What to Wear for Autumn Hunting
Oct 13,2015 | Kim Horton
Knowing what to wear in the hunting field is a common concern for riders as they fear wearing 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, sometimes 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 worn by the "ratcatcher" or "terrier man". 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 is a bit workman-like in its appearance, it is 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. Shires and Equetech have Ratcatcher style hunting jackets available.
Breeches or jodhpurs need to be buff, light brown or yellow, but not white. Both full seat and knee patch breeches are acceptable. In addition to the usual run-of-the-mill breeches, nowadays you can get fabulous Softshell hunting breeches that are water-resistant and windproof. These are a godsend for cold and/or wet days. Take a look at the HyPerformance Arctic Softshell Silicone Full Seat Breeches if you're after something comfortable and warm. Gel, or rather silicone, is the very latest technology to be used on breeches to help secure you in the saddle. LeMieux utilise this with their best-selling Drytex Waterproof Silicone Full Seat Breeches, which are also fleece-lined for extra warmth. 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 an extra layer of warmth with a pair of thermal leggings. The LeMieux Thermal Leggings on the left (below) are great value, come in light grey so they won't show through your breeches, and have a seam-free design, which means chaffing won't be a problem. Alternatively, if chilblains are your main problem, the Equetech Thermal Stirrup Underbreeches on the right will be more suitable - they have an internal fleece panel on each thigh that protects this area from getting chilblains.
You can either wear a show shirt with a collar and 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 high teens, you may only need a short sleeved shirt like the Aubrion Short Sleeve Stock Shirt on the left (below). However, long sleeved smart shirts like the HKM Hunter Long Sleeve Show Shirt are better for colder days.
Stocks and ties come in a variety of fabrics and colours. A coloured, checked or polka dot pattern is required with a tweed jacket, and is secured with a stock pin. 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, they come in a good selection of designs, so you're bound to find a suitable one.
The ratcatcher is traditionally worn with long brown riding boots and a bowler hat, but nowadays most followers wear the same boots and a safe and secure riding hat throughout the entire season.