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New to hunting so really ignorant

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  • New to hunting so really ignorant

    I have always wanted to try hunting. But never have, for a lot of reasons. One is attire/turn out.

    There is a small hunt near us that is doing an intro sort of hunt mainly for Jrs but adults are welcomed too (though not for free). They are also doing a hill topping group and even a trail riding group. I would love to go. Oh, I am eventer. So I asked about what to wear, hoping the answer would be anything neat and tidy (and warm). Answer was that my dressage attire would be passable. TBH, I really don't think I can do that. Esp if it chilly at all since I won't be able to get a warm enough shirt on under my dressage coat. And I would feel a lot safer if I had my xc vest on too.

    I am assuming since they already told me this, showing up in "neat but tidy" (and warm) as opposed to my dressage clothes wouldn't be cool to do.

    A friend of mine (out of state) hunts and keeps encouraging me to come out and hunt with them. But again, the clothes is an issue.

    Any comments, or am I stuck?

  • #2
    You do need to adhere to the dress code of the hunt you are riding with...most hunt folks will happily loan you a proper coat. And if you are average sized used ones can be obtained...call Middleburg Tack exchange and they will even send you one to try... I prefer my hunt coats (tweeds and meltons) to be generous in size so I can add as many layers as I need underneath. Our hunt allow safety vests if worn under the hunt coat. Good luck to you!


    • #3
      If, for you, one the biggest reasons not to hunt is the clothing, you might not quite understand what you will be doing when you are hunting.

      I am in GA so it might be a lot colder there, but I hunt when it is in the thirties and don't get cold in regular hunt attire because we are moving most of the time. If you have any cashmere, I would recommend wearing that under your jacket because it is thin but warm.

      This is the secomd thread mentioning safety vests. I've only seen elderly hunters use them, and that was only twice. Whatever.


      • #4
        Originally posted by xeroxchick View Post
        If, for you, one the biggest reasons not to hunt is the clothing, you might not quite understand what you will be doing when you are hunting.

        I am in GA so it might be a lot colder there, but I hunt when it is in the thirties and don't get cold in regular hunt attire because we are moving most of the time.
        Oklahoma: Convection oven in the summer, industrial grade freezer in the winter.
        And this is the story of your red right ankle.


        • #5
          I would wear what you have or borrow a melton coat for the day.

          Many fox hunters have more than one coat (warmer vs cooler weather one, or one with colors on the collar and one with out so they can go visiting other hunts).

          I second using a cashmere sweater under you dressage coat if you have one. Or maybe get a smart wool camisole.

          Smart wool tights for your lower half are great and using the disposable toe or foot warmers are great for your boots that I'm sure probably won't allow room for a thicker sock. Better to have your toes be able to move than not.

          You can use the hand warmers in the palm of your gloves or place them in your pockets to warm up at checks.

          What are the expected temps for when you will ride? I would imagine that the hunt would have the newby day at a time in the season when the temps would be more moderate than extreme. It's hard to hook somebody on a sport if they are miserable from the weather their first time out.

          I hope you will give it a try and have a great time.


          • #6
            Under Armour is great, especially if your winter boots are big enough to wear a layer under your breeches. Dress to be a bit chilly when you get on because you will warm up and can't unbutton your coat if you get hot. (It's all rather silly, but that's hunting. Don't question Tradition, or you will be smited for an unbeliever.)

            If you can, try to give up the safety vest (Not Traditional, dahling) and select a riding group that doesn't make you nervous to ride without it. Nothing says you have to jump as high on the hunt field as you school cross country, or jump at all for that matter.


            • #7
              I'd not make it through the season without UnderArmour.

              Just wear some longjohns or UnderArmour under your coat. Easy peasy.

              The fee you refer to is a cap. Guests are always welcome to hunt but they are asked to pay a small fee to help defray the costs to the club.

              You may be warmer than you think. If its a rip roaring day there isn't much time to even think about being cold.

              Have fun!
              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling


              • #8
                A thin but warm white turtleneck, long sleeve, with a white stock and your black dressage coat, buff / beige breeches with a belt, and black boots and black helmet/helmet cover would be proper, along with a pair of gloves. If you think you can't be warm enough under the coat, add the above mentioned underwear things (I'm not an Under Armor person because I dislike the compression). You will be warm enough after the first trot, usually!

                I do not know what you would do with the safety vest. I think you should ask. Some hunts understand and don't mind wearing over the coat. Some do mind and want it under the coat. Find out if you can.

                Many in my area have found beautiful black wool hunt coats in the second hand and thrift shops! So don't despair. You will be dressed well enough with the coat and some underwear, I would think. Ask if you're not sure! And have a lot of fun. It's like cross country with friends!
                Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                • #9
                  Do try to go, if you can. Make the effort--hunting is a blast! I hope you get off on the right foot. There can be a feeling that it's cliquish and snobby. That depends very much on the hunt. The traditions are there for a reason, and it's a treat to be part of a well turned out field.

                  Good suggestions so far to borrow a coat that allows for layering. Hunting dress is simple and classic. Black coat, beige breeches, polished black tall boots, white shirt, black hunt cap. A stock tie is nice, if you can manage. Wear your hair neatly contained, use a clean white shaped (not square, not colored)saddle pad. Simple flat brown tack is the best. Don't use a white lined bridle or blingy browband.

                  Dressing appropriately is a sign of respect to the sport, the organizers, and the landowners where you hunt. Perhaps you could arrange to go out on an informal day. Depending on the hunt, a lot of times you can find a tweed blazer at a thrift shop that would be just fine, worn with beige breeches, a shirt and necktie, and black boots and helmet.

                  Contact the hunt secretary and explain your interest, if that's not who you spoke to previously. He or she can give you some guidelines and pointers. There is a wealth of info online, especially through the MFHA website. Perhaps you could find a member or two to mentor you. Many hunts request that a new hunter ride as a guest with an established member. Even if they don't, that's a terrific way to learn the ropes.

                  Hunts in the western US can be more forgiving. Our mounted beagle pack here in AZ is pretty informal, and we have so much fun it should be a controlled substance. But I was always troubled by one member who showed up for years wearing a sweatshirt on our formal days. Everyone else had gone to the trouble to put together hunting attire, got up early to iron a stock tie and make sure the horse was clean. She was a nice lady and always welcomed but it was insulting to some of us. We never have had so many members that we sent anyone packing!

                  In the East, some hunts even have a dress code for hound exercise. Just talk to people who actually belong to the hunt in question. If you don't get a warm welcome, find another hunt.


                  • #10
                    I love hunting, and enjoy dressing the part, but I'm not sure I'd want to join a hunt that genuinely would prefer a prospective new member stayed home than wore a vest to an intro clinic.

                    Is there only one contact person?

                    Is it possible that it is a misunderstanding? For example they assumed you would be happy in your dressage gear so suggested that?


                    • Original Poster

                      Well, I am gonna have to skip it, I afraid to say. No one to borrow a coat from for one thing. Not alot of fox hunters in this area.
                      And buying new clothes, even underware, for one day just does't make good sense.
                      No beige or tan breeches either. White, black, other colors only. And again kinda silly to buy another pair of breeches...
                      As for vest...my mare is dirty, even not at jumps. And 17.2. Ouch.
                      Hubby would also be riding so it would double everything.
                      Yes, we might love but the nearest is several hours away so we would do very little of it.
                      Guess I will stick to eventing to get my cross contry thrills.

                      But thanks for all the help.

                      And I do understand the reasons for attire "rules". I was just hoping that for a newvie who is just trying it for the first time that the requirements would be more forgiving.

                      Thanks again though.


                      • #12
                        Honestly, though, I can't imagine they'd be too put off if you're both clean and tidy. Well, and not wearing something neon or sparkly...

                        The western hunts tend to be generally tolerant of attire & thrilled to have new folks out.

                        PM me the size of clothing you would need; if I've got it, I'd be happy to loan it. I even have some men's stuff, so send hub's size, also. Which hunt?
                        ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                        • #13
                          I would encourage you to ask the contact person about attire requirements (if any) in more detail, then! Sounds like it could be a fun day, you're not planning to hunt regularly at this point, and they have a trail riding group, so could be pretty low-key. Permitted attire can vary rather widely from hunt to hunt, so rather than ask here, and get discouraged, why not ask the organizers?

                          Probably, when you were told to wear your dressage attire, the person telling you thought that would make it easy for you. Do you wear your dressage jacket for SJ also? I guess I like my jackets looser, but I can't imagine not being able to fit a warm layer or two under mine....

                          For a clinic/ intro to hunting situation, I would be surprised if they minded you wearing a vest, especially if it's on the more subdued side of the color possibilities....

                          Then you may just get hooked, and decide you need some beige breeches and a looser, warmer coat anyway!
                          Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                          • #14
                            Likewise. I'm using my hunt clothes this weekend, but after that would be willing to mail out clothes to you; you can just send them back. PM me if you're interested.

                            Don't give up yet. If you really want to hunt, at least show up to see the hunt go off and introduce yourself. You may have a chance to visit with the master or secretary and find out more about their expectations, and you may decide it's worth your while to pick up some used gear that you can hunt in.


                            • #15
                              I dunno - I used to event (low level stuff) and I had to conform to USCTA (at the time) rules just to "try out" the sport.

                              Including buying a very expensive safety vest. Which is gathering dust in my tack room.

                              It's not 30 below zero, even in Oklahoma. I bought a white turtleneck at Wal-Mart for 5$ - I wear that under my coat unless it's bitter - then I switch to UnderArmour. But that cheap turtleneck works great.

                              You're making this out to be awfully dramatic. The hunt is welcoming people - and the first thing you did was complain that they are charging a cap. Well - when is the last time you competed at a horse trial for free? I mostly did schooling shows and unrecognized - because I could not afford the fees for recognized events, and I had to pay, plus wear a very expensive vest, plus ID card, plus conform to the rules. And I did it with a freakin' smile on my face because those were the rules and expectations and I conformed to them in order to participate.

                              I sincerely doubt the situation is that dire. Just call the Secretary and express your desire to come out - but say you really don't have the correct britches. The Secretary will probably tell you to just come out and have a good time - and stay in the back or something.

                              No need to whine about it - or complain. The purpose of hosting a "first timers" is to get newcomers to try out the sport. Everyone knows that the riders will be green, the horses too, and everything is relaxed for that reason.

                              There is NO expectation that you run out and spend a fortune just to hunt for a few hours.

                              I dunno - I hunt in Virginia which is sort of the "Mecca" for foxhunting. And my main club is rather a stickler for turnout - for MEMBERS. Guests, newcomers, folks starting out - all we want them to do is SHOW UP - and we welcome them with open arms and a big smile. The clinics and schooling sessions - very relaxed.

                              I think you'll find that if you just call back and let them know what's going on - it will be No Big Deal.

                              Though if you have a "dirty" horse - do everyone else a favor and keep that horse in the back. Just a safety PSA.

                              Go for it - have fun.

                              Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                              Well, I am gonna have to skip it, I afraid to say. No one to borrow a coat from for one thing. Not alot of fox hunters in this area.
                              And buying new clothes, even underware, for one day just does't make good sense.
                              No beige or tan breeches either. White, black, other colors only. And again kinda silly to buy another pair of breeches...
                              As for vest...my mare is dirty, even not at jumps. And 17.2. Ouch.
                              Hubby would also be riding so it would double everything.
                              Yes, we might love but the nearest is several hours away so we would do very little of it.
                              Guess I will stick to eventing to get my cross contry thrills.

                              But thanks for all the help.

                              And I do understand the reasons for attire "rules". I was just hoping that for a newvie who is just trying it for the first time that the requirements would be more forgiving.

                              Thanks again though.
                              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                              -Rudyard Kipling


                              • #16
                                Meghan -

                                Try again...but do it next year, and during cubbing season. Rules are very much "relaxed" during cubbing - I know of several hunts will allow members (and prospective members) to dress in polo shirts, safety vests, black leather half-chaps with paddock boots.

                                If you end up enjoying the sport, then invest in the clothing.


                                • #17
                                  Seriously, clean black boots, a black or navy coat, a white turtleneck, a white sweatshirt under the turtleneck, a white stock tie (it's just a rectangular piece of fabric), and light colored breeches (white if it is all you have) will be more than acceptable for capping as a guest.

                                  I also fail to see the need for unnecessary drama.


                                  • #18
                                    If you're eventing, why do you only have white breeches? White breeches are only correct for dressage at advanced level and FEI 3* + events, when you're wearing tails. You should be wearing beige, cream or off white at anything less than advanced and for your stadium.


                                    • #19
                                      You've gotten some really good suggestions here. If you have white breeches, I'm sure they'd let you wear them.

                                      Our hunt is pretty relaxed when it comes to guests and for clinics.

                                      The only sticking point I see is the vest. The only people I know who wear them use them under their jackets.

                                      However, if you have a horse that is so "dirty" that you can't go on an intro hunt experience without a vest, it might not be the best horse for hunting. We always suggest people start at the level where they feel comfortable (we have a third field for people who just want to walk/trot) but I've never seen anyone wear a vest over their jacket.

                                      It is a ton of fun, so I encourage you to try it out.
                                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                      • #20
                                        the last time I went out as a guest

                                        I was lucky to have the opportunity to go out on the guest hunt the Sunday after Hunt Races. I was super lucky to get to ride a fabulous mare who regularly wins the Masters Cup.

                                        Attire was relaxed for all the folks who came to support the races.

                                        I flew across the country with a carry on.

                                        I wore my tall boots, clean britches, my eventing vest, an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket and my Tipperary helmet. I brought my Bow Flex stirrups.

                                        We had a great day. I was warmly received by everyone. And I was invited back (to ride the same wonderful mare).

                                        I had my capping fee in an envelope with my rider's release which I handed to the Secretary with my thanks.
                                        A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton