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Breeches vs. Jodhpurs: What's the Difference?

Breeches vs. Jodhpurs: What's the Difference?

As an equestrian, your choice of riding attire can play a crucial role in both your performance and comfort in the saddle–and none more than breeches and jodhpurs. Found in the wardrobes of riders spanning virtually every English riding discipline, breeches and jodhpurs both have come to be staple pieces for equestrians. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the differences between the two types of riding pants, when to wear them, and how to find the right pair for your riding wardrobe.

What are Jodhpurs?

Jodhpurs are a type of horseback riding pants commonly worn by younger equestrians, especially in English horse riding disciplines such as dressage and show jumping. In addition to their functional design for riding, they have also become a part of equestrian fashion and are worn in casual and formal riding settings.

Jodhpurs were historically designed with a flared hip and thigh area that narrowed down to a snug fit around the calf and ankle. Modern jodhpurs are fitted throughout and made with stretchy, breathable athletic fabric designed to keep riders comfortable and supported in the saddle.

Jodhpurs are also worn exclusively with jodhpur or paddock boots, as the legs are not completely fitted throughout. Some jodhpurs feature loops at the feet to help keep the pants in place.

What are Breeches?

Breeches are another type of riding pants designed to provide comfort, flexibility, and functionality for riders. Both adult riders and young riders can wear breeches.

Breeches have a snug fit and are commonly made from durable and stretchy technical fabrics. The stretch in the material allows for freedom of movement while also helping riders stay cool and dry as they ride. Equestrians typically wear tall riding boots or paddock boots and half chaps with breeches.

Most breeches have reinforced patches either on the knees or extending to the full seat area. These patches are often made of suede or silicone to provide added grip and durability, especially in disciplines where close contact with the horse is essential, like in show jumping.

When Do You Wear Jodhpurs?

Riders typically wear jodhpurs when they are younger or are first beginning horseback riding lessons as they allow riding instructors to easily see and correct leg position if necessary. Tall boots and half chaps can also be difficult to fit on younger riders and are quickly outgrown, making jodhpurs a great option when only paddock boots are worn. Adult riders may also wear jodhpurs in more casual settings, such as training or schooling, when a strict dress code is not enforced.

When Do You Wear Breeches?

Breeches are commonly worn in various equestrian disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing. They serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, offering riders a comfortable and practical garment for their sport while maintaining a traditional and stylish appearance. In adult equestrian competitions, breeches are part of the dress code, especially at higher levels.

What to Look for When Buying Breeches and Jodhpurs

When shopping for a pair of jodhpurs or breeches, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you choose the right ones for your needs. Here are some key features to look for:


The fit is crucial for both comfort and functionality. Jodhpurs and breeches should be snug but not overly tight, providing enough flexibility for movement while riding. Consider the length, waistband, and overall shape to ensure a comfortable fit. Take measurements before you go shopping so you know exactly what to look for.


Make sure the material is both durable and breathable. Common materials include synthetic blends, technical fabrics with stretch properties, and even cotton. The material should provide comfort and allow for a full range of motion.

Moisture-wicking Properties

Make sure the breeches or jodhpurs you choose have moisture-wicking properties to help keep you cool and dry while you ride. Whenever you’re feeling the heat in the show ring or in the hot summer sun, you’ll want breeches that help wick away sweat so you can keep riding.


Look for reinforced patches, commonly on the knee or extending to the full seat area. These patches are often made of suede or silicone to enhance grip and durability.

Design for Discipline

Consider the specific needs of your riding discipline. For example, dressage riders may prefer a more formal and traditional look, with a full seat for close contact in the saddle. Hunter-jumpers benefit more from knee-patch breeches with extra flexibility to help them soar over obstacles.

Waistband and Belt Loops

Ensure that the waistband is comfortable and sits at the right height. Some riders prefer a higher waist for added support. Belt loops can be useful if you like to wear a riding belt for additional security or if you need to for competitions.

Care and Maintenance

Check the care instructions for the jodhpurs or breeches. Some may be machine washable, while others require special care. Consider the maintenance requirements based on your preferences and lifestyle.

Brand Reputation

Look for reputable brands known for producing quality equestrian apparel. Reading reviews and getting recommendations from fellow riders can help you make an informed decision.

Style and Color

While functionality is key, the style and color of the jodhpurs or breeches are also personal preferences. Choose a style that aligns with your taste and a color that complements your overall riding attire. Keep in mind, however, that conservative colors are usually only allowed in the show ring–that means tan or white.

Learn more: Horseback Riding Outfit Ideas by Discipline

How to Measure Yourself for Breeches and Jodhpurs

Measuring yourself accurately is essential to ensure a proper fit when purchasing jodhpurs or breeches. Here’s a guide on how to measure yourself for these equestrian pants. You may not need all of these measurements, but they’re good to have on hand, just in case.

Measure Your Waist

Use a flexible measuring tape to measure around your natural waist, which is typically the narrowest part of your torso. Make sure the tape is snug but not tight, and keep it parallel to the ground.

Measure Your Hips

Measure around the fullest part of your hips and buttocks. Keep the measuring tape parallel to the ground for an accurate measurement.

Measure Your Inseam

Measure from the crotch to the bottom of your ankle bone or where you want the jodhpurs or breeches to end.

Measure Your Rise

The rise is the distance from the middle of the crotch seam to the top of the waistband at the front. This measurement is especially important for determining how the pants will sit on your body.

Measure Your Thigh Circumference

Measure around the fullest part of your thigh, typically a few inches below the crotch.

Ensure the tape is snug but not tight.

Measure Your Knee Circumference

Finally, measure around the circumference of your knee. This step is helpful for breeches or jodhpurs with knee patches.

Once you have these measurements, compare them to the sizing charts provided by the brand or retailer where you plan to purchase the jodhpurs or breeches. Different brands may have slightly different sizing, so it’s important to refer to the specific size chart for the product you’re interested in.

Finding the Perfect Breeches and Jodhpurs

Looking for a reputable equestrian clothing company with high-quality breeches and jodhpurs? Look no further than R.J. Classics! We’ve got you covered with breeches, jodhpurs, show shirts, show coats, and more, making us the one-stop shop for all your equestrian clothing needs.

Shop R.J. Classics breeches →


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