Hair for Hunting and Appointment Classes

I’m looking for some formal advice on what hair is appropriate in the hunt field. I currently wear mine completely up in a hairnet just like hunter/jumpers. However, I’ve seen women with hair down in a hairnet and also in a low neat bun. Is the a specific way of doing a bun for hunting?

For appointments classes and with a top hat what is protocol here? Should hair be in a bun? Would there be a fake donut-like hair piece that you’re rolling your hair into to make it look like a ballerina? Or would it be something along the same lines as the buns that woman in Saddleseat competitions do? Is the entire head for an appointment to class covered by a hairnet including the bun or do you do your head in one hairnet and the bun in a separate one? Sorry don’t mean to be too weird in this regard but I’m all about details and I wanna be appropriate, especially when it comes to appointments classes.

As for hunting, I think there are differences of opinion.

There’s a lot of evidence that stuffing all your hair up into your helmet, show hunter style, affects helmet fit and safety. If you choose not to put your hair up in your helmet, it should still be a net, not a show bow, and well secured. If your hair is short and somewhat fine, you can just net it and go.

I see riders in the field with all their hair up, and riders with it down and confined in some way. Some are neater and better than others.

FWIW, I can do that when my hair is freshly cut, but after a couple week’s growth, it has to be out of the helmet.

I have never managed a net bun at the base of a helmet, but I have a friend with long thick hair who manages it and is always impeccably turned out.

Wearing a top hat for an appointments class is really pretty much the same. I don’t know if I’d bother with a fake bun, just neatly netted and secured.

However, the REAL turnout expert on the board is @SidesaddleRider; I’ve tagged her in the hopes she’ll weigh in.

Photo of long haired friend in top hat:

Screenshot 2022-12-27 133749

She does something similar in a regular helmet.


Hair should be contained in a hair net. You don’t need to do showing hunter hair, exactly, though. If you have longer hair, it is acceptable for more of it to hang out below your helmet (obviously contained in the hair net) than for “hunter hair.” From a style / appointment class turnout perspective, a low bun is acceptable, but it should be a neat, flat bun. However, for practical reasons, I dislike low buns. First of all, if you have a correctly fitting helmet that covers the base of your skull, it may be difficult to do this without interfering with helmet fit. Secondly, if you create a hard knob of hair on the back of your neck, that could present a safety hazard were you to fall with impact forces on that area. The photo that @McGurk shared demonstrates beautifully how hair can be contained in a polished manner while also hanging down a bit more in back. For regular hunting, most people aren’t keeping style points, but if you really want to look polished, or want to be correct for an appointments class, you need to style and contain your hair first and then place a hairnet on top to hold the style in place. The best way to do this is create a low chignon or a low set of folded braids and then place a net over that.


Just please don’t wear those bow things with a net. I wear a hair net over a low pony, then put another rubber band around that. When I had really long hair I would have a braid and do the same thing but double it so it was a short braid in a net.

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My hair is long and fairly thick. My helmet fits properly with my hair out. For hunting, I would twist my hair tightly into a low bun at the base of my neck and cover both the bun and my hair with a hairnet. I would often add another elastic over the net at to hold the net close to the bun for a neater look.

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