Differences Between Breeches and Jodhpurs: Which Should I Wear?
When it comes to equestrians, the way that they dress for riding, events, races, and other competitions is very important. If you are a horseback rider, you are probably aware of this. However, not all horseback riders are aware of the different kinds of options there are when they are getting dressed for a day with their steed. No matter what you prefer, aesthetically, you will want to make sure that you are wearing a comfortable and durable pair of riding pants– you certainly would not want to find out that they are uncomfortable once you are already in the saddle!
If you are an English rider, you can choose between breeches or jodhpurs to wear while you ride. Both breeches and jodhpurs have features such as knee patches that give you an extra grip while you are riding.
Below, we will go over the different kinds of riding pants in more detail, and we will explain the differences between breeches and jodhpurs– as well as the advantages and disadvantages that come with each style.
What Are Breeches?
First things first, what are breeches? Breeches are a type of riding pant that are usually worn with tall boots, and have a very tight, close fitting design. They hit above the ankle– which is shorter than the length on a pair of jodhpurs– and have either an elasticized fabric or a Velcro fastening at the bottom.
As mentioned above, they do have knee pads that are in place in order to provide adequate grip while riding. There are also different options of specialized breeches that can offer different advantages. One of these options is full seat breeches, which offer more grip in the saddle and are best suited for cross country and show jumping. They are athletically inspired at heart, and use a special, thin fabric that fits snugly through the seat, leg, and thigh– this makes it easy for the horse to feel the movement of the rider’s leg. Breeches are a great tool to increase communication between horse and rider, in addition to minimizing distraction for either the horse or the rider.
Breeches are designed with rider comfort as well as function in mind. For instance, they are designed to be seamless– or at least to have no inside seam, because without seams, the pants will not chafe against the legs as you ride. When choosing a pair of breeches, make sure that they stretch for both freedom of movement and comfort, and that they do not pinch, rub, or chafe.
Also Read – Best Most Comfrotable Cowboy Boots
What are Jodhpurs?
You’ve probably seen both breeches and jodhpurs on the market and tried to compare the two. Now that you know what breeches are– as we detailed above– it is time to learn more about what makes a pair of jodhpurs so unique. Like breeches, they also offer knee patches for the proper grip when riding. They are full length pants– longer than breeches– that feature an elastic strap at the bottom, which is meant to go around and under the foot to prevent the pants from riding up. Jodhpurs are worn with paddock boots.
Jodhpurs are a classic English riding style pant, and they fit closely all the way throughout from waist to ankle. Typically, they also have a snug cuff that is rolled up when the pants are worn. This style of pant originated in India. They were first designed to be worn by polo players, and their popularity spread all over the world! When they were first designed, they actually flared out at the hips, which was supposed to allow ease when sitting in the saddle. These original jodhpurs were only fitted from the knee to the ankle, instead of all the way from the seat to the ankle.
Jodhpurs are sometimes referred to, more colloquially, as “jods”. They are not as popular as breeches, typically, because they are seen as a more old school option. They have become more popular for young riders and can be seen most often on children under the age of 12. Since jodhpurs have a bulkier fit at the bottom, they are usually not worn with tall boots like breeches are. Instead, riders usually wear jodhpurs with paddock boots and something called underpasses. Underpasses, or keepers, are designed to go under paddock boots to keep the jodhpurs in their place.
Most jodhpurs come in either tan or white, so this is likely how you have seen them. However, there are also schooling jodhpurs, which may come in other colors besides just tan or white. The fabric that is used to make jodhpurs is usually some sort of cotton or cotton blend.
What are Kentucky Jodhpurs?
If you are familiar with horseback riding gear, or have been doing a lot of shopping recently for riding pants, you may have come across the term Kentucky Jodhpurs. As can be guessed from the name, they are a form of jodhpur riding pants, but what sets them apart from regular jodhpurs?
Kentucky jodhpurs feature a close fit from the rider’s waist to ankle, but flare out at the bottom with a wider cut. They are best suited for saddle seat riders, and are usually worn with either paddock boots or jodhpur boots. Some styles of Kentucky jodhpurs are full seat, but all of them feature knee pads for grip. When the rider is in the saddle, these pants actually go past the ankle. This helps to emphasize the appearance of the heel of the rider being down and also make the leg look longer. They can be seen as a more elegant choice for this reason.
Kentucky jodhpurs are usually made from either polyester, cotton, or some sort of cotton blend. When showing, Kentucky jodhpurs are in traditional and neutral colors, like navy, black, or brown. For schooling, however, they do come in many colors, and even patterns! Just like with classic jodhpurs, Kentucky jodhpurs come with keepers that go under the boots and prevent the pants from riding up.
Should I Wear Jodhpurs or Breeches?
Now comes the big question, now that you are knowledgeable about both breeches and jodhpurs. Which style of riding pant is best for you, and which should you choose? This is largely something that will be up to personal preference, so you can generally choose whichever you prefer and will perform better in! After all, the more comfortable that you are, the better you will ride! For schooling, for instance, this will mostly be a personal choice of yours.
When a child is learning to ride, jodhpurs are usually the choice of pant that is made. Part of the reasoning behind this is that the jodhpurs help children get a better feel for using their legs to communicate with the horse when they ride. If they are paired with paddock boots, jodhpurs can be suitable for children who are competing in short stirrup classes with gaiters. Of course, there are adult riders who will choose and prefer jodhpurs, too– especially if they always wore jodhpurs when learning to ride as a child.
Breeches, on the other hand, are favored by many English riding disciplines. This includes dressage, hunting and jumping, and eventing. They are versatile, which is the basis of much of their appeal. When it comes to hunter/jumper or equitation riders, knee patch breeches are the best choice. If a rider is a dressage rider, though, they will typically favor full seat breeches for their extra grip.
Overall, breeches are usually the top choice for showing, while jodhpurs are a great choice for beginner or intermediate riders.
Can I Ride a Horse in Tights?
You may also be wondering if you can ride a horse in tights, and luckily, the answer is yes! Riding tights, as they are called, are simply another type of riding pants that English riders may wear. They are basically a hybrid of breeches and athletic tights. In recent years, riding tights have become more popular due to the amount of comfort that they offer a rider.
For instance, they are lighter than either breeches or jodhpurs are– which are really the only other options for English riders. They are made from a stretchy fabric, usually a 4 way stretch material, which offers the ultimate in regards to easily getting them on and off, as well as being able to move around comfortably and easily. The material is breathable, too, which is always important when exercising. All of these features make riding tights well suited to schooling or trail riding– or both.
As mentioned above, riding tights are easy to get on, due to their stretchy fabric. They also do not have any sort of buttons or zippers which may hinder the process! Riding tights come in many styles as well, including ones with knee patches and others that are full seat. They are thin, but there are fleece lined options that are warm enough for fall or winter riding, too.