Why are riding pants so tight? (Bear with me) - Page 2

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Why are riding pants so tight? (Bear with me)

This is a discussion on Why are riding pants so tight? (Bear with me) within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    10-18-2013, 12:42 PM
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
No bsms, it ISN'T for looks.

I've ridden English my entire riding life, and can tell you from experience that loose fabric = rubs/burns, while tighter fabrics mean less of them...
Hmmm...90% of my riding has been in an Australian saddle which is a variant of an English saddle, always in blue jeans ($15.88 at Wal-Mart). Nope, no rubs, burns or scuffed saddles, including my Bates English saddles. And no, I don't need to worry about "underwear lines" in my Wranglers.

We also have forum members who ride endurance in baseball pants (kind of like baggy sweatpants). And the Cavalry rode in uniform pants, and I doubt they had to many men on sick call due to 'friction burns'. My wife uses sweatpants for riding without complaint.

Looks. Or fashion. But NOT because looser pants result in burns, chaffing, etc.
boots likes this.
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    10-18-2013, 12:44 PM
OH, man, I can wear a well fitting pair of breeches all day riding and sleeping in a tent. **sigh**
It isn't like the pants that David Tutera wore riding during the Texas wedding episode, which he SPLIT, btw. Those were skin-tight.
Correctly fitting breeches are for an athletic endeavor, NOT style. Although you'd think so by the models who are photographed for riding catalogs. I like to point out how uncomfortable they all look holding reins and posing, not having a CLUE as to how to handle a horse.
    10-18-2013, 12:44 PM
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
...Those flared breeches were a lot tighter than they looked, by the way.
If you say so...BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10-18-2013, 12:45 PM
Super Moderator
Baggy jeans tend to rub and ride up the leg , stretchy jodhpurs don't and are comfy .

I had a pair of those prehistoric wing shaped old fashioned cavalry style breeches as a youngster- and no they were not comfortable!!
Corporal and Khaeix like this.
    10-18-2013, 12:51 PM
I've ridden various types of English for 16 years and have never had a single occurrence of rub marks, chafing, etc. in my jeans, lose running pants, and sweats How do people get them? The only problem I ever had was riding saddleseat in shorts and just wrapped polos around my legs.
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    10-18-2013, 01:26 PM
Hehehe now I feel old, my first johds were elephant ears as well, I was so glad when I got my first pair of stretchy fitted tights!

For me it certainly isn't a style thing, it is comfort in the saddle and I confess maybe habit. I have to say though that when I have ridden in jeans in English, I do get pinched by the leathers, something funky usually happens with my stirrups, the legs of the jeans ride up and I get cold ankles.

I like to ride in tights/breeches, short boots and chaps, and I will ride English and Western in that gear.
Corporal, AlexS and StormCloud like this.
    10-18-2013, 01:29 PM
I have ridden in various types of pants, but since jeans, sweats, and breeches seem to be the biggest part of this discussion, I can tell you what happened to me in each type. When I started lessons, I only had jeans to ride in. At first I didn't feel any different, other than saddle sore, on my legs. After a short while I started having issues with my calves; I was doing something in the saddle to create enough friction to rub my skin off on either side. Speculations lead to the conclusion that the inseam (the seam that runs down the inside of your leg while wearing jeans) was creating a point of pressure, while my calves were just fat enough to create the pressure between saddle and my legs. I also ended up getting a weird skin irritation on my inner thighs from wearing jeans - but I think that was just my personal issue.

After the rub-burns on my calves and irritation on my thighs, we tried putting me in sweats. For me, just wearing sweats was extremely uncomfortable. They were thin and made of a weird scratchy material on the inside. That material ended up giving me a sort of rash and I didn't like how thin they were when in contact with the saddle; there wasn't much padding and the saddle felt extremely hard without the padding of my jeans, or later, my breeches.

When I started getting a little more serious about riding and uniforms were made a thing at my barn, we packed out to a tack shop to find a pair I liked. First thing you should know is I -hate- tight fitting clothes. Poor self-image issues, no confidence, and a bigish belly normally keep me far away from anything tight. Plus I have no nails, and if I have an itch I have to be able to scratch it without fighting the material or I go nuts. Regardless I gave it a go. I remember my first impression being that they were tight like skinny jeans but soft like leggings; the first pair I tried on was too small, lol, and I was already frustrated to the point of wanting to be done, but we kept trying. I spent a good twenty minutes shifting through the tack store's racks, looking at, dismissing, and picking out pairs I'd try. After about an hour of clothes shopping I decided on a pair. They ended up solving -my- issues with rub-burns caused by friction, they were super elastic and stretchy, which made them comfy, and they were made with soft material that felt good. Plus they were cushy and kept the saddle from feeling so hard. They didn't ride too high on my belly, accentuating it, they didn't have panty-lines, none of that. And they weren't as tight as skinny jeans down in the legs. :)

I came to the conclusion that shopping for a good pair of breeches is like shopping for a good pair of shoes or jeans. You have to be nitpicky and really take the time to evaluate and compare each pair to each other. Know what you're looking for (I needed a pair one size too big that still looked okay being held with a belt, so that I could have layers under them in the winter,) know how they look on you, and get a feel for what you like more. The more time you take to pick them out the more you can start to like them.
Celeste likes this.
    10-18-2013, 02:15 PM
OP, you ever worn yoga pants? Know how comfy they are? Then why not want to ride in them?! I have a pair of riding tights that I will also wear with boots to class because they are so darn comfy! It just makes doing the job easier IMO. But everyone has what they are used to/ most comfortable in for riding.
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    10-18-2013, 02:23 PM
When I first started riding as a kid, my trainer told my parents to get me some stretch pants to ride in because jeans would give me blisters. We didn't listen and I rode in jeans until I got huge blisters on the inside of my knees. After that, we went out and got some stretch pants, which I rode in until the gave out, then got some real breeches. I never had issues with blisters again.

I haven't owned a pair of breeches in a long time now, and often ride in skinny jeans (sometimes yoga pants) with my half chaps over them. I find if I don't wear half chaps while ridding English, I sometimes get pinched by the stirrup leathers on my lower legs. My boyfriend, who I have been teaching to ride ran into the same problem. Between the jeans and the stirrup leathers, he had rubbed his lower legs badly the first two lessons I gave him. But, he is horrified by the thought of wearing breeches himself and suffers in silence :P I will have to get him some half chaps.
    10-18-2013, 02:29 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by bsms    
Hmmm...90% of my riding has been in an Australian saddle which is a variant of an English saddle, always in blue jeans ($15.88 at Wal-Mart). Nope, no rubs, burns or scuffed saddles, including my Bates English saddles. And no, I don't need to worry about "underwear lines" in my Wranglers.

We also have forum members who ride endurance in baseball pants (kind of like baggy sweatpants). And the Cavalry rode in uniform pants, and I doubt they had to many men on sick call due to 'friction burns'. My wife uses sweatpants for riding without complaint.

Looks. Or fashion. But NOT because looser pants result in burns, chaffing, etc.
And that's why YOU can choose to ride in whatever you want. Trust me, I have never worn a pair of breeches with the intent to look fashionable.

When I was a kid my parents bought me one or two pairs of breeches when I started taking lessons. I didn't see any difference between them and jeans, so I started riding in jeans. I would ride in jeans with no half chaps, and never have any problems with rubbing, etc. I still ride in jeans regularly, but almost always with half chaps now. The last time that I did a serious (more than walk and a little trot) ride in jeans without half chaps I got quite a bit of rubbing on one of my legs from the stirrup leathers. Never had the problem before, so I guess my style of riding has changed since I was 12. My friend used to ride in shorts/half chaps all the time, and now she can't without getting rubbed. What you may scoff at as being purely "looks or fashion" may be extremely practical for some people.

One of the big things for me as far as jeans go is that I find them to be much harder to shove into a half chap that you're trying to zip. Very doable, but irritating. Getting a pair of jeans into my tall boots is just not happening. I hate "skinny jeans" on principle and refuse to wear them (a whole nother rant entirely), so I'm not going to buy a pair just for riding. I find that my breeches are much more flexible and stretchy than breeches, so getting on and off the horse is more pleasant. Again, very doable in jeans. Just less fun. Also, during a lesson it's much easier for a trainer to see your body and your positioning if your clothing is tight. It makes it easier for them to give you your money's worth out of a lesson.
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