Every hunt has two seasons: cub hunting when young hounds are introduced into the pack, and the formal season.
Informal attire: The cubbing season or Autumn hunting allows for less formal attire called "ratcatcher". Ratcatcher normally refers to a dark sport coat or hacking jacket and a shirt and tie or turtle neck shirt. In warmer climates coats are not required.
Cub hunting also is the period when horses and hounds are conditioned and trained. At the same time, the foxes learn to evade hounds and become conditioned and smarter by being chased for longer periods of time as the season progresses. During cub hunting hounds are hunted only long enough to assure they are hunting the proper game. They are not kept out for long.
Formal attire: Black leather boots, breeches, heavy or light hunting coat, a shirt with a tie or stock tie and a protective hat are called for.
When the formal season opens the staff wears its livery, often red coats with white breeches and black boots with tan leather tops.
Members who follow as the field wear black coats, buff breeches and black boots. Most hunts allow their gentlemen members who have been awarded their colors to wear red coats. Lady masters and members of the staff also often wear red coats. Some members add to the elegance and wear cutaway coats (red for men, black for ladies) with a top hat.
Hunting gear, which has changed little since foxhunting began, is based on practicality. The heavy boots and breeches protect riders from branches and brambles. Heavy melton coats are almost waterproof. The stock tie, fastened with a plain gold safety pin, can serve as a bandage for man, hound or horse in case of an accident.
Additional suggestions for proper hunt attire from the MFHA Guidebook & Rules.
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