An idiot needs advice please...

I purchased new custom dress boots over the summer. I had tons of choices to choose from and I wanted something slightly unique. I told the tack shop owner my dream is to fox hunt and she advised these lovely dress boots with patent leather tops- they are so pretty! Now I am beginning to hunt, I just joined my local hunt, and I’ve realized that these boots are meant for ‘members with colors’ only. I am so angry with myself for not researching this properly!!!

This is where I need advice. Here are my options:

1.) Wear the inappropriate boots and pray I don’t offend anyone.
2.) Wear my old field boots and do my best to make them look presentable.
3.) Actually, I’m out of ideas…

Please help me out…I can’t believe I’ve done this!

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I forgot! Thank you all for any advice you can give me!!! Thank you!!!

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Wear your old field boots. At least they are more appropriate than ones with patent leather tops which are NOT.


Check with whoever made your custom boots and ask if they can remove the patent tops. Frequently the tops are stitched on as an extra layer. You will want to contact the actual maker of the boots, for example Dehner, not the tack store rep who got the critical information needed for the order wrong.

If you can’t get help from the manufacturer, then call Journeyman Saddlers in Middleburg, Va. and speak to “Punkin”. She is wonderful at solving dilemmas.:slight_smile:


Option #2…unless;

You want to be viewed as a poser/upstart/ignoramus/wannabe, or the subject of scorn and derision.:smiley:

You may be able to find something suitable used, at a consignment store or ebay, until of course you have earned your colours.

I wouldn’t wear them until I earned my colors. Could you go to a cobbler and cover them with plain leather until you earn them?

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Thank you for your advice. By nature I am a bit of a goofball but as it is right now people must actually speak to me before discovering this fact… It would be best if my boots didn’t give me away before I even opened my mouth.

I have contacted the manufacturer and hopefully they will be able to help me, otherwise I will give Ms.Punkin a call. Meanwhile, field boots it is!!

I guess this is what I get for trying to be Miss Fancy Pants.

Thank you all again!! I hope you have a wonderful hunting season.


I think you ought to also let the tackshop owner know that she advised you incorrectly just so she doesn’t provide the same advise again. I feel for you but the mess can be corrected I am sure. Happy hunting.


There are lots of “used” hunting boots in the field

When you get through hyper-ventilating at being a brand new newbie in the hunt field, you will start noticing that the field boots of the members who have the most years actually riding to hounds, have scarred up boots. A thorn thicket here, a too close encounter with a post there, a back up into a tree, or an interesting river or stream crossing that turned into a swim. Not to mention a fall or two. It is a bit like those dueling scars we use to hear about in the swashbuckling movies.

The really advanced poseurs promenade around Middleburg in their riding clothes, thinking they look fashionably part of the hunting fraternity. The inside calves of their boots are bright new and shiny- giving them away. My personal favorite is a woman wearing tan tops on her expensive designer knock-offs…

Please note your new boots will be fine after a few rides to break them in. If you have the rest of the attire right, you will be granted some newbie learning time. Just ask your mentors for lots of help and they will help you learn the ways. They will also diffuse any snarky types. We WANT you to hunt and be as addicted as the rest of us!:smiley:

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Well Miss Fancy Pants, you have given me a real chuckle this evening with your great ability to have a laugh at yourself.

Your mishap with your boots sounds like something I would do and good thing we don’t ride together otherwise we’d either have the field in stitches or forever ticked at us.

Thanks for the chuckle and happy hunting to you.

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The really advanced poseurs promenade around Middleburg in their riding clothes, thinking they look fashionably part of the hunting fraternity. The inside calves of their boots are bright new and shiny- giving them away. My personal favorite is a woman wearing tan tops on her expensive designer knock-offs…

Get OUT!!! Why do I never see this when I’m there? Anyone got any photos? Video? :lol:

Hey OP - I think you’re a hoot and would love to hunt with you. Keep your fancy tops for when you earn your colors (which I’m sure will be in no time) - and wear your field boots.

Anything new soon gets… um… broken in rather quickly. Broken in, ripped, stained - etc.

The first time I hunted on my new horse, I leaned over as we cantered under the branch of a cedar tree. I hear and feel this rrrrriiiiiiippppp sound down my back and then I remembered.

My other field hunter is 16h.
The new one is 17.2h. :smiley:

I spent the rest of the day with my jacket flapping in the wind. But hey - now it’s broken in and patched up like a proper hunting jacket should be.

Welcome aboard! With your sense of humor you’re going to fit right in.


just my 2 sense!

Yup! vote you wear your field boots. Heck, these days around here many hunts allow black field boots even during formal season. Not to worry. I’d have the patents removed. I think ANY good cobbler can do it. They are added and the stitching can be undone. It might leave a mark but still no biggie! It’s easy to do, very easy.

Can’t help wondering if the tack shop could/would pay your bill too btw. :uhoh::sigh: I’d whine big time! You got bad, bad advice.

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There are holes inside the calves of my old boots

My DH upon seeing my bedraggled old boots, with threadbare insides, complete with holes, said “you can’t go out like that!” I explained that I spent years in the saddle earning those wrinkles and holes, and any real horseman that saw my boots would give them the respect they deserved.

He bought me 2 new pair, one field(brown) and a black dress pair. The field boots are already broken in and the dress boots will be by the end of the season.

That said, I know many women in our hunt with colors, and I don’t think I’ve seen any but one ever wear the patent leather tops.

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In all honesty, I knew red tops were customary for members with colors but I didn’t realize patent tops were tradition as well.
I’ve got a lot to learn…

I behaved a bit like a crow and flocked right to the bright shiny new thing…

Well, unless I can get them fixed I have some super sporty schooling boots! They are insanely comfy and I do spend the majority of my time schooling at home so I guess it works out to wear the comfiest boots the most often (At least that is what I’m telling myself!!!). :slight_smile:

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I feel so much better! I found a lovely black formal coat for my first season and was chattering on about it to the cashier. She gleaned very quickly that I was a newbie, and actually quite kindly, informed me that only members with colors wore frock coats.

But, a Master had to tell me my pelham was on upside down… Thank god for tolerant horses.

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I hope your horse got a lot of cookies for that!!!

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I drop to my knees on the ground before him after every hunt and beg forgiveness and offer thanks – plus present offerings of many many Mrs. Pastures cookies.


You really need to get a friend

Someone who has been a member of your hunt, presumably your sponsor, to steer you in the right direction. The only stupid question will be the one you don’t ask. Everyone has to learn, and it’s much easier to learn ahead of time, before making an expensive and silly mistake.


[quote=BluesBuster;5907497]In all honesty, I knew red tops were customary for members with colors but I didn’t realize patent tops were tradition as well.
I’ve got a lot to learn…

Patent tops are for ladies with colors. The tan/reddish tops are generally for gentlemen and are worn with white britches.

My suggestion? Read/obtain this little gem. “Riding to Hounds in North America” by William Wadsworth. Try a google search for it - it’s out of print but you can find it used.

It’s not a “bible of foxhunting” per se - but it is a wonderful primer on the very basics of hunting. Turnout for horse and rider is a big part of it. So is field etiquette. If you read that book - you will find yourself well prepared to hunt with any hunt in the US. What you will find is that turnout is VERY basic. So is tack. And the manners expected of horse and rider in the field will help keep you, your horse, and the hounds safe and your hunting enjoyable.

Also check out the Master of Foxhounds Association Website (don’t skip the intro - and turn up the sound!) There will be helpful information on that site as well.

Good luck.


Dear Blues Buster,

I get to have an opinion, as I have been hunting since '67 (not 1867, despite the rumours.)

Here is what you must do. Put your perfect topped boots away in a box, taking care to store them correctly. Next, become a perfect member of whatever hunt you have joined. Arrive on time, don’t follow others too closely when riding, open gates, help with trail clearing, help with fundraising events, don’t chatter while hounds are working, etc. etc. Secretly, in your heart-of-hearts, hope that someday you will be awarded colors and thus be invited to wear your lovely boots along with them. Never voice this aloud; make it your secret dream. Once or twice a year you may take your boots out of the box to admire them and condition them. Put them back until the hoped-for day when your value to the hunt is publicly recognized by the entire membership. Once this happens, you may be justly proud, but I hope not so proud that you lord it over newcomers who, like an earlier you, are trying to learn the ropes.

And have fun.
Paul Mellon’s love child