While many traditions regarding attire are similar from hunt to hunt, it is up to each hunt’s Masters to choose protocol for their hunt. Below is the MFHA guidelines for formal and informal attire for members of the field riding astride, if you would like more information please check out the following link: https://mfha.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/guidebook2015.pdf
- Black coat: Black hunting coat or frock coat cut same as scarlet coat are preferable to a shadbelly coat. Buttons should be plain or black. In hunts where the field wears black, members wear the hunt buttons on their black coats. If not awarded colors, buttons must be plain or black. There should be three (3) buttons on the front of the coat and two (2) buttons on back if frock coat. It is not customary to wear hunt colors on the collar of a black coat. It is customary that brass buttons on black coats are reserved for Masters and ex-Masters.
- Vest: Canary, tattersall or appropriate color designated by the Master.
- Breeches: May be tan, buff, of heavy cord, synthetic stretch twill or other heavy material.
- Hat: ASTM-approved safety helmet in black velvet with chin harness fastened is strongly recommended. Ribbon should be up. If you plan to wear a bowler, it is wise to check with the Master of the hunt, as some hunts do not allow them. Top hats, with optional hat-guard, may be worn with scarlet coat, frock coat or shadbelly coat, but they are not recommended by the MFHA.
- Boots: Plain black calf boots without tops are worn with black hunting coat. Brown-topped boots should be worn with a scarlet frock coat. Black field boots with laces are not considered proper formal boots. White or brown boot garters (to match breeches) may be worn.
- Hair: If long, it should be confined neatly.
- Neckwear: Plain white hunting stock, neatly tied and fastened with a plain, horizontal safety pin. Ends of the stock should be pinned down to remain tidy.
- Spurs: Of heavy pattern with moderately short neck and no rowels. Spurs should be set high on the boot just below the ankle, and the spur arms should be parallel to the ground. The buckle should be on top of the boot with the free end of the spur strap on the outside of the boot.
Informal Or Ratcatcher
- Hat: Plain ASTM-approved black or brown velvet helmet with chin strap is strongly recommended, ribbon up.
- Coat: Tweed or wool in muted color, tailored and single or double-vented.
- Shirt: Ratcatcher or other light-colored shirt. Stock tie (plain or colored) with horizontal pin, or man’s necktie. A plain or patterned muted-color stock or necktie, with ends pinned down to remain tidy. White stock ties are not correct. Neckbands are also appropriate for ladies. Turtlenecks and polo shirts are usually reserved for children but are used in some huntsthat experience hot temperatures during the hunting season.
- Breeches: Earth tone colors – buff, tan, gray or rust.
- Spurs: Regular hunting spurs with no rowels.
- Boots: Brown or black leather dress boots or brown field boots with laces. Formal boots with brown, patent or leather tops are not appropriate. Rubber boots are acceptable, as are canvas-topped (Newmarket) boots, and jodhpur boots with either canvas or leather leggings. Three-buckle brown field boots are also correct.
- Gloves: Black or brown leather or string gloves. White is not correct.
- Wire Cutters, Flask, Sandwich Case: Same as in formal attire.
- Crop: Regulation hunting whip. Thong or lash may be removed during cubhunting. White whip or lash is not correct.
At Shawnee Hounds we vary in our expectations in a few ways:
- At Shawnee Hounds, ALL riders must wear a helmet when mounted. Our insurance requires it, so there are no exceptions to this policy.
- Guests and First Year Members are not required to have all appropriate attire, although if possible, it is encouraged. Western, endurance or other style saddles are permitted.
- During Cubbing season (September – early November), polo shirts of any color other than red (reserved for hunt staff only) are permitted if expected temperatures are above 70 degrees at any point during the scheduled hunt time. Many members choose to wear blue shirts, but are not required to do so.
- For Wednesday hunts during Cubbing season, a long sleeve shirt or jacket (usually barber or outback) can be worn if the temperature is under 70.
- For Saturday hunts during Cubbing season, attire is “ratcatcher” which means tweed coats with a men’s tie or stock tie (colored or white). Vests are optional and do not have to be canary yellow. Field boots, brown boots, and dress boots are all correct during Cubbing. Helmets do not have to be the standard black.
- Once the Formal season starts (mid November – March) the formal attire as described in the Horse Country article is standard for Saturday hunts and ratcatcher is standard for Wednesday hunts
- Allowances may be made for inclement weather, with rain coats or winter coats permitted at the Masters’ discretion