Sunday, 13 April 2014

RED ( "PINK" ) Hunting Coat.

Mounted hunt followers typically wear traditional hunting attire. A prominent feature of hunts operating during the formal hunt season (usually November to March in the northern hemisphere) is hunt members wearing 'colours'. This attire usually consists of the traditional red coats worn by huntsmen, masters, former masters, whippers-in (regardless of sex), other hunt staff members and male members who have been invited to wear colours as a mark of honour. Since the Hunting Act in England and Wales, only Masters and Hunt Servants tend to wear red coats or the hunt livery whilst out hunting. Gentleman subscribers tend to wear black coats, with or without hunt buttons. Ladies generally wear coloured collars on their black or navy coats. These help them stand out from the rest of the field.

The traditional red coats are often misleadingly called "pinks". Various theories about the derivation of this term have been given, ranging from the colour of a weathered scarlet coat to the name of a purportedly famous tailor.

Some hunts, including most harrier and beagle packs, wear green rather than red jackets. The colour of breeches vary from hunt to hunt and are generally of one colour, though two or three colours throughout the year may be permitted. Boots are generally English dress boots (no laces). For the men they are black with brown leather tops (called tan tops), and for the ladies, black with a patent black leather top of similar proportion to the men. Additionally, the number of buttons is significant. The Master wears a scarlet coat with four brass buttons while the huntsman and other professional staff wear five. Amateur whippers-in also wear four buttons.

Another differentiation in dress between the amateur and professional staff is found in the ribbons at the back of the hunt cap. The professional staff wear their hat ribbons down, while amateur staff and members of the field wear their ribbons up.

Those members not entitled to wear colours, dress in a black hunt coat and unadorned black buttons for both men and ladies, generally with pale breeches. Boots are all English dress boots and have no other distinctive look. Some hunts also further restrict the wear of formal attire to weekends and holidays and wear ratcatcher (tweed jacket and tan breeches), at all other times.

Other members of the mounted field follow strict rules of clothing etiquette. For example, those under eighteen will wear ratcatcher all season. Those over eighteen will wear ratcatcher during Autumn hunting from late August until the Opening Meet, normally around November 1. From the Opening Meet they will switch to formal hunting attire where entitled members will wear scarlet and the rest black or navy. The highest honour is to be awarded the hunt button by the Hunt Master. This means one can then wear scarlet if male, or the hunt collar if female (colour varies from hunt to hunt) and buttons with the hunt crest on them. All members of the mounted field should carry a hunting whip (it should not be called a crop). These have a horn handle at the top and a long leather lash (2-3 yards) ending in a piece of coloured cord. Generally all hunting whips are brown, except those of Hunt Servants, whose whips are white.

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