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Official Tack and Attire Rules

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  • Official Tack and Attire Rules

    The only rule book that I have been able to find for the hunter ring is this document:
    https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/kW5W...unter-division

    There is a whopping one and a half pages devoted to tack and attire. I thought the hunter ring had really ridgid rules, but where are they? Am I missing something? Are they all unspoken?

    I come from years and years of competing in dressage where your equipment is legal, or it is not. So I was expecting to find similarly set in stone guidelines for the hunter ring.


  • #2
    Yup, that's it. Hunter attire is governed more by tradition and convention than hard and fast rules.

    To make it more interesting, what one judge considers "unconventional" another judge may think is just fine. For instance, some judges consider kimberwickes unconventional, some do not. Some do not want to see horse in a pelham in a flat class, some don't care.

    Also there is no sort of bit or tack check at ring side. So there are a lot of hunters going in the ring in what looks like a plain D ring snaffle, but the mouthpiece can be *anything*. Same is true with cavessons - no flashs or figure-8s, but there are probably an awful lot of tack, chain or sandpaper lined nosebands.

    And I haven't seen canary breeches in the show ring since the 70s, but they're permitted.

    There have been a lot of discussions on COTH regarding hunter "conventional" attire; but the bottom line is, the best trip gets pinned first. So if your horse is the second incarnation of Rox Dene, you can wear a burgundy coat with canary breeches and brown boots and still win the class. However, lacking Rox Dene, you might want to check out your local hunter shows and see what the local conventions and try to blend in.
    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    Comment


    • #3
      The rules that are set in stone are the ones you found.

      Rules like "Thou shalt not use any bit but a Hunter D," "Thou shalt not use any saddle but a brown close-contact with a round cantle," "Thou must use a white, fleece, shaped saddle pad in the show ring," "Thou shalt stuff thine hair into a hairnet and underneath thy helmet," etc. aren't in the rule book but are traditions. The importance of any of these tacit rules depends on whom you talk to.

      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

      Comment


      • #4
        Dewey, your forgot that your hair has to be done hunter princess style, over the ears, and that the only permitted earrings are small studs. ;-)
        The plural of anecdote is not data.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          So how do you differentiate between tradition and superstition on the part of the competitors?

          And if we are supposed to emulate foxhunters, can I ride with a flask and a sandwich?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
            And if we are supposed to emulate foxhunters, can I ride with a flask and a sandwich?
            In an appointment class, you must. Chicken or turkey, and butter, not mayonnaise. Sandwich case matched to tack. Flask may hold tea or brandy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jonem004 View Post

              In an appointment class, you must. Chicken or turkey, and butter, not mayonnaise. Sandwich case matched to tack. Flask may hold tea or brandy.
              and crusts cut off, wrapped in wax paper. LOL

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by McGurk View Post
                Dewey, your forgot that your hair has to be done hunter princess style, over the ears, and that the only permitted earrings are small studs. ;-)
                you know, the earring thing is a safety issue.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
                  So how do you differentiate between tradition and superstition on the part of the competitors?

                  And if we are supposed to emulate foxhunters, can I ride with a flask and a sandwich?
                  I think tradition and superstition blend seamlessly in many walks of life.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by jonem004 View Post

                    In an appointment class, you must. Chicken or turkey, and butter, not mayonnaise. Sandwich case matched to tack. Flask may hold tea or brandy.
                    No mayo?! Appointment classes are not for me then.

                    So in theory I can use my monoflap jump saddle that has a giant, metal plate screwed over the cantle as long as I ride well?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post

                      No mayo?! Appointment classes are not for me then.

                      So in theory I can use my monoflap jump saddle that has a giant, metal plate screwed over the cantle as long as I ride well?
                      Lol! Well... since hunters are judged on the HORSE, how you ride is really immaterial! Sounds like your a fair distance from being ready for the hunter ring.

                      ETA- No reason you couldn’t use a monoflap saddle though. Idk about this plate you have, but I doubt any judge would give any jumping style saddle a second look. I think you’re allowed to show side saddle in most Hunter OF classes if you like.

                      I also think that the “wrong” equipment gets blamed for a lot of sub-par rounds not pinning. There are DEFINITELY trends in the hunter ring, but if you put in a legit better round then riding in a Black Country instead of a CDW won’t matter for squat. It’s easy to blame these little details when you don’t really know what a great hunter round is, or you don’t have a reliable ground person to tell you what went wrong with yours.

                      Hunters are subjective by their very nature, but I have found them fair even showing some nontraditional breeds.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post

                        No mayo?! Appointment classes are not for me then.

                        So in theory I can use my monoflap jump saddle that has a giant, metal plate screwed over the cantle as long as I ride well?
                        I never rode A shoes because I was a first year teacher when riding hunters BUT I have a box full of ribons from local hunter shows that I won riding in a wintec monoflap jumping saddle. Yup, and so many are firsts. I was lucky to ride one of my trainers good hunters but we had saddle issues and my old wintec was all that fit him 😂

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by jonem004 View Post

                          Lol! Well... since hunters are judged on the HORSE, how you ride is really immaterial! Sounds like your a fair distance from being ready for the hunter ring.

                          ETA- No reason you couldn’t use a monoflap saddle though. Idk about this plate you have, but I doubt any judge would give any jumping style saddle a second look. I think you’re allowed to show side saddle in most Hunter OF classes if you like.

                          I also think that the “wrong” equipment gets blamed for a lot of sub-par rounds not pinning. There are DEFINITELY trends in the hunter ring, but if you put in a legit better round then riding in a Black Country instead of a CDW won’t matter for squat. It’s easy to blame these little details when you don’t really know what a great hunter round is, or you don’t have a reliable ground person to tell you what went wrong with yours.

                          Hunters are subjective by their very nature, but I have found them fair even showing some nontraditional breeds.
                          You don't know how ready I am. So I resent that statement. I'm just trying to make sure I know all of the written rules, because I want to know my rights, so to speak. When I asked my hunter friends for the rule that said I can't wear white breeches in the hunter ring (because I have 80 million pairs that are hardly used from dressage and I don't want to buy MORE show breeches) they gave me a blank look and said, "well people don't do that." Turns out, that's a pretty common explanation and I'm not sure that I like that.

                          My saddle is Stübben Zaria and it was what my horse went best in when I was shopping. We were in the middle of a career change so I didn't give any thought to what it was appropriate for, I only wanted the saddle that was going to make my horse comfortable and fit my awkward, manly build. The saddle was already was going to have branding all over the rear blocks, so I added the plate because I thought it was fun.

                          I think I read somewhere that the reason why the hunter ring is perceived as being super strict is because riders who have success typically were trained by trainers who a big sticklers for discipline or tradition. That makes a ton of sense, and I am trying to not be disrespectful, but I also don't want to buy a whole new kit. I'm just trying to figure out where the line is without alienating hunter riders and judges everywhere.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Clean, tidy, workmanlike and conservative is the key. Nothing that detracts from the *horse's* performance. I wouldn't worry about the saddle, but I would spring $40 - $60 bucks on a cheap pair of tan breeches. White breeches are usually only worn in formal classes; or occasionally by a jumper rider that didn't have time to change.

                            Plain bridle with no bling and a D-ring and a shaped white fleece pad. Again, subscribing to theses conventions costs less than the entry fees, so why not? Or borrow a hunter type bridle and shaped pad. (Getting a different saddle is *entirely* another kettle of fish.)

                            No boots or wraps on the horse. Don't be misled by seeing boots on horses in some equitation classes; they are not permitted in hunter classes.

                            If you don't want to do hunter princess hair, do a tidy braid and put the braid UNDER your jacket so it doesn't distract by flopping around.

                            Stay away from the high tech or trendy or colorful stirrups. I do see some of the flex stirrups in the hunter ring. GM doesn't like them, but I'm so crippled I can't ride without them and I see a lot of pros riding in them.

                            Probably better not to braid unless you've either mastered the idiosyncratic hunter braids or are going to pay for a braider. Neatly pulled and laying on the correct side is fine.

                            All that said, your effort and resources are probably better directed to learning what a good hunter trip looks like and how to produce it. There are a lot of misconceptions around hunter judging as well as hunter turn out.

                            Because at the end of the day, if you lay down a lovely, flowing trip from a rock steady pace with no obvious aids or setting up and nail 8 distances with the correct striding and two changes, you're going to pin, regardless of your turnout.
                            Last edited by McGurk; May. 1, 2019, 07:48 AM.
                            The plural of anecdote is not data.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by McGurk View Post
                              Clean, tidy, workmanlike and conservative is the key. Nothing that detracts from the *horse's* performance. I wouldn't worry about the saddle, but I would spring $40 - $60 bucks on a cheap pair of tan breeches. White breeches are usually only worn in formal classes; or occasionally by a jumper rider that didn't have time to change.

                              Plain bridle with no bling and a D-ring and a shaped white fleece pad. Again, subscribing to theses conventions costs less than the entry fees, so why not? Or borrow a hunter type bridge and shaped pad. (Getting a different saddle is *entirely* another kettle of fish.)

                              No boots or wraps on the horse. Don't be mislead by seeing boots on horses in some equitation classes; they are not permitted in hunter classes.

                              If you don't want to do hunter princess hair, do a tidy braid and put the braid UNDER your jacket so it doesn't distract by flopping around.

                              Stay away from the high tech or trendy or colorful stirrups. I do see some of the flex stirrups in the hunter ring. GM doesn't like them, but I'm so crippled I can't ride without them and I see a lot of pros riding in them.

                              Probably better not to braid unless you've either mastered the idiosyncratic hunter braids or are going to pay for a braider. Neatly pulled and laying on the correct side is fine.

                              All that said, your effort and resources are probably better directed to learning what a good hunter trip looks like and how to produce it. There are a lot of misconceptions around hunter judging as well as hunter turn out.

                              Because at the end of the day, if you lay down a lovely, flowing trip from a rock steady pace with no obvious aids or setting up and nail 8 distances with the correct striding and two changes, you're going to pin, regardless of your turnout.
                              I did ultimately end up buying tan breeches because a friend of mine successfully argued that a.) why wear white breeches or pants under any circumstances if you don't have to? and b.) tan breeches don't look unusual outside of the show ring so they aren't as limiting.

                              The rules for Side Saddle Attire under HU147.14 state "Hair: With hair net, preferably in bun. Must be neat and unobtrusive." So why aren't buns with nets common like they are in dressage?

                              My horse is not a fan of having his mane pulled. He stands nicely to braid, but when you are only doing 7-8 big, fat dutch braids, an unthinned mane isn't that hard to work with. But when you roach his mane down to about an inch in height, it stands up and makes his neck muscles look huge and stallion-y. Would that be a problem?

                              And everyone seems to think that I am not trying to put the work in and learn how ride my horse like a hunter. But I promise I am. I just went to my trainer with all of these questions about tack and attire and she more or less explained that she had been competing in hunters and EQ her whole life, and she never had any interest in a coat that wasn't navy, a saddle that wasn't double flapped or a bit that wasn't a pelham or a full cheek snaffle. She isn't the type to smash the hammer down and say, "no, you must buy a Charles Owen helmet that is 2 sizes too big so that all your hair fits in it" either, so I came here to ask.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If you roach the mane, it shouldn't be an inch in height, it should be all the way down to the neck. Roached manes are not common in the hunter ring, but are going to be fine--again, shaved all the way to the neck.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Buns are not common because I have never seen a workable bun with hunter head gear. I think you may be thinking of dressage riders in derbies and tophats, neither of which are worn in the hunters any more.

                                  If you have a photo of someone managing a bun with hunter appropriate safety headgear, I'd love to see it.

                                  A roached mane would be better than a thick unbraided mane, but as others have said, roach it all the way down.
                                  Last edited by McGurk; Apr. 30, 2019, 09:44 AM.
                                  The plural of anecdote is not data.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by McGurk View Post
                                    Buns are not common because I have never seen a workable bun with hunter head gear. I think you may be thinking of dressage riders in derbies and tophats, neither of which are worn in the hunters any more.

                                    If you have a photo of someone managing a bun with hunter appropriate safety headgear, I'd love to see it.

                                    A roached mane would be better than a thick unbraided mane, but as others have said, roach it all the way down.
                                    I wear a bun with a cover in conjunction with an approved helmet for dressage every time I compete and I see other people wearing a similar get up all of the time. In fact, the only people I know who don't wear a bun cover and a helmet are people with too little hair to make a bun. I don't see how it would be an issue in the hunter ring.

                                    Granted, finding pictures is a challenge because most people take pictures of their faces, and not the backs of their heads. But I assure you that buns with a helmet are common. I can't imagine that something like this (sans rhinestones and satin) would be a problem: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv3vElAn..._web_copy_link

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Judges will find those fly-aways by her ears very distracting. The bun might send them over the edge. A hairnet is cheap and keeps your hair neat. Personally I'd say do whatever you want. People will look at you and perhaps laugh but who cares? I rode a paint in A hunters as a child in the 90's and I was made fun of by everyone including my awful trainer. I didn't care. It was fun to show.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by bangboombaby View Post
                                        Judges will find those fly-aways by her ears very distracting. The bun might send them over the edge. A hairnet is cheap and keeps your hair neat. Personally I'd say do whatever you want. People will look at you and perhaps laugh but who cares? I rode a paint in A hunters as a child in the 90's and I was made fun of by everyone including my awful trainer. I didn't care. It was fun to show.

                                        I'd be shocked if a judge could even see the fly-aways.
                                        Custom tack racks!
                                        www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

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