Apparel Tips

10 Best Horse Riding Pants (English + Western Styles)

woman riding horse in english style tack
mm
Written by Nicky H

A Rookie Rundown

Long pants are a staple for horseback riding. They protect your legs from chafing in the saddle and from dirt, sunburn, bug bites, and scrapes. But what pants are best?

Your chosen riding style will strongly influence the type of pants you wear in the saddle. While jeans are popular for Western riders, breeches, riding tights, and jodhpurs are all common for English riders.

Regardless of discipline, you’ll want pants with enough stretch to comfortably mount and dismount. Avoid pants that are too loose and could become tangled in your tack or uncomfortably bunched up.

Best Riding Pant Summary

Pant Style Brand Price Point Key Feature
English Riding Tights BALEAF Women’s Riding Pants $ Affordable, lightweight tights with pockets and silicone knee grips
English Riding Breeches Kerrits Ice Fil Full Seat Tech Tight $$$ Cool and breathable, these hi-tech tights are ideal for summer
White Dressage Breeches FITS PerforMAX Zip Front Full Seat $$$$ Flattering breeches designed to optimize performance in the saddle
Winter Riding Breeches Kerrits Sit Tight Windpro Knee Patch $$$ Insulates and protects against the elements without restricting movement
Western Riding Jeans – Mens Stetson Mens 1312 Modern Fit Boot Cut $$ – $$$ Relaxed thigh design increases freedom of movement
Western Riding Jeans – Women Women’s Wrangler Ultimate Riding Jean Willow Mid-Rise Boot Cut $$ Flattened inside seams reduce chafing, while high back provides better coverage
Western Pants for Showmanship Irideon Circuit Show Pant $$$ Versatile showmanship pants that fit neatly under chaps
Western Winter Riding Pants HORZE Cheyenne Women’s Padded Winter Riding Pants $$$ Padded water-resistant and windproof pants complete with snow locks for extra protection
Padded Riding Pants HORZE Adeline Women’s Padded Waterproof Full Seat Breeches $$$ Close-fitting pants reduce bulk in the saddle while protecting against the rain and wind
Waterproof Riding Pants LeMieux Drytex Waterproof Breeches for Women $$$$ Slimline waterproof pants, complete with fleece lining for extra warmth

BALEAF Women’s Riding Pants

These lightweight riding tights are made from breathable, stretchy fabric that clings to your body like a second skin. Suitable for all types of disciplines, from competitive trail riding to showjumping, they come in a range of colors, although dressage riders might be frustrated at the lack of a white option.

Silicone grips and buckskin knee pads provide extra grip, keeping you stable and secure in the saddle, and reducing wear and tear.
With two deep side pockets for storing horse treats, mobile phones, and other essentials, these versatile riding pants offer both practicality and convenience, ensuring you have everything you need at your fingertips.

These pants are seamless along the inside legs to reduce rubbing and reinforced to increase durability.

Non-silicone grips keep the leg hems neatly tucked into your boots for a professional appearance, while the mid-rise comfort waistband prevents them from rolling down and revealing parts of your body you’d rather keep to yourself!

BALEAF Equestrian Breeches
$33.99

PROS:

  • Lightweight, stretchy fabric ideal for summer
  • Silicone grips increase stability in the saddle
  • Deep pockets accommodate all the essentials

CONS:

  • The waistband is a little tight and may cause discomfort
  • Not thick enough for winter excursions
03/26/2024 12:35 pm GMT

Kerrits Ice Fil Full Seat Tech Tight

When the temperature rises, it can be a battle to stay cool in the saddle, but not with these technical riding tights! The innovative fabric blend of spandex and nylon transforms perspiration into a cooling agent.

Designed with the rider’s comfort in mind, these technical tights provide a refreshing and breathable experience, allowing you to focus on your ride without the discomfort of overheating.

The legs and seat are treated with Anti-Slip Kerrit Sticks™ that is both breathable and grippy, ensuring a secure and confident seat. Not only that, but the fabric also provides UPF+50 sun protection, providing additional protection for your legs.

Comfortable and cool with 4-way stretch coverage and handy side pockets, these riding tights guarantee unrestricted movement in and out of the saddle and easy access to all your essentials.

Kerrits Ice Fil Full Seat Tech Tight
$79.00

PROS:

  • Breathable material keeps you cool and provides sun protection
  • Anti-Slip Kerrit Sticks™ increases stability in the saddle
  • Available in a wide range of colors and sizes

CONS:

  • The quality of the stitching may vary, affecting durability
  • Not available in white
03/27/2024 11:52 am GMT

FITS PerforMAX Zip Front Full Seat

These riding breeches are designed to perform. The leather panels on the inside of the legs allow for an exceptional range of motion while promoting a deeper, more secure position in the saddle.

Designed for all seasons, these breeches are made using micro-poly yarns that wick moisture away from your body in hot weather and provide insulation in the cold. The lycra-blend fabric camouflages cellulite (thank you!) and provides comfortable support and shaping for your legs and body.

A smooth finish effortlessly sheds dirt, shavings, and hair, keeping you looking polished in and out of the saddle. The mid-rise design with a zip front and convenient front slash pockets adds a touch of practicality to the overall design.

Find out more about the best breeches brands here.

FITS PerforMAX Zip Front Full Seat
$235.40

PROS:

  • Leather panels promote a secure seat, giving you confidence in the saddle
  • Micro-poly yarns wick moisture and provide insulation
  • Body sculpting technology creates flattering lines

CONS:

  • Higher price range
  • Front fasteners can be a little fiddly
03/26/2024 01:19 pm GMT

Kerrits Sit Higher Windpro Knee Patch Breeches

No more shivering in the saddle or riding like a hunchback to avoid the lashing rain, icy wind, or freezing snow. These Polartec® breeches shield you against chilly conditions while insulating you in a layer of cozy brushed fleece.

Designed with the active equestrian in mind, minimizing bulk while maximizing efficiency. A wider waistband to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit, while the Gripstretch Suede™ knee patches increase grip, keeping you secure in the saddle.

An easy-access side pocket means you can carry your essentials with you, making these breeches your go-to winter riding companion.

For more winter riding options, check out our article on The Great Kerrits Winter Riding Tights Showdown.

Kerrits Sit Tight Wind Pro Knee Patch
$129.00

PROS:

  • Protects against the elements without restricting movement
  • Wider waistband designed for extra comfort
  • Suede knee patches enhance stability and safety

CONS:

  • Sizes may run a little small
  • The waistband may be too wide for some riders
03/26/2024 01:20 pm GMT

Stetson Men’s 1312 Modern Fit Bootcut Jeans

Stetson Men’s 1312 Modern Bootcut Jeans blend classic style with durability, making them a solid choice for the equestrian enthusiast.

Crafted from high-quality denim, these jeans are made to withstand the rigors of active wear. The flattering low-rise fit offers a relaxed feel through the thigh, providing both style and comfort for riders.

Ready for action straight out of the gate, these jeans boast a comfortable, worn-in appearance.

Made from 100% cotton denim, they are durable yet provide enough stretch for all-day comfort.

Check out this article for more tips on finding the Best Jeans for Horse Riding in All-Day Comfort.

Stetson Mens 1312 Modern Fit Jean

PROS:

  • High-quality denim increases durability
  • Boot-cut design ideal for Western riding
  • Relaxed thigh promotes freedom of movement

CONS:

  • Raised seams on the inside legs may cause chafing
  • Some wearers report a breaking-in period, during which they may feel a little tight

Women’s Wrangler Ultimate Riding Jean Willow Mid-Rise Boot Cut

Recommended as the ultimate jeans for horse riding, these trail-blazing denims feature flat inner seams to reduce chafing and a no-gap waistband with a higher back for full coverage and comfort.

The classic five-pocket styling gives you plenty of places to keep your essentials while maintaining a sleek silhouette.
With a range of sizes and lengths available, these riding jeans offer a tailored fit for riders of all shapes and sizes.

Fitted through the seat and thigh, these jeans are tailored to fit over your favorite boots.

Wrangler Willow Mid Rise Riding Jean
$30.50

PROS:

  • Flattened inner seams reduce chafing
  • A high back and no-gap waistband provide full coverage in the saddle
  • Available in various lengths and sizes

CONS:

  • Maybe a little stiff and require some breaking in
  • Wrangler’s version of boot cut is a bit wide compared to other brands
03/26/2024 03:44 pm GMT

Irideon Circuit Show Pant

Crafted for both elegance and functionality, these pull-on showmanship pants are designed to enhance your presentation in the arena.

They create a sleek silhouette when trotting out your horse and fit neatly under your chaps, ensuring a seamless transition from on-foot presentation to in the saddle.

The Posi-Core fabric is comfortable, stretchy, and breathable, sculpting and supporting your muscles without restricting movement.

With extra length for a customizable inseam, these show pants cater to riders of all heights and can easily accommodate a 6-foot equestrian with big ambitions in the show ring.

Check out this article for more tips on what to wear to a Western horse show.

Irideon Circuit Show Pant
$128.27

PROS:

  • Stretchy fabric supports without restricting movement
  • Flattering silhouette
  • High-rise waist prevents any unwanted exposure!

CONS:

  • Limited colors available
  • Sizes run a little large
03/26/2024 03:44 pm GMT

HORZE Cheyenne Women’s Padded Winter Riding Pants

Say goodbye to the discomfort of thermal leggings and the bulkiness of baggy rainproof pants, and hello to these innovative winter riding pants.

With advanced padding for warmth, windproof technology to shield you from chilly gusts, and water-repellent properties to keep you dry, these pants are a game-changer for the all-weather equestrian.

Adjustable fastenings at the leg bottoms and waist mean you can dial in the perfect fit, while the reinforced suede-like seat provides extra traction and stability in the saddle.

Snow locks act as a barrier against the elements, keeping snow and slush at bay, while the reflective tape finishing increases your visibility in low-light conditions.

HORZE Cheyenne Winter Riding Pants
$109.99

PROS:

  • Insulated water-resistant and windproof pants
  • The suede-like seat provides additional grip in the saddle
  • Snow locks keep your feet and ankles warm and dry

CONS:

  • Sizes run a little large
  • Bulkier than some, these riding pants may restrict movement in the saddle
03/26/2024 03:59 pm GMT

HORZE Adeline Women’s Padded Waterproof Full Seat Breeches

Crafted with waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric, these padded breeches protect you against the elements without restricting your movement.

The silicone full seat provides excellent grip in the saddle while the back high waist design adds a touch of sophistication to your winter wardrobe.

With a waterproof rating of 3000mm and breathability of 3000mvp, these padded winter trousers offer reliable protection against winter conditions.

The taped seams enhance durability, ensuring these breeches are built to withstand the rigors of winter riding. Easy to care for, these breeches are machine washable in cold water.

HORZE Adeline Waterproof Full Seat Breeches
$84.99

PROS:

  • Close-fit waterproof riding pants that don’t add bulk
  • Silicone seat provides grip in the saddle
  • Machine washable

CONS:

  • Boot cut design may not be compatible with tall boots
  • Only limited colors and sizes available
03/26/2024 07:00 am GMT

LeMieux Drytex Waterproof Breeches for Women

You might need to save up if you want a pair of these slimline waterproof breeches. The higher-than-average price tag may be a little off-putting, but it reflects the product’s quality and innovative design.

These waterproof pants look and feel like a standard pair of riding breeches but have a special membrane that will keep you dry in pouring rain, and on those cold, dew-covered mornings. The stretchable fabric will move with you as you adjust your position in the saddle, while the soft fleece lining will keep you snug and comfortable.

Abrasion-resistant fabric and technical detailing make these breeches both durable and stylish without being too showy.

For more waterproof pant suggestions, check out our article on 5 Waterproof Horse Riding Pants for Rainy Hacks.

Pants 101

Form

Riding pants tend to be more tightly fitting, and are designed to move with the rider’s body. It can be challenging to ride in loose-fitting clothes as they tend to catch on the saddle and stirrups, and bunch up under the rider, causing discomfort and chafing.

  • Jodhpurs are designed to be worn with paddock boots, and are more commonly seen in children’s sizes. Breeches are paired with tall boots and will come in a variety of both children and adult sizes.
  • Riding pants can be made from a variety of materials ranging from denim to cotton to spandex. A little stretch goes a long way in terms of comfort and mobility in the saddle.
  • Aside from different lengths, you also have a choice of waistband.
    • High-waisted breeches are better for showjumping as they keep your back covered when you lean forward over the obstacles.
    • Low-rise riding pants can be more flattering and may allow for greater freedom of movement around the waist and hips.

Function

Whether you opt for a pair of jeans, breeches, or riding tights, you want something functional that moves with you—rather than against you.

Riding pants should fit snugly, allowing you to move freely and position yourself correctly in the saddle. They are usually reinforced in the seat and knees to give you more protection and have seams on the outside of the legs to reduce chafing.

Features

  • Comfort waistband – is flattering, supports the stomach, and comes high enough at the back to prevent any unwanted exposure!
  • Knee patches – protect against chafing and increase security in the saddle. While traditionally made from leather or suede, many manufacturers are now using grippier synthetic materials like silicone or faux suede.
  • Full seat – full seat breeches offer additional protection and grip in the saddle. The reinforced area runs from the knee to the seat, improving the rider’s stability (and stickability) in the saddle!
  • Reinforced stitching – increases the durability of the riding pants, allowing them to move and stretch with the rider without splitting.
  • Waterproofing – waterproof riding pants have come a long way since I was a kid! They look much like any other style of riding pants, but are made from breathable materials lined with a waterproof membrane.
  • Insulation – if you’re riding in the winter, you’ll welcome a bit of extra insulation, so look out for polar fleece-lined winter jeans or breeches that combine your favorite features in a warmer option.
  • Stretch – your riding pants must move with you and not get left behind in the saddle. Cotton mix pants, made from a combination of cotton and a high-tech fiber like spandex, microfiber, or nylon, offer more stretchiness and durability than the pure cotton alternatives.

Pants by Season

The best riding pants for warmer summer months are breathable and lightweight, but they won’t offer any protection against the wind or rain.

Fair-weather riders may not care too much, but those who ride regardless of the weather may need to invest in some waterproof riding pants for those soggy days and some insulated winter pants to keep the chill away.

woman riding horse in snow

Insulated, wind-proof pants keep you warm when riding in the coldest temperatures. Source: Canva

Pants by Discipline (English vs. Western)

While English riders need tight-fitting pants, jodhpurs, or breeches that move with them as they adjust their position in the saddle, Western riders are more stationary and often prefer to ride in jeans.

Dedicated riding jeans lack the bulky inside seams of traditional jeans, making them more suited to a day in the saddle.

If you’re competing, however, you’ll need to invest in a pair of show-quality Western pants and, depending on your chosen discipline, a pair of chaps as well.

Pants by Activity (Barn chores vs. Showing)

You don’t want to wear your white dressage breeches to muck out a stall or groom a muddy horse! They simply weren’t designed to handle so much dirt. When it comes to barn chores, opt for durable and easy-to-clean pants that can withstand the rigors of the barn.

Comfort is key for these tasks, so choose pants that allow for unrestricted movement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the different types of breeches?

Jodhpurs and breeches are very similar, and many consider jodhpurs to be a type of breech. The main difference between the two is that jodhpurs reach over ankles, while breeches tend to stop just above. Today, jodhpurs are more common for children while breeches tend to be worn by adults.

Aside from the choice between jodhpurs and breeches, you also have a couple of other options. Knee patch breeches have grippy material on the inside of the knees and are popular among show jumpers and eventers. In full seat breeches, that grippy material runs from the knee up the inner thigh to the seat, offering even more stability and stickability in the saddle.

Color can also influence when and where certain breeches are worn. White breeches are worn for show, but obviously not appropriate for barn chores!

Q: What are riding breeches made of?

Riding breeches were traditionally made from cotton, but more technical fabrics are now being utilized to increase flexibility and stretch. Advanced micro-fibers are becoming increasingly popular as they offer more breathability and absorb moisture better than cotton.

Q: How do you know what size breeches to buy?

You want your breeches to be tight enough so that they don’t wrinkle and cause rubs, but not so tight that you cut off your circulation! Women’s breeches are sized according to length and waist size, with many leading brands providing short, regular, and long alternatives.

Most manufacturers provide sizing charts like this one so you can guarantee a perfect fit.

Q: What is the best brand of riding breeches?

Some of the big brands in the equestrian world produce some of the best riding breeches, so you won’t be surprised to hear names like Kerrits and Ariat being bandied around. We explore the best brands of riding breeches in detail in our article on that very subject!

Q: Do you wear jeans or leggings horseback riding?

You can wear both jeans and leggings for riding, but neither is quite as good as a pair of purpose-made riding pants.

Leggings can be very slippery as they lack the silicone grips of riding tights. Many are also cropped, so won’t protect your lower leg and calf against the rubbing of the stirrup leather. Leggings are generally made of lightweight material that won’t withstand the rigors of horseback riding.

Jeans, especially those designed for riding, can be very comfortable for Western riding, however, they won’t protect your lower leg from the pinching common in an English saddle. For that, you’ll need tall boots or half chaps.

Unsurprisingly, purpose-made riding pants are far better than either leggings or jeans, providing support, stability, grip, and freedom of movement.

Q: What do horse riders wear in winter?

Layers are key! You’ll want a combination of a breathable base layer, a mid layer such as a vest, and a waterproof, windproof winter riding jacket. Add some fleece-lined winter riding pants and insulated boots with wool socks, along with riding-specific winter gloves and a hat, and you’ll be good to go in the coldest of temps.

Q: Do they make padded riding pants like padded bicycle shorts?

If you’re accustomed to cycling shorts with padding for comfort in the (bike) saddle, you may look for something similar in the equestrian world. You’re not likely to find it, however. Most saddles are built with cushioning in mind, so shop for some padding in your saddle, not your pants.

Parting Thoughts

The older I get, the more concerned I am about being comfortable in the saddle (and out of it). Why compromise on comfort when there are so many hi-tech performance pants to choose from?

Whether you’re looking for lightweight riding tights for long summer trail rides, white breeches for your next big dressage competition, or insulated pants for winter, we’ve got you covered.

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Sources/References

Kerrits Size Chart | Breeches Size Guide

 
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