Breeches are an important part of your horse-riding ensemble as they are designed to provide an optimal horse-riding experience. Choosing the right breeches will improve your horse-riding experience. In this article, we’ll share what you need to know about riding breeches and how to select your own pair.
What are Breeches?
Breeches are the athletically-inspired pant that a person wears when riding a horse. They’re designed in a thin fabric that fits snugly throughout the seat, leg, and thigh to allow the movements of the rider’s leg to be felt by the horse. Special fabric designed for gripping is incorporated into the pant as well. Additionally, riding pants have no inside seam in order to protect from chafing. Breeches enhance communication between the rider and the horse and minimize distraction to the rider. Well-fitted breeches should stretch to allow comfort and freedom of movement, and they should not rub, pinch, or chafe.
How Do Riding Jodhpurs Differ from Breeches?
Jodhpurs are a different type of riding pant inspired by polo and named after a city in India. Though they were originally baggy, they have evolved to become tighter-fitting pants. There are a few key differences between jodhpurs and breeches. One is that jodhpurs are full length and may require rolling the bottom up a couple of inches to fit properly in a tall riding boot. (Breeches end above the ankle and fit more neatly into tall riding boots.) For this reason, jodhpurs are typically worn with paddock boots. Another difference is that jodhpurs have a longer knee patch and traditionally are cuffed with a removable elastic stirrup strap inside the cuff. This strap wraps around the outside of the boot in order to hold the pant legs in place. Jodhpurs are often worn with paddock boots.
Both jodhpurs and breeches are popular horse-riding pants and the decision between them comes down to one of personal preference. It’s a good idea to try both to determine which feels best to you.
Fabrics for Breeches
Traditionally, jodhpurs and breeches are made of cotton or cotton blends for comfort. However, advanced microfibers have become popular because they absorb moisture better than cotton and offer stain resistance. These fabrics wick away moisture from your body and provide breathability that cotton does not, which is an advantage on warm days.
For cold-weather rides, you may want jodhpurs or breeches that help to contain body heat. You can find them made of stretch corduroy or denim, and some pairs even have a soft fleece inner lining which keeps a rider warmer during cold-weather rides.
Riding Breeches Sizing Guide
Breeches should fit comfortably without wrinkles or areas of baggy fabric that would detract from the appearance of the pant or cause friction for your skin. The legs should be snug but not so tight that they constrain.
Men’s breeches are typically sold by waist size and inseam length. Women’s breeches are sized by waist size and rise — available in Regular or Long length rise. To size breeches, measure around your waist for regular-fit breeches and around your hips for low-rise breeches. Then measure your inseam (the length of your leg) to find the proper length.
If you’re shopping for women’s breeches and you’re unsure of your waist size, this sample breeches sizing chart will provide a starting point. Though you should check the manufacturer’s sizing chart to confirm the best size.
Ladies Pant Size
Suggested Breeches Size
Different Types of Breeches
Breeches have some customization for riding styles based on where the gripping fabric is located on the pant.
Full Seat Riding Breeches
Full-seat breeches offer gripping fabrics from the inner thigh to the knee and provide a stickier seat, enabling the rider to stay more firmly in the saddle. These are typically used with event and dressage riding styles. Ovation and Romfh offer excellent full-seat breeches for women, men, and children, and they offer a number of styles. Though any color can be worn for everyday use, eventing and dressage riders typically wear white or light-colored breeches during competition.
Knee Patch Riding Breeches
The gripping fabric on extended knee-patch breeches is in the knee area only. Ariat and Tuffrider are well-known for their extended knee-patch breeches, which are typically worn by hunter and jumper riders. Beige, grey, khaki, and earth tones are commonly worn for the hunter riding style, and white is most typically worn for the jumper riding style.
Colors and Styles for Breeches
Though colors remain conservative for competition, there is a wide array of options to choose from for non-competition rides. You can choose from colored fabric options as well as patterns, embellishments, contrast stitching, and color block panels.
Breeches also have variances in construction to suit individual preferences, including wide and narrow waistbands, low, mid, or traditional rises, and more. Breeches are also offered in a pull-on style with a drawstring or an elastic waistband, or with a side zip or fly front.
Some of the riding styles typically wear white or light-colored breeches during competition. It’s a good idea to consider white leggings or tights under white or light-colored breeches and to avoid wearing anything dark under them. (And before you consider wearing nothing under your white breeches — don’t!)
Selecting the right breeches will improve your horse-riding experience. Comfort is key, and you will be better able to perform if you choose breeches that are made specifically for your riding style.
Have questions about choosing breeches? Give us a call at 864-457-3557. The Farm House team is made up of experienced English riders who have a thorough understanding of riding styles and breeches.
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