Why breeches?? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Why breeches??

Yes, yes, I know it's a dumb question, but... Why english riders are using breeches? Any practical reason for that? And what' the difference between the full-seat and "not a full seat"?
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 10:46 AM
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Umm...have you ever tried to ride dressage in jeans? Give it a go...let me know how that worked for you.

Full seat breeches have a leather/suede add-on that extends from the inner knee, up the inner part of the leg, and covers the bottom part of one's 'seat'. These are the areas that contact the saddle and the leather/suede provides a bit more grip to the slippery leather saddle for the rider.

Regular breeches just have a patch at the inner knee.
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 10:47 AM
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Breeches are based on military mounted unit uniforms. Most mounted units used a type of English saddle, and the tradition was continued with non-military riders. The idea was to be comfortable while riding long distances.

Cow punchers needed a strong fabric to withstand weeks in the saddle, and their preference was for denim. Not because it was comfy, but because it was durable. Western riders tend to wear jeans because of this particular tradition.

Full seat breeks are when the leather patch is extended all the way to the seat area, and doesn't stop at the lower thighs. Regular breeks are where the leather patch is between the lower thighs to just about mid-calf.

I prefer breeks simply because they're more comfortable than denim and don't have those gawdawful seams. The stretch denim riding pants are a good way to merge the two styles if you simply must ride in jeans.

Last edited by Speed Racer; 03-30-2010 at 10:49 AM.
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, guys! That was very interesting to read. I actually don't like to ride in jeans because I feel pretty confined in movement (the exception is leisure trail ride in western saddle), so I use the sport pants and older pants I have (they are funny, but still go strong) for the jumping lessons. I was curious if the actual breeches give a better grip as I want to buy a pair.

Mercedes, I'm not in any way a dressage rider (and don't think I'll be able to be a one ever due to my abilities ), but why it's so hard? Because the jeans are more stiff?
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 12:42 PM
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The seams down the inside legs, Kitten. Those things will tear you up big time. Plus yes, denim is much stiffer than breek material.

Not exactly conducive to producing the fine, almost invisible cues and close seat required in dressage.

I don't like my inside legs getting torn to shreds by jean seams, thank you.
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
Mercedes, I'm not in any way a dressage rider (and don't think I'll be able to be a one ever due to my abilities ), but why it's so hard? Because the jeans are more stiff?
Well, jeans have big, bulky seams where there shouldn't be seams. In western riding you ride on your 'pockets'...in english riding you don't and that big inseam up the inside of the leg converging at the crotch...um...yeah...

As well, you touched on the confinement issue of jeans, and jeans on a smooth leather dressage saddle is very slippery. You can't get jeans inside a riding boot either.
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 12:55 PM
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Umm...have you ever tried to ride dressage in jeans? Give it a go...let me know how that worked for you.
For the first year I rode English (I'll call it dressage, but only of the lowest degree), I rode in jeans. I never had a problem with it, but I ended up buying a pair of used breeches off ebay that I don't mind eating dirt in, and I'll never go back! Now it hurts to ride English in jeans.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 12:58 PM
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For the first year I rode English (I'll call it dressage, but only of the lowest degree), I rode in jeans. I never had a problem with it, but I ended up buying a pair of used breeches off ebay that I don't mind eating dirt in, and I'll never go back! Now it hurts to ride English in jeans.
I would assume then that you learned how to sit in a more correct position since then, and now actually 'ride' instead of just manage to stay on the horse.
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 01:09 PM
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I would assume then that you learned how to sit in a more correct position since then, and now actually 'ride' instead of just manage to stay on the horse.
Absolutely. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to improve on, but it is far easier to sit correctly, and especially to use my seat, without fighting jeans. I don't think I ever learned so much about the importance of riding from my seat than when I bought my schooling breeches and started reading up on classical dressage.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-30-2010, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, All! That was very informative discussion. I think I going to get a pair to see how it'll go compare to my sport pants.
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