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Correct Attire for the Hunter Ring

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)”

Dover Tip
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” Dover Tip
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
“Boots”

Dover Tip
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.”

Dover Tip
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.

Formal Classes
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”

Dover Tip
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 [link to Grand Prix Hunter Shadbelly #4051] 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.

USEF Rule: Shirts and Ties
“white shirts with white stock”

Dover Tip
For formal classes, the shirt and tie you should wear depends on the style of coat you wear. Ladies should pair a traditional hunt coat with a white show shirt that has either a white standup collar or wrapneck. Men should pair a hunt coat with a white shirt and white tie; some men may choose to wear a stock tie, though these are traditionally worn with a shadbelly.

If you’re wearing a scarlet coat, pair it with a white shirt worn with a white stock tie, four-fold preferred, and finished with a plain gold stock pin fastened horizontally. Certain members of the hunt may wear the pin vertically.

If you’re wearing a shadbelly, wear a white shirt with a white stock tie, four-fold preferred, and finished with a plain gold pin that is fastened horizontally.

USEF Rule: Breeches
“white, buff or canary breeches”

Dover Tip
Beige and tan are the most popular colors for breeches to wear with a traditional hunt coat. White breeches are commonly worn with a shadbelly or a scarlet coat. Be sure to wear a conservatively styled belt with your breeches.

USEF Rule: Headgear
“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.”

Dover Tip
Wear an ASTM/SEI certified helmet, such as the Charles Owen AYR8 Classic. Black is the wisest color choice, but consult your trainer for local preferences.

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 Tips: Boots and Gloves
Choose tall, black leather boots that are shined to a high gloss. Hunter dress boots, such as the Westchester Zip Boot, are the most formal choice, but field boots such as the Mountain Horse Venice Zip are also quite common and acceptable. Consult your trainer for the most appropriate choice for your classes.

Spurs, if worn, should be clean and shiny and positioned high on the heel.

Black gloves are preferred for this class in most geographic locations. Leather or leather look is most appropriate, and you’ll find numerous options on the market to suit your taste.

USEF Rule HU127.2: Heat/Jackets Waived
“When management permits Hunter or Hunter Seat Equitation riders to ride without jackets, riders must wear traditional, short, or long-sleeved riding shirts with chokers or ties.”

Dover Tip
When jackets are waived, you may choose to wear your jacket in the show ring anyway if you feel more comfortable doing so. If you ride without a jacket, you should wear a show shirt that meets the USEF rule criteria; it should be tucked into your breeches and you should wear a belt if your breeches have belt loops. Your shirt may have a wrapneck or a standup collar with choker. Some riders feel that when riding without a jacket, a long-sleeved shirt presents a nicer appearance than a short-sleeved shirt.

Dover Tip: Informal Hunter Classes
For informal classes, you can choose a hunt coat in a dark, conservative color or in a muted color such as gray or brown that complements the color of your horse. Wear a show shirt that has a wrapneck or standup collar and choker. Your shirt can be white, pastel or have a subtle stripe or check pattern. Stock pins are not required on chokers; monogramming is suggested. Select a monogram color that complements your jacket and shirt.

Choose buff, beige, tan, light gray or rust breeches—but never a dark colored breech—and top them with a belt. Select an ASTM/SEI certified helmet in black. Choose tall black leather boots.

Junior riders may wear paddock boots with jodhpurs and garter straps. Both paddock boots and garters should be brown. Spurs, if worn, should be clean and shiny. Black gloves are preferred to finish off the look of the show ensemble.

Show Tip
Any rider can wear a protective vest designed for equestrian use without penalty from the judge.

For more assistance or to request a catalog, call 1-800-989-1500 to speak with a Dover Saddlery product advisor, or stop by any of our retail stores. Visit DoverSaddlery.com for a complete store listing and the full product offering. Note: Members of the Armed Services or the Police may wear the Service Dress Uniform according to USEF Rule HU 127.1.