|Correct Attire for the Hunter Ring|
A neat, clean and traditional appearance will give you a competitive edge in the hunter ring. In fact, it is the tradition of the competition arena that riders be correctly dressed. Here we quote the 2017 USEF Rule Book for hunter show attire for riding astride, and follow the rule with tips from Dover Saddlery's product advisors to help you make the right choices while assembling your show outfit. For attire guidelines for riding side saddle, refer to the USEF Rule Book.
Note: Always check the USEF web site for rule changes prior to your competition.
Hunter Equitation Classes
Dress Code Summary from USEF Rule Book EQ105.2 Hunter Seat Equitation Appointments:
"Riders are required to wear conservatively colored coats (black, blue, green, grey or brown) which are free from adornment which in the judge’s opinion is overly distracting. Shirts must have a choker, similar collar or tie. Breeches may be buff, canary, tan, rust or white."
Choose a dark colored hunt coat. Dark blue and black are the most popular choices, and they will remain timeless. Be sure that your coat fits well to help you present a neat appearance.
Under your coat, wear a button-down show shirt that has either a wrapneck or a collar topped by a choker. White is the classic color choice for equitation, but a very pale-colored shirt that coordinates with your jacket is acceptable.
Choose to wear beige or tan breeches. The breeches can be either side-zip or front-zip in style, whichever flatters your figure best. Breeches by THE TAILORED SPORTSMAN are popular with equitation riders. Very young children may wish to wear light-colored jodhpurs. A belt should always be worn with breeches that have belt loops; it should be conservative in style and match the color of the boots.
Choose tall, black leather field boots unless you're a child rider. The most popular choice of footwear for equitation riders is a pair of black field boots. Young children wearing jodhpurs should wear brown paddock boots with matching brown garters or knee straps.
USEF Rule EQ 105.1: Headgear
"Protective headgear. All riders must wear protective headgear… Headgear must be free from non-traditional adornment."
Wear an ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) certified helmet. Black is the wisest choice for hunter equitation classes, but consult with your trainer for local acceptable trends such as dark gray or navy blue. Examples of helmets that you might like to try include the Charles Owen JR8 Helmet and the IRH ATH SSV Helmet. Avoid helmets with crystal embellishments or colored trim
Long hair should be completely contained in a hairnet under your helmet, except for the case of short stirrup classes or very young riders, for which braids are acceptable.
Dover Tip: Gloves and Spurs
Finish your hunter show attire by choosing a pair of black gloves. You'll discover many styles of show gloves in both leather and synthetic fabrics. Product advisors at Dover Saddlery suggest that you ride in your show gloves several times before your competition to become accustomed to the feel of them.
Spurs, if worn, should be clean and shiny and positioned high on the heel.
USEF Dress Code Summary from USEF Rule Book HU128.1:
"Formal Attire. Riders are required to wear scarlet or dark coats; white shirts with white stock; white, buff or canary breeches. Protective headgear in accordance with GR801.2 is also required."
USEF Rule: Coats
"Riders are required to wear scarlet or dark coats"
For formal classes such as a Hunter Classic, you have several acceptable options for your jacket:
Traditional hunt coat in a dark, conservative color. Consult your trainer for appropriate choices in your geographic area. Some riders favor very dark blue or black, while others select very dark charcoal gray for their coat color.
Scarlet Coat: If you're a member of a recognized hunt and have earned your colors in the field, you may wear a red (referred to in the field as pink) coat.
Shadbelly: A shadbelly may also be worn, and if so, a canary vest should be worn with it. Points and tattersall vests may be substituted for a canary vest, although canary is the most formal color.