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From Breeches to Leggings: The Best Pants for Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding Pants: Finding the Perfect Match for Your Needs

Horseback riding gear is essential for every rider. Apart from the usual boots, helmet, and gloves, one must also select suitable pants for this activity.

While there are many jeans, leggings, and joggers on the market, not all are suitable for horseback riding. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best pants for horseback riding and explain what makes them indispensable for any equine enthusiast.

Recommended Pants Options

When selecting suitable pants for horseback riding, it’s important to consider the kind of riding you engage in and the clothing that offers the best flexibility, durability, and comfort. Here are some of the recommended options for horseback riding pants:


Breeches are close-fitting, flexible pants that extend down to the rider’s ankles. As they are typically made of a stretchy fabric, they allow the rider a full range of motion while also providing a good grip between the rider and the saddle.

Breeches are commonly used for English riding styles such as dressage, eventing, and show jumping.


Jodhpurs are a less tight option compared to breeches. They are characterized by a tapered leg design and a snug fit on the waist.

Jodhpurs are popular in English riding, especially classic styles like hacking, foxhunting, and polo. They are also comfortable for kids since they offer room for growth.

Tight-Fitting Jeans

Some horseback riders prefer tight-fitting jeans as they provide good grip on the saddle. Nevertheless, not all jeans are suitable for horseback riding.

Riders should choose high-quality jeans with excellent elasticity, flexibility, and durability. Hardcore cowboys and cowgirls may also opt for lined jeans that offer extra padding and protection.

Yoga Pants/Leggings

Yoga pants and leggings are incredibly stretchy, making them one of the most comfortable types of pants to wear for horseback riding. They are also suitable for warmer climates as they provide breathability, especially when starting.

Best Choice of Horseback Riding Pants

When it comes to selecting the best horseback riding pants, a few factors come into play: breathability, flexibility, grip, and durability. Here are some of the best choices of pants for horseback riding:


Breeches are an excellent choice for horseback riding since they provide the best grip and flexibility. They offer excellent breathability, thanks to the fabric, and have knee patches that help in stabilizing the grip between the rider and saddle.

Some advanced breeches contain other design modifications to improve the comfort and grip of the rider in the saddle.


Jodhpurs are also a good choice for horseback riding, especially for riders who prefer a less tight-fitting option compared to breeches.

Jodhpurs have a snug, comfortable fit around the ankles and waist, making them a popular option for classic English riding styles like hacking and polo.

Blue Jeans

Jeans are the most popular pants in the United States. When selected correctly, they can be made suitable for horseback riding.

Riders should choose jeans that offer excellent durability and elasticity, resulting in maximum grip and flexibility. They should also have extra padding in the inner thigh area or wear chaps or leggings underneath.

Yoga Pants/Leggings

Yoga pants and leggings offer excellent flexibility and breathability, making them comfortable options for horseback riding. Some riders may prefer yoga pants and leggings made of thicker materials to offer more durability, warmth, and a better grip.

Nuances of Horseback Riding Pants Options

There are various nuances in selecting the recommended pants option for horseback riding. Here are some of the crucial factors that one should consider before making a decision:

Fabric Options

Comfortable fabric styles include spandex, lycra, denim, cotton, and leather; each has particular strengths. Flexible material allows for comfort and movement, making it easier to grip the saddle and proper posture.

Fabric such as cotton provides breathability and comfort for the rider.

Sizing Options

Choosing the right size of pants is essential, not just for comfort but also for safety. The right fit allows the rider to balance and move easily.

The pants should fit well, but not be too tight as they can be constricted and make the rider uncomfortable.


Finally, the rider should look for pants that offer excellent durability, especially if they ride frequently. Horseback riding often exposes riders to agents like dirt, dust, mud, etc.

Durable materials allow the pants to last longer throughout the year.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to horseback riding pants, riders must select the best fitting pants that match their requirements. The right pants offer the rider necessary support, flexibility, and durability.

Riders should select riding pants that are comfortable, have the right design, and suit personal style preferences. Make a selection from a range of options available from brands such as Ariat, SmartPak, Kerrits, and many others.

Enjoy your ride with ease and comfort!

3) Horseback Riding in Jeans

Horseback riding in jeans is a classic American style, a reminder of the cowboy era from long ago. Jeans are a timeless piece of clothing and are known to be an affordable option for horseback riders.

However, not all jeans are suitable for riding, as riders need to consider the clothes’ fit, comfort level, and durability when choosing their riding pants.

The popularity of Jeans for Riding

Jeans have been a popular choice for horseback riding for decades. They are a staple of classic Americana and a traditional part of cowboy outfits.

Jeans are an affordable option for riders, as they are widely available at any clothing store. Furthermore, the durability of jeans makes them ideal riding pants for working with horses, as they can withstand rough terrain and other external forces.

Wearing Jeans for Riding

Jeans are an excellent choice for horseback riding, but riders need to consider the clothes’ fit when they wear jeans. Loose-fit jeans can often feel uncomfortable and can cause rubbing and pinching in the rider’s inner thighs.

Taller boots can help protect against discomfort, but they still don’t provide a lot of protection when compared to other horseback riding attire. Furthermore, riders using English saddles are not recommended to ride in jeans as they offer little to no support or flexibility for the varying postures styled in English riding disciplines.

Price of Jeans

Jeans come in a range of prices, making them affordable options for anyone on a budget. Cheap jeans can be bought at any clothing store, as primary retailers; however, spending more means investing in higher quality, more durable jeans for day-to-day horseback riding.

Pros and Cons of Riding in Jeans

Horseback riding in jeans has both advantages and disadvantages, and it’s essential to know what to expect. Some of the benefits of riding in jeans include their superior grip on the saddle.

While they are not as sticky as riding pants with knee patches, they still offer excellent grip when riding. Jeans also provide flexibility, making it easier to move around when riding.

They can be incredibly comfortable once you find the right fit. Jeans also have some downsides.

They are infamous for chafing the inner thighs, especially after extended periods of riding. Additionally, jeans are slow to dry, and once wet, they tend to cling to the skin.

4) Horseback Riding in Yoga Pants/Leggings

Yoga pants and leggings have been gaining popularity in recent years, and for a good reason. They are comfortable and flexible, providing horseback riders with excellent mobility and comfort.

Although they are not the most traditional option, they are popular due to their affordability and range of color and style options. Comfort Level of Yoga Pants/Leggings

Yoga pants and leggings are popular among riders for their high comfort levels.

They are usually made of a soft and stretchy fabric that provides the rider with maximum flexibility and freedom of movement. The fabric is also comfortable against the skin and maintains breathability even during strenuous activity.

Shortcomings of Yoga Pants/Leggings

One of the significant drawbacks of yoga pants and leggings is their lack of grip. During horseback riding, the rider needs to maintain constant contact with the saddle.

At times, yoga pants do not provide enough grip for the rider, leading to discomfort and the possibility of slipping off the saddle. Another point to consider is that yoga pants and leggings provide little to no protection for the rider in case of a fall.

When riding out on trails, there is always a risk of getting thrown off your horse. In such cases, rider’s clothing composition can be the difference between a little dirt or more severe consequences.

Lastly, depending on the rider’s personal fit, chaffing could be a possibility if the material rubs against areas that rub on the horse. Price of Yoga Pants/Leggings

Yoga pants and leggings are relatively inexpensive compared to traditional horseback riding attire options.

A pair can be bought for as little as $20 or less. The affordability of yoga pants and leggings makes them an accessible choice for individuals who are considering horseback riding but do not want to invest a considerable amount of money in the sport’s clothing.

Pros and Cons of Riding in Yoga Pants/Leggings

Riding in yoga pants and leggings has some advantages, including their superior flexibility, comfort, and breathability. Yoga pants and leggings allow for easy movement, which is essential for horseback riding.

As they are lightweight, they also dry quickly, making them a practical and low-maintenance option. However, one of the significant disadvantages is their lack of grip, which can lead to slipping on the saddle.

Also, minimal protection could lead to injury in the worst scenario. Additionally, certain brands can pill between the legs of riders, leading to discomfort.

Riders should thus consider the material composition of their yoga pants, leggings, or any other tight-fitting pants before purchasing.

Wrap Up

Horseback riding gear is essential for any rider to enjoy the sport fully. As we have seen, the right pair of pants is crucial for anyone who rides horses.

Whether you prefer the classic American style of jeans or the modern comfort of yoga pants or leggings, comfort and safety are key. 5) What Pants are Bad for Horseback Riding?

As we’ve seen in previous sections, the right pants are crucial for horseback riding. Choosing the right pair of pants depends on the rider’s personal preference, riding disciplines, and type of horse.

However, there are some pants options that riders should avoid when it comes to horseback riding due to their unsuitability, risks, or discomfort.

Pants to Avoid Wearing for Horseback Riding

Here are some of the pants options that riders should stay clear of when it comes to horseback riding:

Baggy Jeans

Baggy jeans are an unfavorable option for horseback riding as they can catch on the saddle. Any fabric that is caught on the saddle can be a hazard to the rider and their horse.

Baggy jeans also provide minimal grip and do not move with the rider’s movements.


Sweatpants may be comfortable, but they are unfit for horseback riding. These pants provide zero grip and offer no support.

Furthermore, if they get caught on the saddle, there is a risk of tripping which creates a safety hazard.

Pants with inseam

Pants with inseams, such as cargo pants or pants with long pockets, can cause discomfort to the rider. The seams of these types of pants create rubbing in the inner thighs, which could result in chafing and soreness.

Pants with low cut

Pants with a low waistband may be fashionable, but they are unsuitable for horseback riding. Low-cut pants, such as hipster-style pants, tend to slide down during horseback riding, making it uncomfortable, revealing, and hazardous to the rider.

Riding in Shorts

In general, riding in shorts is not recommended for horseback riding. Shorts provide minimal coverage and no protection.

In the event of a fall or an off-balance horse, the rider could suffer significant injuries on the exposed skin of their legs if riding with English saddles, due to a lack of leg support, resulting in the high probability of scraping against the saddle or horse. Wearing shorts is not suitable for any English riding styles.

However, in the case of Western Saddles, shorts can be compatible, considering that the fashion of the day on the ranches includes shorts. The right length of shorts is essential, making sure they don’t ride out while riding.

Cowboys and cowgirls have mastered the art of riding a horse while wearing shorts without getting injured. However, it is advisable that riders wear protective gear when on horseback, irrespective of their clothing choice.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right clothing for horseback riding is essential in ensuring comfort, safety, and preventing discomfort. Riders should avoid wearing pants that do not provide any grip or support.

Baggy jeans, sweatpants, pants with inseams, and pants with a low cut should be avoided. Riding in shorts is not recommended for English saddles, but it is a feasible option for western saddles.

Remember, when choosing pants for horseback riding, safety should always be the rider’s top priority. In conclusion, the right pants for horseback riding are crucial in ensuring comfort, safety, and preventing discomfort.

Breeches and jodhpurs provide the best grip, while yoga pants and leggings offer great flexibility and breathability. Jeans are an affordable option, but riders should ensure they are appropriately fitted.

Avoid baggy jeans, sweatpants, pants with inseams, and pants with a low cut. Remember, safety should always be the top priority when choosing horseback riding pants.


– What are the best pants for horseback riding?

Breeches, jodhpurs, yoga pants, and leggings are great options for horseback riding, providing grip, flexibility, breathability, and durability. – Are jeans suitable for horseback riding?

Yes, but only if they are the correct fit and offer good grip. – Can I ride in shorts?

It is not advisable to ride in shorts, especially for English riding styles where riders’ legs require full leg support. In Western saddles, it is feasible.

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