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What numnah or saddle pad should you use for hunting?

October 28th, 2020

Grey horse to illustrate autumn bloodhound huntingMany riders enjoy the thrill of the hunting field in autumn and winter. Those misty, chilly early mornings, the buzz of the throng, and that anticipation from horse and rider that a good day’s riding is about to be had! For some riders, there’s nothing to rival it. What about choosing a numnah for hunting, however? One issue that can be tricky is meeting the traditional need to use suitable tack and attire on the hunting field. It’s true that some hunts are more flexible than others!

Generally, in terms of numnahs for example, natural wool is advised, and square pads as well as non-traditional colours are frowned upon.

Brown is an ideal colour, and any numnah or saddle pad should be discreet and shaped to match the cut of the saddle.

Shaped Showing Numnah.Our Stephens Shaped Showing Numnah (below left) is ideal for the hunting field. It’s fully lined, with a front sheepskin rolled edge, but no rolled edge at the cantle.

It combines the therapeutic properties of treated, pure sheepskin fleece with a cotton quilt backing, and comes in black or Mocca (brown), to match your saddle. The Stephens Shaped Showing Numnah comes in three sizes; small, medium and large.

Why choose sheepskin in autumn and winter?

Sheepskin is a pelt, e.g. the hide of a sheep, and is hypoallergenic with excellent insulating properties. Its temperature-adjusting properties are unequalled by synthetic materials, as sheepskin has the ability to adjust to external temperatures at any time of year – in summer, it cools, as the smooth fibres act as a natural air conditioner.

In winter, it warms, as the soft wool fibres act as a natural insulation. Therefore, sheepskin is ideal for cold backed horses at any time of year.

It’s also useful because if the horse sweats, it helps deflect moisture, remaining very comfortable on the horse’s back – the wool’s protein molecules are stretchable and flexible.

What to wear when hunting

Autumn hunting _ Photography by JulesRegarding your own outfit, smart and neutral is usually best on the hunting field. E.g. beige breeches (look out for water resistant and windproof versions – a high waist can help stop your hunting shirt from becoming untucked, and keeps your lower back warm too).

A hunting coat or dark coloured show jacket for the full hunting season (eg from the end of October onwards), or tweed in autumn; a hunting shirt with stock (usually plain white, check or polka dot) and pin, or a tie with a tweed jacket; long, black leather field boots.

A helmet with plain black or navy silk (velvet showing helmets would also be fine, providing the ribbon are sewn up); discreet, dark-coloured, warm gloves; and an optional body protector or air-vest for safety.

(Waxed coats are usually allowed on vert wet days!)
Individual hunts will have their own dress codes which can be checked.


The image to the left is by Photography By Jules.


READ – Horse & Hound has a great beginners’ guide to hunting.


Don’t forget to consider tack that will help keep you and your horse safe.

Running Martingale

Our Stephens Running Martingale includes a D ring for a standing martingale attachment, which makes this very versatile.

One size only – Black and Chestnut leather available.

#hunting #hunt 

#hounds #foxhounds

#draghunt #draghunting


*England, Wales and Scottish Lowlands