What are Riding Breeches?
English riding pants, breeches and jodhpurs are snug-fitting, stretchable pants designed for horse riding. Breeches are designed to prevent skin chafing and built to keep the rider from slipping around in the saddle. The concept behind breeches is to give the rider comfort and ease of movement while also providing close contact between the rider's leg and the saddle.
Comparing Different Styles of Breeches
Jodhpurs and breeches are very similar and are both worn for horse riding, but there are a few key differences. Jodhpurs, which got their name from the city Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, India, trace their lineage back to the game of polo. In their modern form, jodhpurs are full-length (below the ankle), lost their traditional bagginess, and are now often paired with paddock boots. Now worn primarily by children, there are elastic straps that hold jodhpurs in place under the paddock boot, and are paired with leather garters that are worn below the knees to keep the pants from twisting while riding.
Riding breeches generally aren't as long as jodhpurs and stop above the ankle, which makes them easier to pair with English tall boots. When looking at riding pants, the main thing to pay attention is the differences between full seat breeches and knee patch breeches.
- Full seat breeches add an additional layer of gripping material, often suede or silicone. The extra grip reaches up from the knee to the inner thigh to the seat of the breeches. Dressage enthusiasts tend to favor full seat breeches.
- Knee patch breeches - preferred by riders who like to jump - typically employ grippy fabric in the knee and inner thigh areas, but not in the seat of the breeches.
How to Select and Size Riding Breeches
Breeches should be snug in the legs, but not so tight they limit movement, pinch or cut off circulation.
Riding breeches sizing is measured by waist size and by length (short, regular and long). For traditional fit and high-rise riding breeches, measure around your waist with a tape measure. If opting for low-rise breeches, measure around your hips to get a more accurate number. That number (in inches) will give you a great guestimate of the waist size of your new favorite breeches. Every brand will fit a little differently, so give us a call if you've got questions about which breeches would be best for you!
Breeches come in many different styles and colors. The crucial factors to pay attention to are fit, comfort and if the breeches you selected match your riding style. Once you've nailed these variables down, the right pair of English riding breeches will improve your performance and make your time on your horse more enjoyable.