Attire & Etiquette

What to wear on Formal Hunt Days

Helmet: ASTM-approved black velvet helmet, with the bows in back pointing up (unless you’re a member of the staff). Long hair should be pinned up in a bun or tucked into your helmet with a hairnet. Coat: Black three button hunt coat (two buttons on each cuff). Guests may wear their hunt colors. Shirt: White, long-sleeved shirt, tucked in. Stock tie: A plain white stock tie should be fastened horizontally with a plain, gold stock pin. Vest: A canary yellow vest (masters may waive vest in hot weather). Breeches: Tan, buff, or canary breeches. Masters and scarlett coats may wear white breeches. Boots: Black leather dress boots are traditional (field boots with laces are also permited). *Note that patent boot tops for ladies or brown boot tops for gentlemen should be worn only if one has been awarded one’s hunt colors Belt: Belt should be black. Leather belts are advised, as they can be substituted as a rein or stirrup leather if needed. Gloves: Gloves may be brown, tan, or knit.

What to wear on Cubbing/ "Ratcatcher" Hunt days

Helmet: An ASTM-approved helmet can be brown (prefered) or black. Long hair should be pinned up in a bun or tucked into your helmet with a hairnet. Coat: Tweed and muted earth tone coats are acceptable for cubbing. Shirt: A white or light-colored collared shirt with sleeves and stock tie or an Oxford shirt with a neck tie. Stock tie: for cubbing/ratcatcher hunts any muted color or pattern (except white) is correct, fastened with a horizontal gold stock pin. Stock pins may be decorative. Other jewelry is discouraged. Vest: Vests can be canary yellow, tattersall, plaid, or patterned. Breeches: Tan, buff, gray, or rust. Boots: Black or brown dress or field boots. Belt: Belt should match the boots and shirt should be tucked in. Leather belts are advised, as they can be substituted as a rein or stirrup leather if needed. Gloves: Brown leather, or string gloves.

What should I do if I am capping?

Please register for capping via the website prior to arriving and plan to arrive early before the hunt is scheduled to start (mounted at least 15 minutes prior to moving off). Riders and guests who are capping must check-in with the Field Secretary (Linda Hickey) upon arrival. When the huntsman presents the hounds please listen to the Masters’ opening comments for information specific to that day. This is the time we will be sharing assignments of the Field Masters, routes for the day, and important additional information. Make sure to introduce yourself to the Masters and other members so that we may welcome you.

What flights are available?

First flight: First flight must jump all fences. Allow space between horses for safety reasons. If your horse refuses a jump, immediately move away and allow others to pass and jump. If you wish to make a second attempt to jump the fences, wait until all other first flight horses have passed. Second Flight: Second flight is a non-jumping field that will keep up with first flight. This field is designed to provide riders with the opportunity to view hounds at a fast pace. Third Flight: Third flight, referred to as “Hilltoppers”, is a non-jumping field that moves at a slower pace and often takes a different route allowing riders to watch hounds work and first flight riders jump. Fourth Flight: fourth flight was created to allow strictly walk and trot members to see & hear hounds and observe riders fo over fences. ** if you wish to change flights wait until a check. Inform the fieldmaster you are changing fields, and notify new fieldmaster you would like to join them.

What is appropriate horse turnout?

All horses are expected to be groomed and outfitted with workmanlike tack. Bridle: Hunt bridles should be flat without embellished stitching. Martingale: A standing martingale and breastplate is appropriate if needed but neither is required. Running martingales, however, are not proper in the hunt field. Saddle: The saddle should be brown leather (English style, of course). Synthetic materials or black leather saddles are not suitable Saddle Pad: Only shaped white cloth or natural wool (sheepskin) saddle pads should be used. Braiding: Braiding is only appropriate for Opening Meet (mane only).

What do Gentleman wear for Formal Hunting once awarded AH hunt colors?

Gentleman's Coats: Scarlet* three button coat with brass AH insignia buttons, single vent with rounded corners (two buttons on back), chamois collar. * Note: Scarlet is appropriate for special days such as Opening Meet, Blessing of the Hounds, and New Years Day. It is also proper to wear scarlet for a joint meet where one’s hunt is the host hunt. However, scarlet should not be worn to a joint meet where you are the guest of another hunt unless the host hunt has extended the invitation for guests to wear their colors. (AH invites guests to wear their colors at all times) Gentleman's Boots: Black Hunting boot with brown tops with tabs (not sewn down) is appropriate while wearing scarlet, black, or frock coat. If you are wearing scarlet ONLY black boots with brown tops are appropriate. Gentleman's Breeches: Beige or buff is proper with a regular hunting jacket. White should be worn with scarlet or a black frock coat.

What do Ladies wear for Formal Hunting once awarded AH hunt colors?

Coat: Black or dark navy blue jacket or frock coat with black buttons imprinted with the hunt’s emblem in white. (A lady only wears scarlet if she is a master or huntsman, both of which are gender-neutral titles.)
Breeches: Beige, buff, or canary are appropriate.
Boots: Black dress boots with black patent leather tops and black patent garters. Laced field boots are not correct. Modern dress: Ladies with their colors may wear plain black dress boots.

Why is proper attire important?

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.

** copied from Horse Country's website (read on for deep dive into hunt ettiquette and attire!)

** Check out the MFHA's Introduction to Foxhunting for more information on tradition and history of Fox Hunting!