GENERAL Hunt caps should fit well and preferably have a secure harness. Ribbons on the backs of hunt caps should always be sewn up, unless one is either professional hunt staff or a Master. Long hair is best contained in a hair net.
Ideally, each adult rider should wear spurs and carry a hunt whip with a thong. The thong may be dropped to ward off the approach of a hound, but it should never be used otherwise, unless requested by staff. It may also be of emergency use to staff who may break theirs. If a hunt whip cannot be safely carried, a rider should a least carry a crop of a dark color but it should never be carried in one’s boot. A rider should also carry wire cutters on the saddle, but a holster, cell phone, or radio should be carried only with a Master’s permission. Saddle flasks, sandwich cases, fence tools, holsters, camera cases, etc. should be unobtrusive and made of leather.
Coats should remain buttoned while a rider is mounted. Sunglasses are frowned because they are incongruous with the timeless image of the traditional dress. Fancy jewelry and perfume are inappropriate. Authentic-looking rubber riding boots are acceptable.Hunting tack is simply that which is most appropriate for the job: flat, plain and strong. Bridles, reins, and stirrup leathers cut from heavier pattern are more dependable in the hunt field. It must be clean, serviceable and reliable. Check girth, reins and stirrup leathers frequently. Breastplates are a good idea, both for the comfort of the horse and the added safety of the rider. Saddle pads should be white and conform to the shape of the English saddle (not a dressage pad).
RATCATCHER Informal dress, known as ratcatcher, is usually worn during autumn hunting (cub hunting) prior to opening meet. Ratcatcher may also be worn for informal meets during the regular season when indicated by the Masters.
Ladies Ladies wear a tweed coat or hacking jacket, natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches, shirt and colored tie or ratcatcher shirt with collar and stock pin, tattersall vest, brown leather gloves, brown or black field boots and hunt cap or derby with a hat cord.
Gentlemen Gentlemen wear a tweed coat or hacking jacket, natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches, shirt and colored tie, tattersall vest, brown leather gloves, brown or black field boots and a hunt cap or derby with a hat cord.
Juniors Juniors wear a tweed coat or hacking jacket, natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches with tall black boots or jodhpurs with brown jodhpur boots, shirt and colored tie or ratcatcher shirt with collar, tattersall vest, brown leather gloves and either a black velvet hunting cap with a harness or ASTM safety helmet with a harness and black cover.
FORMAL Notwithstanding these standards of traditional dress, members and guests are encouraged to ride as long as they wear a basic dark coat and natural breeches, stock tie and vest. Formal dress is a bit more complex. There are a few traditional cuts of hunt coats, which, to a degree, dictate the rest of the dress. The two most common cuts are the Melton and Frock coats.
Melton Coat The Melton is cut much like a traditional sport coat. It has plain black buttons and should be worn with natural-colored (buff or tan) breeches, a white shirt, white hunting or stock tie with a plain gold stock pin worn horizontally, tattersall or canary vest with plain brass buttons, black dress boots without tops, brown leather or white string gloves and a black velvet hunt cap or derby with a hat cord.
Frock Coat The classic traditional hunting coat is a frock coat, which is identified by its long skirts and a seam about the waist. Historically, it is the gentleman’s coat, so the corresponding dress is a bit more formal. With a black frock coat, which anyone is entitled to wear, a gentleman should wear buff breeches, black boots with brown or colored tops, and a black velvet hunt cap or a silk top hat with hat cord (not a derby). Small leather belts called garters, although rarely seen these days, are correct with top boots and should be the color of the breeches. The skirts of the frock coat should be rounded in front, except for hunt staff who have them squared off. Frock coats should have three buttons in the front except for staff, who wear five buttons, or a Master not riding up with staff, who wears four buttons. One whistle pocket is proper.
Ladies Ladies wear a block frock coat or Melton coat with plain black buttons. A lady will wear a canary or tattersall waistcoat, a white shirt with a white stock tie and a horizontal gold pin, buff or tan breeches of twill, cord, or leather, wash or brown leather gloves and regular hunting spurs high on the heel. Boots will be of black calf without tops-tabs are sewn in but not sewn down. Ladies do not wear white breeches or brown boot tops. With a Melton or frock coat ladies wear either a black velvet hunting cap or black derby with hat cord.
Gentlemen Gentlemen wear a black frock coat or Melton coat with plain black buttons. A gentleman will also wear a canary or tattersall waistcoat, a white shirt with white stock tie and horizontal gold pin, wash or brown leather gloves and heavy-pattern hunting spurs high on the heel. Tabs on the boots are sewn in, not sewn down. With a Melton coat gentlemen wear buff or tan breeches of twill, cord, or leather and either a black velvet hunting cap or a black derby with hat cord. Boots will be of black calf without boot tops. With a frock coat gentlemen wear white breeches of twill, cord, or leather and either a black velvet hunting cap or a black silk hat with hat cord. Boots are of black calf with brown or colored leather tops.
Juniors It is not necessary for juniors to wear formal attire. They may wear a black or dark-colored coat with plain black buttons. A junior should wear a canary or tattersall vest, a white shirt with white stock tie and horizontal gold pin, buff or tan breeches or jodhpurs, wash or brown leather gloves and regular hunting spurs high on the heel. Juniors will wear either a black velvet hunting cap with a harness or ASTM safety helmet with a harness and black cover. 8 Black butcher boots (tall, without tops) are worn with breeches, while black or brown jodhpur boots are worn with jodhpurs.
COLORS "Colors” is a term which applies to the hunt uniform or livery-the hunt-peculiar color on the formal coat’s collar and buttons with the hunt insignia. The privilege of wearing the hunt uniform (i.e., “entitled to wear colors” or “awarded one’s colors”) can be granted only by the Masters. This is done in recognition of a member’s demonstrated responsibility and ability in the hunting field, as well as for their continued loyal support of the hunt outside of the hunt field.Once a member is entitled to wear their hunt’s colors and buttons, gentlemen generally change to a red frock coat with hunt colors on the collar and with brass buttons with the hunt insignia. Ladies wear the hunt colors on the collar of a black or dark blue coat, have the insignia on black buttons, and may have black patent leather tops on their dress boots.Colors and red coats are worn on a formal day when hunting with one’s own hounds (including joint meets) wherever that may be. Wearing colors is never assumed when hunting with another pack. Visitors should wear black or seek permission from the host Master to wear their colors.
Ladies The hunt uniform for WH ladies entitled to wear colors consists of a black coat with the dark green collar, black buttons with the WH insignia, and black patent leather boot tops.
Gentlemen The hunt uniform for WH gentlemen consists of a red/scarlet frock coat with dark green collar and brass buttons with the WH insignia. Most of the off-the-rack styles have a fourbutton front. A coat with a five-button front is appropriate only for a Master or staff. Gentlemen may also wear a black frock or Melton coat with black buttons with the hunt insignia.Evening dress comprises a scarlet tailcoat with dark green silk lapel facings and brass buttons with the WH insignia. Evening dress is optional at the WH ball, and it is appropriate at other hunt balls when invited to wear it.
WHAT TO WEAR WHEN Formal hunting attire is always proper and is never considered over-dressed. Formal hunting attire will be worn at weekend, holiday, and joint meets at home. Ratcatcher is appropriate for cub hunting and Wednesday hunts during season, unless the Masters indicate otherwise.
THE STOCK TIE The stock tie is a very useful part of a foxhunter’s kit. It can be used as a bandage, sling or a tourniquet. To tie it, place the mid point just below your Adam’s apple. Run both sides around the back of your neck, to the front. For a slotted tie, run one side through the slot; for an unslotted tie, twist one side near the crossing point so it runs flat against your neck. Tie a square knot, but not too tight. Cross the ends and arrange everything neatly to cover most of your shirt front that is not covered by the waistcoat. Keep this work of art in place by inserting a large, plain, gold-colored safety pin horizontally through both sides and the shirt, just below the knot. Pin the flapping ends to your shirt unobtrusively.