A good pair of breeches is paramount to a rider’s success. But with so many types and styles out there, it can be overwhelming looking at a website or walking into a store. So I’ve compiled a helpful guide on the different types of riding pants you may come across in your search!
To begin, there are two main styles of breeches for english riding. Knee patch and full seat. Which type you choose depends on your discipline and personal preference.
Arguably the most popular style is knee patch. This refers to the grip system that is only found on the inside of the breeches knee areas. Normally made from suede patches or silicone grips, the point of these is to help the rider have more grip where their pants make contact with the saddle. This style of breeches are popular with hunter jumper riders as well as fox hunters and those who ride casually. These riders spend the majority of their time “out of the tack” aka in a half seat while cantering so it’s important that they are not too “stuck” in the saddle.
This style gets their name because the entire seat of the breeches are covered in a grippy patch, again either with suede or silicone. Popular with dressage, event, and other riders who need extra support while remaining seated in the tack. Also great for when you need some “stickability” on a frisky horse.
When it comes to breeches for showing, it’s all about being classic and conservative. What color and type of breeches you choose will pertain to your style of riding. But you’ll want a nice structured pair that you can wear with a belt.
- Knee patch
- Beige/tan color (sometimes white is permitted for certain classes)
- No crazy logos
- Knee patch or full seat
- Beige/tan color for schooling and smaller classes. White for classics and grand prixs.
- Can be more flashy with logos and bling
- Full seat
- Rider’s and trainer’s discretion on level of “bling”
- Full seat or knee patch
- White for dressage, white/tan for XC, normally white for showjumping
Riders have a lot more choice when it comes to their schooling pants! When having a lesson or attending a clinic, you may want to keep it a bit more conservative, but other than that go crazy. There are plenty of colors, patterns, and embellishments to choose from. The main priority is that these breeches are comfortable and allow a good freedom of movement. My biggest suggestion is to try a bunch of different brands and styles so you can really find the pairs that work the best for you.
- A popular style of schooling “breeches” are actually riding tights. Tights are slightly different from traditional breeches as they are made with more stretchy fabric and prioritize comfort over style. Most are made from a spandex/polyester blend and offer more stretch freedom of movement than other options. Riding tights and leggings don’t normally have belt loops so they are for casual riding and schooling. Available in knee patch and full seat options, once you give tights a try you may never put breeches on again.
- The great thing about riding tights and some breeches, they are also useful for other activities. I use my tights not only for riding, but also for yoga, biking, hiking, and just working out in general! They are very similar to athletic leggings so you might as well kill two birds with one stone and find some pants that you can wear for everything. Ariat even makes the Tek Tight which doesn’t feature a knee patch- so are really great for everyday activities.
Riding is majorly an outdoor activity so helping riders handle the elements is paramount. Luckily there are pants made specifically for the different seasons.
- Winter riding breeches and tights are designed to keep riders warm in even the coldest months without being too bulky while in the saddle. They are typically water and wind resistant and feature a soft and cozy fleece lining for extra warmth.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum there are also riding pants made specifically for the hotter months. These are typically made with performance materials that are designed to be lightweight and wick moisture. Some summer options even have cooling treated fabrics such as IceFil and Freeze Point.