|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 2011 USEF Rule Book for hunter attire for riding astride, and follow each 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 EQ109 Hunter Seat Equitation Appointments:
"Riders should wear coats of any tweed or Melton for hunting (conservative wash jackets in season), breeches or jodhpurs and boots. Conservative colored protective headgear with no additional adornments in accordance with GR801.3 is mandatory."
USEF Rule EQ109: Coats
"Riders should wear coats of any tweed or Melton for hunting (conservative wash jackets in season)"
Choose a dark colored hunt coat. Though colors are not specified in the rule, dark blue and black are the most popular choices currently. 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 standup collar and choker. White is the classic color choice for equitation, but a very pale-colored shirt that coordinates with your jacket is acceptable.
For equitation, forego the stock pin on your shirt collar in place of a monogram. Choose a subtle color for the monogram or one to match your jacket.
USEF Rule EQ109: Breeches or Jodhpurs
"breeches or jodhpurs"
Choose to wear beige, green-beige or tan colored breeches. The breeches can be either side-zip or front-zip in style. Various styles of breeches from Tailored Sportsman, such as the Royal Hunter Low Rise Breech and the Supreme Hunter Low Rise Breech, 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.
USEF Rule EQ 109: 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 109: Headgear
"Conservative colored protective headgear with no additional adornments in accordance with GR801.3 is mandatory."
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 XR9 Helmet.
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 look by choosing a pair of black gloves. To suit riders' individual preferences, you'll discover many styles of show gloves in both leather and synthetic fabrics. Consider special design features that may assist you with your riding comfort, such as flexible gussets between the fingers, added textures for grip and ventilation panels to keep your hands cool. 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 HU127.1:
"Formal Attire. Riders are required to wear scarlet or dark coats; white shirts with white stock; white, buff or canary breeches and protective headgear. See GR801. All Hunter and Hunt Seat equitation riders must wear protective headgear while jumping in accordance with General Rules, GR801.2. In classes restricted to junior exhibitors protective headgear must be worn in accordance with GR801."
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 and points may be substituted for a canary vest, although canary is the most formal color.