leather or string gloves.
 
Wire cutters, Flask and Sandwich Case:
Same recommendations as for formal attire.
 
Whip:
Regulation hunting whip. Thong and lash may be removed during cubhunting.

Formal Hunt Season Attire
(Required on Saturdays during Formal Season;
appropriate on Wednesdays)
 

Lady Members with Colors (Astride)
 

Hat:
Black hunting helmet or cap preferably velvet (ASTM-approved with secure chin strap recommended) with ribbon up. With permission of the Master, black bowler or silk top hat (the crown should be six inches or more and worn only with a frock coat).
 
Hair:
Should be neatly confined; hairnets are advisable and correct.
 
Vest:
Canary or tattersall.
 
Coat:  
Black frock or hunting coat with FCH buttons and blue collars with gold trim. Frock coat should have rounded corners with three buttons in front and two on back. Hunting coats have rounded corners and three buttons on the front of the coat.
 
Neckwear:
Plain white hunting stock tie neatly tied and fastened with a plain, horizontal safety pin; ends should be pinned down to remain tidy and in place. No other jewelry should be visible.
 
Breeches:
Beige cord or heavy synthetic stretch twill material.
 
Spurs:
Regular hunting spurs: short neck and no rowels. Racing spurs are not permissible. Spurs should be set high on the boot just below the ankle and the spur arms should be parallel to the ground. The open end of the spur should be on top of or outside of the boot.
 
Boots:
Black calf hunting boots without laces. Black leather or patent leather tops are appropriate, especially with a frock coat.
 
Gloves:
Buff, black or brown leather. White wool or cotton string gloves are also allowed.
 
Wire cutters, Flask and/or Sandwich Case:
Optional. Flask case is not customary.
 
Whip:
Light hunting whip with thong.

 
Lady Members without Colors (Astride)

 
Hat:
Black hunting helmet or cap preferably velvet (ASTM-approved with secure chin strap recommended) with ribbon up.
 
Hair:
Should be neatly confined; hairnets are advisable and correct.
 
Vest:
Canary or tattersall.
 
Coat:  
Black frock or hunting coat, suitably cut. Frock coat should have rounded corners with three buttons in front and two on back. Hunting coats have rounded corners and three buttons on the front of the coat.
 
Neckwear:
Plain white hunting stock tie neatly tied and fastened with a plain, horizontal safety pin; ends should be pinned down to remain tidy and in place. No other jewelry should be visible.
 
Breeches:
Beige cord or heavy synthetic stretch twill material.
 
Spurs:
Regular hunting spurs: short neck and no rowels. Racing spurs are not permissible. Spurs should be set high on the boot just below the ankle and the spur arms should be parallel to the ground. The open end of the spur should be on top of or outside of the boot.
 
Boots:
Black calf hunting boots without laces.
 
Gloves:
Buff, black or brown leather. White wool or cotton string gloves are also allowed.
 
Wire cutters, Flask and/or Sandwich Case:
Optional. Flask case is not customary.
 
Whip:
Members without colors are not allowed to carry whips.

 
Gentlemen with Colors (Astride)

 
Hat:
Black hunting helmet or cap preferably velvet (ASTM-approved with secure chin strap recommended) with ribbon up. With permission of the Master, top hats may be worn with a scarlet coat, frock coat, or shadbelly coat (hat-guard optional).
 
Hair:
If long, to be neatly confined.
 
Vest:
Canary or tattersall.
 
Coat:  
Scarlet with rounded corners and three FCH buttons in front and two in back, with a blue collar with gold trim.
 
Neckwear:
Plain white hunting stock tie neatly tied and fastened with a plain, horizontal safety pin; ends should be pinned down to remain tidy and in place.
 
Breeches:
White, of heavy cord, synthetic stretch twill, or other heavy material.
 
Spurs:
Regular hunting spurs: short neck and no rowels. Racing spurs are not permissible. Spurs should be set high on the boot just below the ankle and the spur arms should be parallel to the ground. The open end of the spur should be on top of or outside of the boot.
 
Boots:
Plain black calf with brown tops. Black field boots with laces are not considered proper formal boots. White or brown boot garters (to match breeches) may be worn.
 
Gloves:
Buff, black or brown leather. White wool or cotton string gloves are also allowed.
 
Wire cutters, Flask and/or Sandwich Case:
Optional. Flask case is not customary.
 
Whip:
Traditional hunting whip.
 

Gentlemen without Colors (Astride)

 
Hat:
Black hunting helmet or cap preferably velvet (ASTM-approved with secure chin strap recommended) with ribbon up. Bowler hat with formal black hunting coat.
 
Hair:
If long, to be neatly confined.
 
Vest:
Canary or tattersall.
 
Coat:  
Frock or hunting coat of black, suitably cut. Frock coat should have rounded corners with three buttons in front and two in back. Hunting coats have rounded corners and three buttons on the front of the coat.
 
Neckwear:
Plain white hunting stock tie neatly tied and fastened with a plain, horizontal safety pin; ends should be pinned down to remain tidy and in place.
 
Breeches:
Buff, beige, tan or khaki of heavy cord, synthetic stretch twill, or other heavy material.
 
Spurs:
Regular hunting spurs: short neck and no rowels. Racing spurs are not permissible. Spurs should be set high on the boot just below the ankle and the spur arms should be parallel to the ground. The open end of the spur should be on top of or outside of the boot.
 
Boots:
Plain black calf without tops. Black field boots with laces are not considered proper formal boots. White or brown boot garters (to match breeches) may be worn.
 
Gloves:
Buff, black or brown leather. White wool or cotton string gloves are also allowed.
 
Wire cutters, Flask and/or Sandwich Case:
Optional. Flask case is not customary.
 
Whip:
Members without colors may not carry whips.

 
Exceptions

 

Juniors

It is not necessary for juniors to wear formal attire as it is often both difficult and expensive to obtain properly fitting formal attire in the small sizes, and the Masters have great discretion to determine appropriate junior wear. Whichever type of “turn out” is chosen, it should be immaculately clean and appropriate for various weather conditions with an approved ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) safety helmet properly fastened.
 

Junior Informal Attire (coat and neckwear):

A tweed or solid coat in a muted color (no scarlet). A tie may be worn rather than a stock tie.

 
Junior Formal Attire (coat and neckwear):

Frock or hunting coat of black, dark blue, dark gray, or dark-colored material, suitably cut. A plain white stock neatly tied and fastened with a plain, horizontal safety pin. Turtleneck shirts should not be work except by very young children.
 
Hat:
A properly fitting ASTM-approved safety helmet with chinstrap properly fastened with ribbon up.
 
Hair:
If long, to be neatly confined or braided.
 
Breeches:
Tan or brown breeches or jodhpurs.
 
Boots:
Black or brown leather.
 
Gloves:
Black or brown leather. White wool or cotton string gloves are also allowed.

Extreme weather conditions


The Master(s) may make modifications for extreme temperatures or weather, particularly in cold weather when parkas and heavy jackets are very warm when worn over regular hunting coats.
 
Raincoats:
Brown, black or dark green.

 
Tack

 
Horses and tack should be impeccably clean, polished and shining. Anything less is a disservice to your hosts, the landowners.
 
Bridle:
Black or brown leather, may be either double or single. A caveson (noseband) should be used. Colored or ornamental brow bands are not acceptable.
 
Breastplate:
Optional.
 
Martingale:
Optional; if used, should be plain/raised leather. A running martingale must have “stops” on the reins.
 
Saddle:
Brown or black leather. Saddle pads (if used) should be white and preferably square without decoration. Stirrup irons should be large, workman-like and clean (shined). Safety equipment such as cruppers, grazing over-checks and safety stirrups should be used whenever advisable.
 
Girth:
Preferably leather, but clean string and cloth girths are permissible, as are girth covers made of fleece.
 
Accessories:
Accessories such as figure-eight and flash nosebands, bell and shin boots, gel and cushion saddle pads should be used sparingly and only when required for safety or the health of the horse. Accessories like fly hood and ear or muzzle covers are not appropriate in the hunting field.