Struggling to find the best equestrian jeans? That’s the rub.
Denim first came to America in the 1800’s with Bavarian immigrant, Levi Strauss. The Gold Rush was at its peak, creating high demand for a tough, sturdy fabric. Both cowboys and miners settled on blue jeans as the perfect material.
Jeans have evolved to become mainstream fashion in the United States, but still function as the pants of choice for the modern cowboy or cowgirl.
Because sizing can vary across manufacturers as well as styles, we always recommend carefully consulting sizing charts or trying on jeans when possible.
To find the perfect pants, consider the following factors:
- Fit: Boot cut jeans are best for Western riding. Proper fitting pants should almost touch the ground when standing up—this length will help keep the pants from riding up your leg in the saddle. For English riders, consider skinny jeans—these are more likely to fit under your tall boots or half chaps. Boot cut will bunch! Skinny jeans will also fit inside your western boots
- Stretch: Look for denim with a bit of stretch—you’ll need enough room to move. Can you comfortably get your foot up into a stirrup? Sit astride a horse? A little elasticity can also help create a more flattering fit.
- Durability: Generally, the lower the price, the lower the quality of denim. It can be worth it to spend a little more to get a high-quality pair of jeans that will last. That said, we aren’t opposed to keeping an eye out for sales on our favorite brands! Be conscious of your budget and realize the longevity of your pants may be shortened if they are made from cheaper materials.
- Comfort: Jeans that stretch a little should be more comfortable in the saddle. In addition to some elasticity, we also recommend looking for denim with flat seams on the inner leg for maximum comfort in the saddle. Remember, your pants should be comfortable both in and out of the saddle.
- Style: This category can be a bit of a personal preference—do you prefer light colored or dark colored denim? High rise or low rise? We do recommend saving the bling for the rodeo, not the arena. Fashionable western jeans can not only be uncomfortable, but butt bling could damage your saddle.
Best Horse Riding Jeans Overall
Ariat R.E.A.L Riding Low Rise Boot Cut Jeans
These women’s jeans have a classic western appeal and are made for comfort. Rider tested, you can trust that these pants are engineered for performance in the saddle and on the farm. Slim through the thigh, the boot-cut design includes spandex for flexibility.
Ariat is known for their focus on comfort and durability, both of which are apparent in these jeans.
- Fit: Boot cut, available in Short, Regular, Long, and Extra Long.
- Price Point: $$
- What Customers are Saying: Exceptional quality that looks great in out in town or while working cattle
Best Women’s Jeans for Horseback Riding
Kimes Ranch Women’s Betty Modest Bootcut Jeans
Kimes Ranch jeans are made for the perfect fit and have been described as “Style at its best.” Ring spun denim provides greater fabric strength for longevity and durability. The upper thigh and knee is fitted, with a practical, boot-leg opening for an elegant cut.
These jeans are known for both their fit and quality!
- Fit: Boot cut, mid rise with multiple inseam lengths
- Price Point: $$$
- What Customers are Saying: The comfort will take you by surprise—fabric is tough and more substantial than the competition.
Best Men’s Jeans for Horseback Riding
Stetson Men’s 1312 Modern Boot Cut Jeans
Classically cut, this high-quality denim is built tough. They feature a universally flattering, low-rise fit that is relaxed through the thigh with a boot cut leg. The dark-wash denim is comfortable and looks authentically worn-in.
Perfect for the ranch or out on the town, these jeans come recommended by equine professionals.
- Fit: Boot Cut, Low Rise
- Price Point: Moderate
- What Customers are Saying: The stylish look and quality makes these one of the best jeans you can purchase
Best Wrangler Jeans for Horse Riding
Willow Mid Rise Boot Cut Ultimate Riding Jean
These women’s jeans are designed for roping and riding. Whether you are in the saddle or doing the town, they are designed for durability and comfort. The no-gap waistband offers full coverage.
While decorative stitching and contrast seams present a classic, effortless style.
- Fit: Mid rise, boot cut, with multiple inseam options
- Price Point: $$
- What Customers are Saying: Seams are flatter and softer on the inner thigh for comfort in the saddle
Best Kids Jeans for Horse Riding
Wrangler Boys’ 13mwz Cowboy Cut Original Fit Jean
These jeans are made for junior cowboys. The leg opening fits perfectly over a pair of boots. A classic style, this cowboy cut jean is the Official ProRodeo Competition jean.
The denim is durable and tough, but also comfortable and breathable for all day wear.
- Fit: Cowboy cut, with slim, regular, and husky options
- Price Point: $
- What Customers are Saying: These are the best jeans on the market! Great for kids that are growing, the quality is exceptional so you can pass them down to the next one.
Best Denim Breeches for Horse Riding
Kerrits Stretch Denim Knee Patch Breech
Made for riders, by riders, these breeches are built to fit and work as hard as you do. These pants are everything you love about your favorite pair of jeans, but with added features so they are perfect in the saddle. They offer exceptional stretch while providing stability and are designed to retain their shape over time.
The skinny fit pairs perfectly with tall boots or half chaps, and the knee patch adds durability.
- Fit: Mid Rise, skinny fit
- Price Point: $$$
- What Customers are Saying: Tons of stretch while still flattering. The perfect denim breech actually designed for riding!
Best Full Seat Denim Breeches for Horse Riding
Dublin Ladies Shona Full Suede Seat Denim Breeches
These denim breeches offer bi-stretch fabric featuring both coverage and compression. The mid-rise styling includes a no-gap waistband for a slim fit.
The suede full seat option maximizes grip in the saddle for a great ride.
- Fit: Mid rise, skinny jean
- Price Point: $$$
- What Customers are Saying: Stretchy but durable, this material feels like a second skin. Very comfortable!
Best Winter Jeans for Horse Riding
Riders by Lee Indigo Women’s Fleece Lined Slim Straight
Lee mid-rise jeans have a straight leg opening and are lined with plaid fleece for extra warmth in colder, winter months. They come in two color options, dark shade (dark denim) or mid shade (traditional blue jeans).
They are perfect for winter, especially when you don’t want to layer.
- Fit: Mid rise, straight leg
- Price Point:$
- What Customers are Saying: These jeans are perfect for winter farm chores and are very comfy without feeling too heavy to wear.
Best Plus Size Horse Riding Jeans
Wrangler Women’s Retro Mae Plus Size
Wrangler does a great job offering a variety of sizes in their lineup. The Women’s Retro Mae Plus Size, however, seems to rise above the rest.
It is known for its flattering fit, slimming silhouette, and quality of both materials and workmanship.
- Fit: Boot Cut, Mid Rise
- Price Point: $$
- What Customers are Saying: Several customers mentioned loving these jeans so much that they went out and bought another pair (or four) right away!
Best No Inseam Horse Riding Jeans
Ariat Men’s Low Rise Boot Cut Jeans
These jeans are perfect for anything from working on the ranch to a night out on the town. The no-rub comfort inseams are designed to prevent abrasion, even after hours in the saddle.
Ring-spun denim is of superior quality; combined with heavy-duty hardware, reinforced pockets, and anchored belt loops, these jeans are designed to last.
- Fit: Relaxed, low rise
- Price Point: $$
- What Customers are Saying: The fit is perfect—these jeans are worth the money
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are jeans good for riding horses?
Jeans are the pants of preference for time spent in a Western saddle. They are durable, comfortable, and will protect your legs in the saddle.
Q: What are horse riding jeans called?
When searching for the right pants for time in the saddle, be sure to clarify what style you will be riding. Appropriate pants differ if you are riding Western or English.
For Western riding, be sure to search for jeans specifically for horseback riding! Otherwise you can get results more geared towards fashion or motorcycle riding, to name a few.
English-specific riding pants are called jodhpurs or breeches, but are not ideal for Western riding.
Q: What should you not wear when riding a horse?
We don’t recommend wearing tennis shoes for safety reasons. When working around horses, y you need a closed-toe shoe with a heel and a hard sole.
Shorts are also not recommended, as you need long pants to protect your legs from chafing against the saddle or stirrup leathers.
Q: Can Western riders wear breeches?
While uncommon, wear what you want provided it is safe and comfortable! That said, jeans are the most common type of pants seen in Western riding.
Western riding pants, similar to English riding pants, do exist—these offer a more snug fit along with a knee patch to keep you secure in the saddle.
Q: Can you ride Western in leggings?
Yes, technically you can ride in leggings! Wear what is comfortable for you (and offers necessary precautions against any hazards you may encounter). Leggings aren’t designed for time in the saddle, however, as they may be slippery or less secure than pants specifically made for horseback riding.
We’d suggest considering jeans for Western riding, or breeches/riding tights for English riding. They’ll offer a more secure grip and are generally made from a thicker material.
Q: Should horse riding jeans be tight?
If you ride in jeans, you want them to be tight, but flexible (or stretchy). Tightness, without give, will be uncomfortable and make moving freely in the saddle more difficult.
Skinny jeans made from stretch denim are a good option. They’re not only flexible, but they conform to your body while still providing plenty of give. Plus, they fit nicely inside boots or under chaps.
The jeans should also fit snugly around your waist so your pants don’t slip down while you’re riding (trying to pull your pants up while trotting is no easy feat!).
Q: Should horse riding jeans have pockets?
Pockets in riding jeans are great places to keep your phone or to store a few treats. Look for jeans that have flat stitched pockets to best protect your saddle. Embellishments or bling may be flashier, but they can do serious damage to your saddle.
I like jeans that have a “hidden” pocket (or a pocket within a pocket). They are extra secure! Phone doesn’t fit in your pocket? You can always get a cell phone holder designed to “clip” onto your pants or belt.
Not to worry if you can’t find a pair of jeans you like—there are plenty of other types of riding pants with pockets as well!
Once you find the perfect fitting jeans, be sure to take care of them to maximize their longevity! To avoid shrinking, turn your jeans inside out before washing. Machine wash on the gentle cycle or by hand using cold water and hang to dry.
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