If you’ve ever worn a pair of riding breeches, you know that a great fit is essential, not only to your comfort, but to the quality of your ride. There are several types of breeches to choose from, in a wide array of fabrics, colors, patterns, and of course, at a variety of different price points to suit your budget. Enjoy these quick lesson on types of riding breeches, and you’ll stay comfortable and look your best during your favorite equine sports.
Two-Way Stretch Tights
For everyday hacking about, a pair of two-way stretch tights might prove to be most comfortable. There are many different configurations, some with reinforced patches at the knees, some with reinforcing at the seat and knees, and some with no reinforcement at all. If your saddle has a suede seat and suede knee rolls, you might be able to get away with wearing tights that have no reinforcements at all, but if you ride in a smooth saddle, you’re going to find that reinforced legging provide a bit of grip and help you keep your seat while riding.
Two-way stretch tights come in lightweight models for summer wear, and in warm fleece for winter wear.
While most English riders refer to their pants as “breeches,” breeches are actually a specific type of trouser, with tapered legs that fit inside tall English boots or half chaps. These pants have a more formal appearance than two-way stretch tights do, and they’re essential for anyone going into show jumping, dressage, or other pursuits where performance takes place before judges or an audience.
Riding breeches are usually made of cotton, spandex, or a stretchy poly/cotton blend, and they’re available with different weight fabrics to suit the season. Reinforcement at the seat and calves is a common feature, as the fabric modern breeches are made from tends to be quite slick. If you have the option of choosing riding breeches with or without reinforcement, you’ll quickly discover that the types with a bit of added suede, textured fabric, or leather along the inside of the leg and seat are much more comfortable to ride in. As an added bonus, these riding breeches last much longer than the non-reinforced type.
Jodhpurs have a roomy seat and a bit of leeway in the thigh area, but like standard breeches, they are tightly tapered at the bottom to fit into riding boots. Some jodhpurs are designed to be worn on the outside of shorter jodhpur boots. These have elastic stirrups at the bottom that keep the breeches’ legs straight and prevent them from riding up during mounted activities.
Who Wears Riding Breeches?
Riding breeches can be a fashion statement, but they’re primarily designed to provide comfort for riders while enhancing performance. You’ll typically see photos of English riders wearing breeches, but many Western riders appreciate them too, as jeans can bunch around the knees and cause discomfort on long rides. Special western pants made with features that are similar to those found on riding breeches are available, often in traditional “jean” colors like blue and black. The takeaway? If you ride a horse, you can wear riding breeches!