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Horse Riding Breeches - What Are They?

Last updated October 23, 2023 by Brad Heath

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Horse riding pants, also more commonly known as riding breeches, are an athletic style of pants that are designed for the sport of horseback riding. Breeches are a vital part of any equestrian’s wardrobe because the right pair can really enhance your ride. Keep reading to learn all that you’ll need to know to find the best pair of riding breeches for you!

Who Needs Riding Breeches?

a photo of a rider on a horse; only showing the riders leg and boots and the side of the horse

Although breeches were originally created for English riding and fencing, anyone who rides horseback should invest in a good pair of breeches. These pants are specifically designed to make horseback riding a more comfortable experience for riders. These pants fit snugly to the rider, so that you don’t have to worry about any uncomfortable friction or even sliding while on your horse. In addition, the tight fit of breeches gives less fabric between you and your horse. This is beneficial because your horse will be able to feel your movements more clearly, and you are able to communicate with them on your ride.

What are Breeches Made Of?

Breeches are most commonly made from cotton to provide optimal comfort levels during your rides. However, breeches are also found in other materials such as microfiber, nylon, and even spandex. Although cotton is the most common material, more and more breeches are now being made out of microfiber blends. The reason behind this is that cotton isn’t really moisture absorbent. So for the sweaty riders -  you’ll end up with damp pants while you’re riding which isn’t a fun experience for anyone. It should also be taken into consideration the style of riding that you most often participate in; as this will be a big factor in choosing the material of riding breeches that will work the best for you. Some sports will need moisture resistant, stain resistant, etc.

What are the Different Types of Breeches?

Knee Patch Breeches

Knee patch breeches are constructed just the way that their name suggests; with a patch right inside of the knee. The knee patch is often made of materials like suede, silicone, or leather. Knee patch breeches are often used in hunters, jumpers, and the sport of eventing. The patch inside of the knee of the pants allows for extra grip and security throughout the ride.

Full Seat Breeches

Full seat breeches offer a lot more coverage as opposed to other styles of riding breeches. These pants are commonly seen in cross-country eventing and dressage. There is a patch on full seat breeches that covers the seat, inside of the legs, and down to the calf region of the rider's leg. As opposed to knee patch breeches where there is grip concentrated at just the region of the knee, full seat breeches provide more saddle contact and security overall.

High Waisted Riding Breeches

Most riders will opt for high waisted breeches. The high waist design helps to keep your core balanced during the ride. This style of pants provides optimal back support and extra stability. In addition, the high waist style is often figure flattering, too!

Different Colors of Riding Breeches

There are different styles of breeches used for different types of horseback riding and sports, and there are also different colors. There are some standard color variations seen across the board in different types of equestrian eventing. As a general rule of thumb, it’s advised to follow these color guidelines for the different horseback riding styles:

Dressage: There is not a set standard color for dressage, but the most common are light colored or white pants.

Jumper: White breeches are standard.

Hunter: Neutral colors are the most common such as gray, khaki, or beige.

Eventing: Light colored or white breeches.

Clinics: Light colored.

What Size Riding Breeches Do I Need?

The best practice for finding the best-fitting breeches for you is to find a size chart directly from the manufacturer that you purchase the pants from. The reason behind this is that every pair of breeches is made a little bit different, and sizing will vary. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to get a rough estimate of the size of breeches that you’ll need to purchase.

How Should Riding Breeches Fit?

When you’re trying to determine if your riding breeches fit correctly, remember - they should feel a bit snug. They shouldn’t be constraining, but you definitely don’t want any wrinkling or gathering anywhere on the pants.

Womens Riding Breeches Size Chart

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Mens Breeches Sizing Chart

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What Are the Best Riding Breeches to Buy?

Our Double D Trailers team have worn many styles and brands of breeches throughout the years; so we feel pretty confident being able to recommend some of our favorite styles.

Horze Tara Full-Seat Breeches

HORZE Full Seat High Waisted Womens Breeches

This brand was a common consensus among our crew. HORZE riding breeches are available for both men and women. The top perk of these pants is the comfortability. They’re made of a fabric blend of Rayon, Polyamide, and Elastane. Both the mens and womens pants will run you about $100, however they do go on sale sometimes. A few other things that make these breeches really stand out:

  • Available in Different Styles

  • Stretchy and Flexible

  • Water Resistant and Dirt Resistant

  • Pockets on the Back and the Front

  • Both a Classic Zipper and 4-Button Closure

These breeches are available in a wide array of styles and sizes. The only drawback that we want to make sure to mention is that their measurement chart isn’t the most accurate. Based on our team’s experience, we suggest ordering a size down than what is recommended on their size chart. If you would like to check out these breeches, they are available on Amazon.

Willit Breeches

Willit Riding Breeches

If you’re on a budget and don’t want to invest $100+ on a pair of riding breeches, we totally get it. Maybe you’re like some of us on the Double D Trailers team and you’re a little rough on your riding clothes (not naming any names…) and prefer to purchase things that won't make you shed too many tears if they get ruined. We wanted to add a budget-friendly pair of riding breeches to our list too. The breeches from Willit cost less than $50, and for the money, our crew is actually really impressed with these pants. They’re made of 90% Nylon and 10% Spandex, so they’re comfy and stretchy. Other things we like about these breeches are:

  • Available in Many Styles

  • ZIp Pockets

  • Stain Resistant and Moisture Wicking

  • Wide Elastic Waistband

Overall, these breeches are really solid especially for the price point. However, we did notice that the sizing is a bit wonky on these too. We actually found that you should size up in these pants. The Willit breeches are also available to purchase on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Riding breeches have come a long way. These pants are not only stylish, but they make sure that both you and your horse have the best and most comfortable ride possible. Ensuring that you have the best-fitting pair of breeches will not only benefit you, but your horse too.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between jodhpurs and breeches?

Jodhpurs are commonly mistaken for riding breeches, although they are not the same. Jodhpurs are specifically made for the sport of polo. In addition, breeches are usually shorter than jodhpurs, as riding breeches are normally worn together with tall boots, and jodhpurs are not. Jodhpurs are most commonly worn in more informal environments; whereas breeches are considered a more formal style of pants.

How do I wear socks correctly with breeches?

Most riders choose to wear tall compression socks pulled over breeches to make sure that the breeches stay secure.

What shoes do you wear with breeches? 

Breeches are most commonly worn with long riding boots.

What should you not wear when riding a horse?

It’s a good rule of thumb to not wear anything loose or baggy when horseback riding for safety concerns. Ill-fitting clothing can get caught in the saddle.

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