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A couple of turnout questions...

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  • A couple of turnout questions...

    I have been happily hunting all season long, and feel that though I am presentable, I also ride with a hunt who is fairly "relaxed" when it comes to turnout.

    I have two possibly superficial questions and observations.

    1. Hair

    While the handbook generally states that hair be kept in a net, there seems to be several variations. Some ladies in my hunt wear a net and tuck their hair in to their helmets (hunter hair). Others put the net on, and have the hairnet exposed. My helmet is not generous enough to accommodate my hair up, and I have noticed that often times hair becomes dislodged from the net during our more "brisk" days for those that do not "tuck. I have been wearing a show bow, which makes my show hunter friends cringe as they have been out of fashion for some time in the show ring. While that may be the case, I feel they give a more feminine look while out hunting. Am I wrong? Should I be conforming and tucking my hair (and subsequently purchasing a new helmet??)? As I have not attended any joint meets, I have not seen what other ladies are doing.

    2. Saddle pads/numnahs.

    While the handbook calls for white fitted saddle pads, and I have been hunting in one the entire time, i'm wondering if a dark pad is not permissible? Whilst hunting in the UK, I always used a black or dark brown sheepskin numnah. The white seems very eye-catching, not subtle, and is quite honestly impossible to keep looking reasonable after a few rides. Would a dark fitted saddle pad be acceptable?


  • #2
    Fashion Police response!

    We ,here in the Snobbington Hunt ,believe that it's the loose, flying strands of hair blowing about your helmet that is....shall we say...distracting or objectionable! Under the helmet is not necessary especially because our members have such big heads that would never work! Just a hairnet, braid, tidy upper is needed! The bow thing works too. It's the elegant look you should strive for! And yes if it all comes apart on a run? Then we know you had a good time!
    Sorry but a white/beige, saddle shaped fleece/sheepskin saddle pad is the standard for most hunts. No dressage pads, no colors, no print, and just the right ammount of edging showing is ideal! Lately a lot of us have been using half pads too. Again sized for the saddle. BUT, honestly, just use your best pads and leave the trail riding pads home.
    The goal is to look good and not call attention to yourself. Now don't get us started about the various helmets out there these days. We find the skunk helmets distracting too! Just sayin'! Keep smiling and never let them see you sweat!
    And for a fun read; go to some old Snobbington Hunt threads and view some of our suggestions for saddlepads....


    • #3
      I'll speak to the hair portion

      First, you need to contain and control your hair before you put your hair net on. Either braid, ponytail, whathaveyou. Then, after you have tamed your locks, put on a good hair net, or two, bobby pin and spray accordingly.
      If you have so much hair that the back of the hairnet ends up looking like a snood, you can do a ponytail type bun after you put the hairnet on as well with an elastic band the same color as the hairnet. Just double it over a couple of times.

      White Rain is your friend.. if you do it properly, you will absolutely be wearing some sort of hat to the breakfast.

      Ditch the show bow, it isn't about being girly.

      If it were an informal day,cubbing, I "might" ( I have, no one noticed) use a dark brown saddle pad if I had a dark brown horse. A flat one like the kind Stubben makes, not a fluffy one. If my horse were not the same color as the saddle pad (mine is) I would go with white. My saddle pad is only about a half inch larger than my saddle, so you can barely see it anyway. I probably have an even dozen nice, white saddle pads, I rotate them so they never get so awful they couldn't be used. That said, the cheap ones do not clean up as well as the expensive ones do.

      That said, as always, ask your Master or Secretary for accurate horse attire information, these things vary greatly from one hunt to another.


      • #4

        I have long hair that reaches to the middle of my back. This is how I contain my hair.

        I braid my hair starting at the base of my neck. Tie that off.

        I put on a good quality hair net and take the excess end of my braid and tuck it under the base of my braid. I use another band to hold it all together. I end up with a very small knot of hair that sticks out the back of my helmet. Very similar to how you would do a button braid when braiding a horses mane.

        I have a thick head of very straight, fine, and very slick hair. This is what keeps it all together, even on days were you have a blistering run.

        If you have long hair with layers, I'm not sure how to deal with that. Maybe try french braiding and then finish with tucking the end of the braid into/under the base of the braid.


        I have always used white shaped pads / numnahs. Although when I look at photos from England and I see the brown/black pads I think they look better. It's almost as if they don't have a pad on at all. Less distracting to the eye.

        I try to make sure the pad I'm using is as close to being the same size as my saddle as possible. This cuts down on the amount material that would show the mud splatter stains.


        • #5
          Wow- I'm sometimes thankful that we don't have that strict a dress code here in NZ.
          Hair should be tidy, but hairnets are almost unheard of.
          And whilst most hunts have their own saddle blankets (as they're called over here) they are totally optional. Not many use white, for practical reasons, and the majority use square ones - including "official" hunt saddle blankets. These more often than not have a large sewn-on pocket for carrying hip flasks, water bottles etc.
          For weekend hunts (where we have larger fields) I put white square pads on the horses, as I feel it looks better on the huntsmans horse, but mid-week even they only have black saddle pads. =)


          • #6
            Yep, as Otterhound says, NZ is quite a lot less formal! I do wear a hairnet though, as otherwise I have lots of flyaway bits of hair around my helmet. I just twist it into a low bun, tie it up, stick a hairnet on top and twist that round the bun. Probably doesn't bear close scrutiny, but I never see it

            Pads: the big square ones in the hunt colour are the go here - mine (dark green) has big pockets with velcro tops for baling twine, water, wire cutters, etc. Very glad I don't have to do white!

            Funnily enough shaped pads are quite uncommon in NZ for any discipline except showing. Don't know why as I think they look really good when they fit well.


            • Original Poster

              Thank you to everyone for the descriptions! I was just looking at some photos from the side saddle meet, and could not quite figure how they were doing their hair! I believe the button braid analogy is what some were doing, which I rather like! I shall try that method next Saturday and forgo my show bow (begrudgingly!).

              I'll continue with the status quo re: white saddle pad. I'm on a green horse, of rather loud markings, so we have a hard enough time trying to blend in with the sea of well behaved bays.


              • #8
                I have a black and white pinto, so based on availability of clean pads (what is this 'doing laundry' that you speak of?!) I have used a black, well fitted pad. Its black on black at that point, and I agree that it is actually less distracting than white. But I wouldn't do that for a Saturday hunt when I knew there'd be a good turnout. Now a wednesday in a monsoon, sure.

                I do my hair by placing the entire mop in a hairnet and pull hairnet down over ears, forehead, etc. Pull hairnet and hair snug in ponytail at base of neck, and try to keep amount pulled through the elastic small, to create a bundle rather than a long tail. Push back from forehead into edge of hairline, and carefully tug a small amount over ears to create the slight 'flaps' of hair over ears. Do not loosen the edge of the net, just a flap of the net and hair. Put helmet on. Hair stays in and ears never fall off in biting winds. Win win. 'Flaps' as I so flatteringly call them, seem to help prevent the strays from popping out at my temples also.

                Personally it does bug me when I see someone with stray hairs hanging out at their ears though, and I'm a long way from being a turnout snob.


                • #9
                  Try a snood.

                  I have long thick hair - it used to be a lot longer than it is now. It was too much to fit up in my helmet. I tried a show bow but that didn't work either - the barrett wasn't big enough. Finally I tried a snood and that worked very well. I cut my hair a bit and now it fits up in my helmet neatly without compromising the fit of the helmet.

                  So my guess is that a snood might work for you.

                  On the pad - I can't help you as I'm a fitted white pad kind of person. Whatever is considered acceptable with your club should be what you do.
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ISR View Post
                    Thank you to everyone for the descriptions! I was just looking at some photos from the side saddle meet, and could not quite figure how they were doing their hair! I believe the button braid analogy is what some were doing, which I rather like! I shall try that method next Saturday and forgo my show bow (begrudgingly!).
                    By tradition, side saddle riders wear their hair in a bun if wearing a top hat - so that it what you should have mostly seen in the pics. It should ideally be no larger than the size of a fist, therefore some ladies with lots of hair have to make two buns - one on top of their head to go up into the top hat, and the other in the bun on the back of the head.

                    But always, always a hair net. It is so utterly distracting to see hair flying every which way, or sticking out from under a helmet.

                    In the US, white/natural fitted real or artificial fleece pads are de rigueur. You may see British/Irish-born hunt staff wearing brown or black fleece pads, but not usually US-born hunt staff. I personally really dislike square pads in the hunt field (and it is very much not done at the NoVA hunts), as I see them as schooling pads, but there are some hunts where that is common and accepted. Likewise, it is very common over in Ireland/UK, but people usually stick to white, black, or brown, depending on what is least distracting on their horse.

                    But, as with any attire, the "rules" are entirely up to your MFH(s).
                    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


                    • #11
                      When my hair is long, I usually do a sort of a button braid/mud knot with it.

                      Braid the length, fold it over a few times, secure with rubber bands, bobby pins, etc. I've been known to use braiding rubber bands, electrical tape, whatever's at hand.

                      Cover with hair net 'cos I hate wispies on my ears/face. Secure net with another band around the knot/bun/thing.

                      I'll use a show bow if that's all I've managed to bring with me. I find them best applied if you ponytail or braid your hair first, then attach the barrette part above the rubber band. Then, it doesn't slide off your hair.
                      ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~


                      • #12
                        I do a two strand twist with my long hair, then I wrap it into a tight knot and secure it with an elastic at the base. I put the hair net over the knot, twist it once, then pull the rest of the net over the hair on my head.


                        • #13
                          I (and one of the whips) braid our very long hair in a single braid and tuck it down the backs of our jackets. Seems to be sufficient at my hunt.