Breeches are a staple of a great equestrian wardrobe. Whether you’re wearing them to train or wearing them in a competition, breeches provide maximum flexibility, comfort, and support while you ride. This guide will help you find the perfect pair of breeches no matter your riding discipline, style, or body type.
What are Breeches?
Breeches are a type of specialized pants that are designed for horseback riding. Breeches are commonly worn by both male and female equestrians for a variety of riding disciplines, including dressage, jumping, and eventing. They are typically made from a breathable material such as cotton, spandex, or a synthetic blend which allows for a greater range of motion and flexibility while riding. These materials also help wick moisture to keep equestrians cool and dry while riding. Riding breeches also feature reinforced patches at the knee and seat areas to provide extra durability and grip when riding. These patches are typically made from suede, synthetic suede, or silicone. Breeches come in a variety of rises and may include a Velcro, mesh, or another type of closure at the ankle to ensure a snug fit and prevent the breeches from riding up while riding. Riders typically wear tall riding boots or paddock boots with half chaps while wearing breeches.
Types of Breeches
Breeches come in several different varieties, each suited for specific disciplines.
Full-seat breeches are a must for dressage events and cross-country eventing because they provide a strong connection from seat to saddle. Full-seat breeches feature a suede, synthetic suede, or silicone patch that starts at the seat of the pants and extends down the inner thighs. Full-seat breeches help keep you secure in your saddle while riding, no matter the movement.
Knee Patch Breeches
Knee patch breeches feature a patch of material on the inside of the leg, by the knee, that allows riders to move freely in the saddle while maintaining a secure grip. Knee patch breeches are commonly worn by hunter-jumper athletes. Riders enjoy the freedom to move their upper body as needed while maintaining a strong grip on their horse with their legs. The knee patches also prevent wear and tear as well as chafing on the leg caused by the stirrup leather.
Riding tights are a type of equestrian pants that are designed for horseback riding. They are similar to riding breeches but are made from a lightweight, stretchy material like spandex or a synthetic blend. Riding tights have a more streamlined design without any extra padding or reinforcement and are often styled to look like leggings or yoga pants with a smooth, form-fitting silhouette. They are a popular choice for casual riding or for riders who prefer a more modern, athletic look.
Jodhpurs are stretchy, tight-fitting riding pants that extend all the way down to the ankle where the pant ends in a cuff. Younger riders most commonly wear jodhpurs but can advance to wearing breeches as they age or move on to higher levels of competition. Learn more: How to Buy Jodhpurs: Size, Fit, Style Guide
What Fabrics Are Best for Breeches?
Breeches should be made from stretchy, breathable fabric that allows for a full range of motion, maximum comfort, airflow, and moisture wicking. Breeches can be made from cotton, spandex, or a synthetic blend ranging in terms of thickness and quality. Some breeches include mesh panels around the ankles to help keep riders cool and prevent bunching under the riding boot. Heavyweight breeches worn during the winter may also include a fleece lining to help keep riders warm while riding.
What Features Should You Look for When Buying Breeches?
When buying breeches, there are several important features to consider to ensure you get the right pair for your needs. Here are some key features to look for.
Breeches are made from a variety of materials, including cotton, spandex, synthetic blends, and even technical fabrics like moisture-wicking and UV-resistant materials. Choose a material that is comfortable and appropriate for the climate you will be riding in.
Look for a pair of breeches that have a flexible, athletic fit. They should be comfortable, allow for a full range of motion, and provide support. Consider the rise, waistband, and leg length when determining the best fit for your body. High-rise breeches offer complete coverage and tend to look flattering on almost every body shape. However, mid-rise breeches may feel a bit more comfortable and ride up less while you’re in the saddle.
Consider the competitions and events you’ll be riding in the most when looking for a pair of breeches. Depending on your riding discipline, you may want breeches with reinforced seams, patches at the knee or seat area, or full-seat breeches for extra grip and durability. You may also prefer the look and grip of silicone patches over suede patches–experiment until you find what you prefer.
You can find breeches with either a front or side closure, depending on your silhouette preference. Check to see if the breeches have a mesh, Velcro, or other closure at the ankle to ensure a snug fit and prevent the breeches from riding up while riding.
Some breeches have pockets for storing small items like keys, a phone, or treats for your horse. Consider whether this is important to you when choosing a pair of riding breeches.
Breeches come in a range of styles, such as traditional, modern, and euro styles. Euro seat breeches, for example, have full-seat seamlines designed for maximum comfort in the saddle. Depending on the discipline or the barn where you train, you might need to choose a specific style of riding breeches. Always check your specific dress codes to determine what style is suitable for your discipline or riding club.
Look for a reputable equestrian clothing brand that is known for quality, durability, and comfort. Read reviews and ask other riders for recommendations to help you find the right pair of breeches for you.
What Color Breeches Should You Wear for Competitions?
While you can wear virtually any color or style of breeches while training (as long as your trainer approves), equestrian events typically have specific requirements regarding the color of your breeches.
Presentation is everything during a dressage event. During dressage events, riders are expected to wear white, light, or dark-colored breeches. Most adults stick with white breeches. Bright colors and patterns for breeches are not permitted. Learn more: Dressage Show Attire, Dress Code, and Style Tips for Riders
Fox Hunting Events
Fox hunting is a formal yet active equestrian event with a specific dress code. Riders typically wear white, tan or rust breeches during fox hunting events. Bright colors and patterns are not permitted. Learn more: Fox Hunting Attire & Etiquette – Beginner’s Guide
White, light, and dark-colored breeches are required during show-jumping competitions. Bright colors and patterns are not permitted.
While eventing, riders typically wear white or tan breeches for the dressage and jumping portions but may switch to more flashy colors during the cross-country portion of the competition.
How to Measure for a Pair of Breeches
When shopping for a pair of breeches, you should take specific measurements to ensure you find a pair that finds you perfectly. Grab a measuring tape and take the following measurements:
- Waist: Measure around the narrowest part of your waist, usually just above your belly button. Make sure the tape is snug but not tight.
- Hips: Measure around the widest part of your hips. This is usually about 7-9 inches below your waist, depending on your body shape.
- Inseam: Measure from the crotch seam to the bottom of your ankle bone. Make sure you stand up straight, and your feet are shoulder-width apart.
- Rise: Measure from the center front of your waistband, between your legs, to the center back of your waistband. This measurement is especially important for high-waisted breeches.
Riding Breeches Size Chart
Need help deciding on a size for riding breeches? Consult the charts below for help. All measurements are in inches.
Sizing Chart for Women’s Breeches
|Pant Size||Waist||Hips||Regular Inseam||Long Inseam|
|24||24||33||26 ¼||28 ¼|
|26||26||35||26 ¼||28 ¼|
|28||28||37||26 ¼||28 ¼|
|30||30||39||26 ¼||28 ¼|
|32||32||41||26 ¼||28 ¼|
|34||34||43||26 ¼||28 ¼|
|36||36||45||26 ¼||28 ¼|
Sizing Chart for Girls’ Breeches
|Pant Size||Waist||Hip||Regular Inseam||Long Inseam|
|2-3T||20 – 20 ½||21 – 22||16 ¾||–|
|4-5T||21 – 21 ½||23 – 24||18 ¼||–|
|6||20 – 20 ½||25 – 25 ¼||19 ⅝||–|
|8||21||26 ¾||23 ⅛||–|
|10||22||28 ¼||24 ⅝||27|
|12||23||30 ¼||26 ⅛||28 ½|
|14||24||32 ¼||27 ⅝||30|
|16||25||34 ¼||27 ⅝||30|
Choosing the perfect pair of breeches can make a significant difference in the comfort, flexibility, and grip you have while riding. When selecting breeches, consider the material, fit, reinforcement, closure, and style that will best suit your needs and riding discipline. Remember that different types of breeches are designed for specific riding styles and that breathable fabrics and moisture-wicking features are essential for maintaining comfort while riding. With these tips, you’ll be sure to find the ideal pair of breeches that will enhance your performance and keep you looking stylish in the saddle. You might also like:
- What to Wear When Riding Horses? An Equestrian Clothing Guide
- How to Buy Equestrian Show Shirts: Size, Fit, Style Guide
- How to Buy Equestrian Show Coats: Size, Fit, Style Guide