If you have an aspiring young equestrian in your family, you’re likely on the hunt for the best riding gear for lessons and competition. Jodhpurs are one of the most common pieces of horse riding attire available to young riders and there’s much to learn about this particular style. In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about jodhpurs, including their rich history, purpose in equestrian disciplines, and how to choose the best jodhpurs for aspiring equestrians.
What Are Jodhpurs?
Jodhpurs are stretchy, tight-fitting trousers designed for riding. These riding pants extend all the way down to the ankle where the pant ends in a cuff. Jodhpurs are meant to be form-fitting and supportive with an active fit. Leather or suede patches are typically included on the inside of the knees and sometimes on the seat to prevent wear and tear. Modern riding pants have begun to include faux suede or silicone patches in lieu of traditional materials. Knee patches also give riders extra stability in the saddle for specific disciplines such as jumping or hunting.Jodhpurs were influenced by traditional Indian riding clothing and named after the city of Jodhpur. Historically, jodhpurs were initially designed to flare at the hips and then taper to become form-fitting just below the knee to allow for greater comfort in the saddle. As modern fabrics evolved, however, jodhpurs became slimmer and stretchier.Women made the switch to jodhpurs in the 1920s after riding sidesaddle for centuries. In fact, Coco Chanel was one of the most influential women who spurred the change from traditional dresses and ladies’ saddles in favor of breeches and jodhpurs, riding clothing considered only for men at the time.
When Should You Wear Jodhpurs?
Young riders typically wear jodhpurs because it helps instructors clearly see a rider’s leg position and make corrections where necessary. Jodhpurs are also typically worn by beginners who are first learning a discipline or competing at a novice level.Adult riders also wear jodhpurs occasionally, though they do so in a more casual setting, such as schooling. Riders of any age find jodhpurs comfortable and easier to wear than standard breeches in informal settings.
Jodhpurs vs. Breeches
Jodhpurs and breeches are often used interchangeably to describe riding pants, but they are actually two distinct types of riding attire. While jodhpurs are primarily used in a casual setting or by younger riders, breeches have an entirely different purpose. Breeches are worn in more formal settings, such as show jumping, dressage, fox hunting, and other events. Breeches are shorter than jodhpurs, ending around the lower-calf, and are worn with tall riding boots. Young riders most commonly wear jodhpurs but can advance to wearing breeches as they age or move on to higher levels of competition.
What to Look For in a Pair of Jodhpurs
When looking to buy a pair of jodhpurs, first consider how often you’ll be riding in them. Jodhpurs will experience much more wear and tear if worn multiple times a week during lessons, so you’ll want to invest in high-quality jodhpurs that have knee patches. When you begin to ride competitively or reach higher levels in a specific discipline, rules and expectations may change. Always check with your instructor or riding club about the required attire for specific situations.You’ll also want to make sure the jodhpurs are made of high-quality materials that will stand up to wear and tear. The material should also be stretchy, breathable, and comfortable to wear for long periods of time in the saddle.
How Much do Jodhpurs Cost?
As with all clothing, equestrian jodhpurs can have broad price points. While you can easily find cheap pairs online for around $30–these may be uncomfortable, wear out quickly, and might not meet event standards. The best quality jodhpurs cost anywhere between $100-300. These premium jodhpurs will be made of comfortable high-quality material that helps wick moisture while still looking tidy and fashionable.
How to Measure Yourself for Jodhpurs
To determine the best size jodhpurs for you, take the following measurements:
Measure yourself around the narrowest part of your waist.
Measure yourself around the widest part of your hip.
Since jodhpurs are meant to be full length, measure the inside of your leg from the top to your ankle.
Next, find the corresponding jodhpur size in the chart below.
Jodhpur Pant Size Chart
Regular Inseam (in)
Long Inseam (in)
20 – 20 ½
21 – 22
21 – 21 ½
23 – 24
20 – 20 ½
25 – 25 ¼
How Should Jodhpurs Fit?
Jodhpurs are meant to be snug from the knee down, providing an active but comfortable fit. Loose-fitting jodhpurs cannot adequately support a rider and may even impede movement. They’re also meant to be full-length riding pants, so if you have jodhpurs that are starting to get short, it’s time for a new pair.
How to Care for Jodhpurs
To make sure your jodhpurs last as long as possible and stay in great condition, you’ll need to give them the proper care.
Machine wash or hand wash in cold/lukewarm water with like colors.
Use a mild laundry detergent and avoid fabric softener.
Hang to dry. Do not tumble dry. The heat from your dryer could damage the material.
Do not dry clean or iron your jodhpurs.
If your jodhpurs have leather or suede features, be sure to use products specifically designed for those materials.
A good pair of jodhpurs will support you and allow you to fully express yourself as a rider. At R.J. Classics, we are dedicated to creating the best and most accessible equestrian clothing for female riders of any age. Our girls’ jodhpurs are designed to help take your aspiring equestrian to the top by giving them the confidence and support they need in the saddle. Paired with an R.J. Classics riding shirt, your young equestrian will feel ready for any challenge. Shop R.J. Classics jodhpurs →You might also like: