PROPER ATTIRE IN THE HUNT FIELD

Does it is really matter what we wear when riding to hounds? Absolutely! For one, it is only through the graciousness of the landowners over whose property we ride that we are able to engage in this sport. A properly turned-out field honors the landowners, shows them we take our sport seriously, and displays the appropriate spirit of tradition as they watch us ride by. (And don’t forget to wave or tip your hat and greet the land owner in an appropriately cordial manner.)

In a more subtle sense, it is an appreciation for that tradition that has led most of us to take up this sport. The preservation of the centuries-old foxhunting spirit depends, more than anything else, on the continued observance of the rules of etiquette that distinguish this activity from simply riding casually around through the countryside.

Besides the landowners, we also depend on masters and huntsman for the enjoyment derived from a long season of hunting. The leaders of the hunt work hard to provide members the opportunities to follow hounds and nothing cheers the heart of a huntsman or master more than to gaze upon a well turned-out field of riders who conduct themselves properly. This demonstrates the members’ recognition of their efforts on behalf of the field, especially the huntsman who devotes long, hard days of work to give members a few hours of sport.

Though the ball-cap is technically not proper attire, they do tend to make appearances at hunt breakfasts.

It is certainly not anticipated that all members of the field can immediately outfit themselves as appropriate to win an appointments class.  However, an acknowledgement that certain items are more correct than others may allow people to plan future purchases accordingly.  If in any doubt, do not hesitate to ask the Masters or other long time members of the hunt for advice. 

PROPER TACK

BRIDLES

Flat, brown leather is preferred, as are hook studs to secure the bit and reins (buckles are likely to catch on brush). Caveson is required. The bit should be appropriate for both horse and rider and it should be noted that many horses require a somewhat stronger bit in the hunt field than they do at home or in the show ring. If your horse is new to hunting, it is best to confer with a Master about your best options for bitting.

MARTINGALES AND BREASTPLATES

Both standing and running martingales are appropriate (running must have rein stoppers) as needed by the horse. A hunting (flat) breastplate is suggested.

SADDLES

A modern jumping or All Purpose saddle is appropriate (brown), dressage and western saddles are not. A white, shaped fleece pad (real or synthetic) is required for both informal and formal season. Square saddle pads are never appropriate in the hunt field. Large, polished stirrups with or without pads, and cord, leather, or fleece girth (clean!) are all acceptable.

APPOINTMENTS

Gentlemen may carry a sandwich case and separate saddle flask. Ladies may carry a combination case or simply a sandwich case. Staff sometimes attache wire cutters to the saddle as well.

PROPER ATTIRE

Attire varies according to three main variables—gender, colors, and informal (formerly known as "cubbing") versus formal season. There are also distinctions between adult members of the field, masters, huntsmen, and juniors but we are only addressing the turnout etiquette for adult field members here. For questions about proper attire for juniors, please consult the masters.

INFORMAL SEASON

 

During informal season there is no distinction in attire between members who have been awarded colors and those who have not (or, for that matter, between the field, masters, and staff). There is also very little difference regarding the attire of gentlemen and lady members.

Correct informal attire is always welcome in the LCH field during this season, but our Masters often graciously allow members to ride in club-branded polo shirts in either white or maroon to combat the heat. 

​JACKETS

Gentlemen and ladies should wear tweed, checked, wool, or saltsack jackets in muted colors or earth tones. Formal jackets may also be worn, but it should be noted that the rest of your attire should also be formal. In the event of inclement weather, the masters may allow black LCH-branded raincoats or clear rain coats.

VESTS

Vests are not required for informal season, but should be tattersall if worn with informal attire.

BREECHES

Breeches should be tan, buff, or rust colored. Dark colors or other colors (blues, greys, greens, etc) are not appropriate.

BOOTS

Black or brown dress or field boots are appropriate, as are Newmarket boots. Again, note that if you are wearing formal attire, your boots should also be formal.

SHIRT

Ratcatcher or light colored shirts that coordinate with your jacket (unless formal). Gentlemen may wear ties. Ladies may wear ratcatcher collars, ties, or colored stock ties. If a stock tie is worn, it should be secured with a plain stock pin placed horizontally. 

GLOVES

Gloves are optional (but recommended to combat blisters). Brown leather is most appropriate, but yellow chamois or white string gloves are acceptable for both gentlemen and ladies.

HELMET

All riders must wear a conservatively colored ASTM certified helmet with a harness chin strap. Riders with hair that extends below the helmet must wear a hairnet. This applies to both ladies and gentlemen.

FORMAL SEASON

Once formal season begins, more distinctions apply based on the member’s gender and whether or not he or she has been awarded colors.

JACKETS

Gentlemen with colors wear scarlet coats with the hunt colors on the collar and brass hunt buttons. Gentlemen without colors wear black wool melton with black buttons. A single vent is most correct.

Ladies with colors wear black wool meltons with the hunt colors on the collar and black hunt buttons. Female MFHs and Hunstmen may wear scarlet (this varies from hunt to hunt). Ladies without colors wear black wool meltons with plain collars and buttons. Single vent is most correct.

In the event of inclement weather, the masters may allow black LCH-branded raincoats or clear rain coats to be worn over the regular jacket.

VEST

Both gentlemen and ladies wear canary vests. Canary is the most correct. In LCH we also allow tattersall vests during formal season. Cream colored with black, gold, or maroon striping is preferred.

BREECHES

Gentlemen with colors and wearing scarlet wear white breeches. Gentlemen without colors and ladies (with or without colors) may wear tan, buff, or canary breeches. 

BOOTS

Gentlemen with colors wear black dress boots with brown tops. Gentlemen and ladies without colors wear black dress boots. Ladies with colors may wear black dress boots with black patent leather tops. All boots should be clean and well polished, always. Zippers are acceptable in the modern hunt field. (Field boots are considered more a safety issue during formal season, as the hunt is often faster and harder. The issue at hand is the possibility of sticks or limbs becoming entangled in the laces.)

SHIRT

Both gentlemen and ladies wear white long sleeved ratcatcher shirts with a white stock tie (NOT pre-tied). Plain gold stock pins secure the tie and are worn horizontally. It is highly recommended that small safety pins are used to hold the ends of the stock tie in place under the vest.

GLOVES

Gloves are optional (but recommended to combat blisters). Brown leather is most appropriate, but yellow chamois or white string gloves are acceptable for both gentlemen and ladies.

HELMET

All riders must wear a conservatively colored ASTM certified helmet with a harness chin strap. Riders with hair that extends below the helmet must wear a hairnet. This applies to both ladies and gentlemen.

JEWELRY

Ladies may wear wedding rings and small stud earrings. Both ladies and gentlemen may wear or carry St. Hubert's Medals.

SPURS

Plain blunt spurs with straps may be worn if needed.

WHIP

A hunt whip with thong and popper may be carried by both ADULT ladies and gentlemen, but should never be cracked or used toward a hound unless specifically directed by hunt staff. Riders may drop their lash to keep hounds at a safe distance from a horse that might kick. A hunt crop is acceptable if a rider is not yet ready to carry a whip.

For a more complete list of proper attire and turnout in the hunt field, download Felicity Fieldmember's Guide to Hunt Attire. [PDF]

©2020 Limestone Creek Hunt

Cazenovia, NY