What Pants to Wear Horseback Riding

If you’re just starting out horseback riding, you might be wondering what type of pants you should wear. You’ll be happy to know that you have some options, and we did some work to find them all for you.

What type of pants should you wear horseback riding? You should wear breeches, jodhpurs, tight-fitting jeans, or yoga pants/leggings. Any of these options will work well for most riding situations.

Of these riding pants, some are certainly better than others, but each of these options could do the trick in a pinch. Let’s dive into the best choice of riding pants for your specific needs:

What Pants Are the Best for Riding?

 

Because they are specifically designed with horseback riding in mind, breeches and jodhpurs are our first recommendation for horseback riding pants. Not only are they comfortable, but they also come loaded with additional features that you won’t be able to find in blue jeans and yoga pants.

If you could imagine a magical pair of pants with the durability of blue jeans and the comfort of yoga pants, you would be thinking of a good pair of breeches or jodhpurs. There are some minor differences between breeches and jodhpurs that are good to be aware of that we’ll speak to a bit further on. (You can find my personal pants recommendations here.)

Next in line would be good ol’ fashioned blue jeans. Blue jeans are durable, comfortable, and have that classic western appeal if you want to feel like the star of your own western movie. Their durability and versatility make them a great option for horseback riding attire. Although depending on when and where you’re riding, they may or may not be the norm.

Riding in jeans make it easy to go straight to or from the barn no matter what else you have going on in the day, allowing you to spend every last possible second with your horse! (Which we all know is a major plus.)

Lastly, we have yoga pants, also known as leggings. Who doesn’t love a great pair of leggings? They’re breathable, flexible, and tight enough to avoid getting snagged in your riding equipment. However, the feeling of horseback riding on a cloud does, unfortunately, come with a few drawbacks that might lead you to choose one of the previous options that we’ve mentioned.

If you find yourself at the barn with any of these pants, you’ll be safe to get on a horse, whether it be for a lesson or a short trail ride. But before you head off to ride, let’s examine a few more of the nuances of these riding pants options.

Horseback Riding in Breeches

Horseback riding pants type

The word itself makes you feel more like an equestrian. But what are they and what makes them so great for riding?

Breeches are a fantastic choice for horseback riding because that’s exactly what they were made for. Seriously, the people that designed the first pair of breeches knew what they were doing.

Breeches, when sized correctly, are very comfortable and offer all of the supportive features that an avid equestrian could want. A distinguishing feature of breeches is that they only come down to around mid-calf. You’ll find that many riders competing in horse shows and competitions choose breeches as their riding pants of choice.

Average Price of Breeches

The average price for a good pair of breeches ranges from $30 dollars to $400 dollars.

Pros of Riding in Breeches

  • Thin fabric that allows for closer contact with the horse.
  • Designed to comfortably fit inside of tall riding boots.
  • Snug fit that prevents pinching and chaffing.
  • Flexible material allowing for full ranges of motion.
  • Most styles include gripping fabrics that go from the knee to the inner thigh.
  • Full seat styles available that help you stay gripped to the saddle.
  • Most styles include knee patches that offer added protection in the event of a fall.
  • Variety of fabric options available for both summer and winter riding.
  • Synthetic breeches are available that dry faster and are better at wicking water.
  • Variety of sizes available to fit all riders.

 

Cons of Riding in Breeches

  • Cotton breeches become damp from sweat and don’t dry very quickly.
  • Cotton variants of breeches will wear out in the thigh and crotch area.
  • Prices tend to run high for quality breeches.

 

Horseback Riding in Jodhpurs

Pants types for horseback riding

Jodhpurs are very similar to breeches. So similar, in fact, that most people use the terms interchangeably. However, don’t be mistaken. There is actually is one significant difference to be noted. While breeches cut off at mid-calf, jodhpurs extend all the way down to the ankle, making them the ideal selection for riders that prefer wearing shorter boots as opposed to taller riding boots.

Because of their great features, jodhpurs, along with breeches, are the riding pant of choice for horse shows and competitions.

Average Price of Jodhpurs

The average price for a good pair of jodhpurs is the same as for breeches and will range from $30 dollars to $400 dollars depending on the make and quality you select.

Pros of Riding in Jodhpurs

  • Thin fabric that allows for closer contact with the horse.
  • Designed to comfortably wear with short riding boots.
  • Snug fit that prevents pinching and chaffing
  • Flexible material allowing for full ranges of motion
  • Most styles include gripping fabrics that go from the knee to the inner thigh.
  • Full seat styles available that help you stay gripped to the saddle.
  • Most styles include knee patches that offer added protection in the event of a fall.
  • Variety of fabric options available for both summer and winter riding.
  • Synthetic breeches are available that dry faster and are better at wicking water.
  • Variety of sizes available to fit all riders.

 

Cons of Riding in Jodhpurs

  • Cotton jodhpurs become damp from sweat and don’t dry very quickly.
  • Cotton variants of jodhpurs will wear out in the thigh and crotch area.
  • Nice jodhpurs are more expensive than other riding pants options.

 

Horseback Riding in Jeans

Jeans horseback riding

The epitome of classic American riding apparel.

Jeans have been worn for years on end by cowboys and have established themselves as a great pair of pants for almost any occasion. Even horseback riding. A well-worn pair of jeans can serve as a fairly comfortable pair of pants to wear for your first riding lesson or a nice trail ride in the evening.

There are a couple of things to consider before wearing your favorite pair of jeans riding. Make sure that the jeans do not fit lower on your hips as this can cause discomfort. Additionally, if you ride in an English saddle in jeans, your legs can be pinched and your pant leg can ride up. Wearing taller boots while riding with jeans can help prevent both of these issues.

Average Price of Jeans

The average price for a new pair of jeans is between $20 and $150 dollars, although you can easily find them for much cheaper used.

Pros of Riding in Jeans

  • Non-expensive riding pants option.
  • Can be worn to work and school, as well as for riding.
  • Fairly comfortable while riding.

 

Cons of Riding in Jeans

  • They do not provide as much grip as breeches and jodhpurs.
  • Jeans do not dry as quickly as synthetic materials when they become wet.
  • Jeans are hot to ride in, in the summer.
  • They can cause chaffing when not worn with tall riding boots.
  • Jeans aren’t quite as comfortable as breeches, jodhpurs, or leggings.
  • Jeans offer less flexibility than other riding pants options.

 

Horseback Riding in Yoga Pants/Leggings

horseback riding in yoga pants

Galloping through a lush field wearing the world’s most comfortable pants sounds divine, doesn’t it? The first and most obvious benefit of leggings and yoga pants is how incredibly comfortable they are. Not only that, but they also allow you to move freely in any direction, and they’re very breathable for the warmer months of the year.

Some of the shortcomings of leggings when it comes to horseback riding is that they provide little to no saddle grip, they don’t offer much protection if you fall, and they can cause chaffing after a while. They are better suited for a short trot around the field rather than a four-hour trail ride. Leggings with holes cut into them should be avoided because they can become caught in your riding gear.

Average Price of Yoga Pants/Leggings

The average price for yoga pants/leggings will range from $5 to $75 dollars.

Pros of Riding in Yoga Pants/Leggings

  • Comfortable for shorter rides.
  • Very flexible material, allowing for free movements.
  • Are very breathable for hot summer months.
  • Small and light for easy packing.
  • Dry faster than most riding pants.
  • Incredibly cheap.

 

Cons of Riding in Yoga Pants/Leggings

  • Chaffing when worn for longer rides.
  • Offer little to no saddle grip.
  • Don’t offer much protection in the event of a fall.
  • Aren’t usually suited to winter weather.

 

Related Questions

What Pants are Bad for Horseback Riding?

Some of the pants you should avoid wearing for horseback riding are:

  • Baggy jeans or sweatpants. These can get caught in your tack and cause chaffing.
  • Any pants with an inseam. These will rub against your leg while riding, causing discomfort.
  • Pants that are too low cut. Pants that are cut too low will naturally move downward on your backside as you ride, which can result in some potentially awkward situations.

 

Can I Wear Shorts Horseback Riding?

If you’re going somewhere like the beach, you might be wondering if you can get away with wearing shorts while horseback riding. You should not wear shorts riding if you will be riding in an English saddle because the leather of the stirrup straps will rub and pinch your legs. If you plan to be riding in a western saddle, which is usually used for short horseback riding tours, you will likely be fine in shorts. Just keep in mind that shorts have a tendency to ride up more than pants.

You can see some of the riding pants and other gear I recommend by going here.



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