Until recently, I had no idea to what extremes show riders will go to achieve “ultimate hunter hair.” By this, I’m referring to the way your hair is supposed to look and fit under your hunt cap. It sounds pretty simple: you cover it in a hairnet and put your helmet on, right? Not so fast. Your hair must cover your ears in perfect wings. No ears can show!
It appears to be relatively simple to get the “look” with long hair. You put a hairnet over all your hair, put it in a ponytail, flip the pony tail on top of your head and secure with a second hair net. But reading about this on COTH shows that there are several variations to this theme.
- Part hair down the middle and let hang straight down.
- Start to gather hair into a low ponytail, while keeping the hair as far down on your ears as possible.
- Band your ponytail.
- After knotting hairnet to ensure a tight fit, place on hair front to back, making sure you catch the hair on your ears. Don’t worry if ponytail isn’t completely contained in this net.
Knot a second hair net, twist up ponytail, and place second hairnet on back to front, making sure base of ponytail is completely caught up in net.
- If nets are tight enough, you can now adjust the hair covering your ears to give that traditional look.
- Place helmet on top of everything and hope you don’t need to remove it before the end of the day.
When I had long hair I hated to use the pony tail method as, even with a larger helmet than my schooling helmet, the bulk of the added hair gave me a headache. Here’s a solution that sounds more comfortable but is more complicated:
“I don’t put my hair in pin curls – those bobby pins would hurt under a helmet – but what I used to do under wigs in absence of pin curls was this: I use those flippy-clips (what on earth are they called? the ones that pop open when you bend them one way, then snap shut when you bend them the other?) and strategically clipped/twisted/folded my hair to make it flat. Basically shaping it to my head. It takes much less room than a ponytail, eliminates the delightful pressure points that such a knot on the back of your head creates, and keeps the helmet fitted tightly all around.”
You’d think that by cutting your hair, the process would be easier. But no! Short or layered hair makes the process more difficult. To achieve just the right look — remember, ears must be covered — some women are relying on double hairnets, pantyhose and bobby pins. Others swear they will never cut their hair for fear of changing the fit of their helmets.
Check out this fully illustrated guide to creating hunter hair which provides step-by-step instructions: Hunter Hair for Short Locks.
I will never look at my hairnets and helmet the same way again. Although, as a foxhunter, I’ve noticed many naked ears showing out on the hunt field and no pantyhose on anyone’s head! However, I will admit that I have several hunt caps now that are on tap to fit with different lengths of hair. I do understand how a $50 hair cut can end up costing additional $350 when the new helmet purchase is factored in.