What to wear for Autumn Hunting
Posted on 12 October 2015 by Kim
Knowing what to wear in the field is often the concern of most riders as they fear wearing or doing the wrong thing! Read our guide to find out the correct hunting attire to make you feel more comfortable and confident when you're off out hunting...
Every hunt has two seasons: Autumn Hunting, formerly known as cubbing, and the Main Season. Autumn Hunting starts in early September and runs through to October. During this period, horses and hounds are conditioned and trained.
For Autumn hunting, it's correct for the “Ratcatcher” to be worn. In layman’s terms this is simply a tweed jacket. It’s possible that this term came from the attire which the "ratcatcher" or "terrier man" wore. He was probably a crofter who followed the hunt across his land. When a fox went to ground the terrier man, would send his terrier into the covert to kill the fox.
Whilst it’s a bit workmanlike in its appearance, it’s a safe option for anyone new to the sport. Strictly speaking tweed jackets are worn before the opening meet and hunting coats or show jackets afterwards. Dublin, Shires and Equetech all have a Ratcatcher style hunting jacket.
Breeches or jodhpurs need to be buff, light brown or yellow but not white. Either full seat or knee patch breeches are acceptable. In addition to the usual run of the mill breeches, nowadays you can get fabulous soft shell hunting breeches that are water proof and windproof. These are a god send for cold and/or wet days. Take a look at the ones from Hy if you're after an affordable pair. Gel, or rather silicone, is the very latest technology to be used on breeches and Dublin have combined this with one of their best selling breeches to bring you the Dublin Performance Cool-It Gel Riding Tights. If you're a serial hunter who wants breeches specifically designed and made for hunting, you need Equetech's Hybrid Foxhunter Breeches.
If you really feel the cold, you can add a layer of extra warmth with a thermal breech. The Equetech Arctic Thermal Under Breeches on the left below are great value,come in black or beige and are of a seam free design, which means chaffing will not be a problem. Alternatively if chilblains are your main problem, the Equetech Thermal Stirrup Underbreechs on the right will be more suitable they have an internal fleece panel on each thigh protects this area from getting chilblains.
You can either wear a shirt with a collar and a tie or a shirt with a stock. Do bear in mind that on those warmer, autumn days when the temperature can get up to the late teens, you may only need a short sleeved shirt like the Dublin one on the left in the photo below. However long sleeved fleecy shirts like the one from Equetech are better for colder days.
Stocks come in a variety of fabrics and colours. A coloured checked or polka dot is required with a tweed jacket and secured with a stock pin. Do bear in mind that you're going to be in the hunting field not the competition arena, so go for something plain. If you opt for a shirt with a tie, Ties come in a good selection of designs, so you're bound to find a suitable one.
Technically the ratcatcher is worn with brown boots. Our favourite is the and a bowler hat, but nowadays most followers wear the same boots and riding hat throughout the entire season.
While a skullcap is not a traditional type of velvet hunting hat, it’s the safest type to wear as it doesn't have a fixed peak like a lot of horse riding hats. Many hunts often recommend it. The best selling Gatehouse HS1 Jockey Skull is the preferred choice of many. A plain black/brown silk or velvet cover is worn. If you wish to wear a traditional velvet hat, you’ll need to sew the ribbons up as only Masters and Hunt staff wear the ribbons down so that they can be recognised from behind.
Many adults and most children now wear body protectors. It's probably a good idea to wear yours under your jacket rather than over it as it looks so much better! The latest entrant to the market, is the
Do invest in a good pair of gloves! Leather is always good for grip but not great when it rains! Treat yourself to a waterproof pair, they’ll be worth every penny! These one from Woof Wear are just the ticket! The technically advanced fabric of Tredstep's Eventer Glove ensures the right amount of grip in wet conditions and makes it perfect for hunting.
Many people will carry a hunting whip. This is not essential however they are extremely useful for holding tricky gates open!
Girls! Remember: no flowing locks. Your hair needs to be neatly tied and preferably in a hair net. A little make up is fine but glamour pusses need not attend! Do bear in mind that you may be riding through woods with low hanging branches. So it may be best to remove any dangly earrings if you want to keep your ears in one piece!
If you’re in any doubt whatsoever about what to wear hunting, for example can you wear a navy show jacket for Autumn Hunting, check with the Hunt Secretary. I'm sure he or she will be very happy to help.
Do you have everything you need?