Inappropriate riding attire? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Inappropriate riding attire?

Hello everyone!
This may be an odd situation but I am itching to get opinions on a situation I am in.
At the beginning of this year I was got the opportunity to start riding as an exercise rider at the racetrack near me. I come from a hunter/jumper background, so I prefer to ride in breeches.

Back when I started I would receive multiple comments from both men and women that I should ride in jeans. Polite, but often very backhanded comments. I would usually just respond politely and laugh it off, not really unstanding what the issuse was. While I did notice I am the only one who wears breeches, I didn’t really see why it was an issue to ride in the clothing that I’m comfortable riding in. At the end of the day everyone has their preference on riding attire and come from different riding backgrounds.

These comments have become less frequent but every now and then someone will tell me that if I want to start being able to ride for more trainers I should start wearing jeans. I don’t understand why my ATTIRE vs. my riding ability would have anything to do with that.

Today, a fellow exercise rider who has become a friend of mine made a similar comment and told me that everyone at the track talks about me and my breeches and how they are inappropriate and distracting. He said that since this is a different style of riding I should wear what everyone else wears.

I am honestly just looking for opinions on whether I should just adapt and wear jeans or if other people think it’s ridiculous that I’m being treated this way - as far as unessarily sexulizing common riding attire. I just PREFER to ride in breeches and it’s frusterating and offensive that I continue to receive comments. It is not just a few people, it seems everyone feels the need to tell me I should wear jeans.

I understand this is a unique question but I appreciate your thoughts and opinions!
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post #2 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 12:49 AM
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I would ask your boss what the dress code is. If the boss is fine with what you wear then it isn't anyone else's business.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #3 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 01:15 AM
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How very interesting. I prefer to ride in breeches, hands down!
The fact that they are considering it in appropriate in a sexually tinged nature is even weirder! Are most of them men? the exersize riders?

It's not as if you are wearing a miniskirt! If they are going to have gutter imaginations, they will likely do it whether you wear jeans or breeches.
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post #4 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 06:14 AM
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i ride in shorts most of the time now, it doesnt affect my ability to ride so no one cares

you can get denim breeches, but honestly you do you
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post #5 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 06:25 AM
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Being breeches are usually more form fitting than jeans...yes, on a predominantly "male" oriented backstretch I can imagine the comments made and looks received.
Jeans are usually looser fit, hence not as much comment or looks although some looks and comment will follow you ...
So, if it is "jeans" style pants they want, then give them jeans style pants.
Breeches come in jeans material, stretchy but look like jeans....
It shouldn't be this way but it is...

I would go to the boss and ask if there is a problem with you riding/working in breeches and go from what the answer is...
You get all kinds working the backstretch.......
I did not exactly "fit-in" with many hence my enjoying working the training farm and R&R barns more. Very different environment than track backstretch that I was exposed to....and yes, I worked in jeans and loose-fit collared polos everyday both at the track and elsewhere.
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post #6 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 06:26 AM
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It's usual in every single everywhere to have an unwritten dress code. It's the way humans identify those of their own tribelet. I've found it everywhere I've ever been and everything I've ever done, from a Zen monastery to a quilting bee. It has nothing much to do with practicality.

Wearing breeches in a situation where jeans are the dress code is, whether you want it to be or not, a visual signal that you are either a neophyte who knows no better, an outsider with an unknown agenda, or a rebel (then mix the gender issues in ...). If you continue to wear them and eventually earn respect and acceptance in other ways, you'll just be known as "the gal who is a little different but she's okay despite that." You'll still be identified by your odd clothes though.

People who think that they can wear anything they like because it is what's inside that counts are ignoring thousands of years of human nature. For good or evil, it just doesn't work that way.

Short horse lover
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post #7 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 08:01 AM
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I'm surprised it even comes up.

When I rode on the tracks several gals and a couple guys rode in breeches. I got a hand me down pair from a friend and loved them. So comfortable and durable.

Now I ride on jeggings, mostly. But I have a lined, winter pair of breeches that I use in late fall and early spring when moving cattle. With shotgun chaps over them, and western boots that have 18" tops.

Talk about mixed up!

Do what you want. At least those making rude remarks are making it easy for you to know you don't want to waste your time with them
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post #8 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 08:13 AM
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As Avna said every set has a dress code, actually they also have codes of how to interact and act as well. You can ask your boss but IMO better to fit in than stand out in this situation. There are jeans that are comfortable for this type work and there are also breeches made from a stretchy denim like fabric. I'd find something that conforms more and do your job. My uncle races and he'd tell you its a distraction. You also wouldn't be riding his horses. He wouldn't tolerate disrespect towards you from his employees but you wouldn't be riding his horses. That may not mean much but when there are more passing over you if this is the way or one way you put money in your bank it could mean you'll find your paycheck doesn't really increase. There are other tracks in other areas that it may not make a difference or that a breech style is the goto. Each track has its own culture. It's the same around here on the polo fields. I never knew they had specific pants to wear. That is the uniform. I've seen a couple wearing jeans but the standard is the light (tanish) polo "jean". It may be totally different over in Florida but not here or maybe this is just this outfit but they're huge. Even with the number of English riders and English riders that do their exercising for money to pay for lessons. They're cut for riding, stretchy, and not form fitting. Discovered them when my son refused to wear breeches. For years that is what he rode in for lessons. He loves them. Now one of the nephews has taken them over and won't give them back. He was riding in them around the house. One of the girls that used to tease him now rides for one of the outfits here and she won't wear anything else unless she is in the show ring.

You're there to do a job. Do the best job you can and wear what's standard. If there weren't comfortable alternatives that were acceptable and that was the only thing you personally could ride in or you couldn't perform your job then another story. Those polo pants fold over nicely and don't cut in to your leg in tall boots or half chaps.

Last edited by QtrBel; 07-22-2019 at 08:18 AM.
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post #9 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 08:33 AM
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In the UK most of the lads wear jodhpurs and short boots.

Ask your boss and if he doesn't mind, tell them to take a run and jump!

When I was in a race yard I usually wore my coloured jods all day. Some of the lads were quite 'forthcoming' about this but as I pointed out to them modern jods were way easier to wash and dry than jeans - which I have never found comfortable for riding.
egrogan and boots like this.
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post #10 of 45 Old 07-22-2019, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Jeans are usually looser fit, hence not as much comment or looks although some looks and comment will follow you ...
So, if it is "jeans" style pants they want, then give them jeans style pants.
Breeches come in jeans material, stretchy but look like jeans....
It shouldn't be this way but it is...

The jeans that my friends and I ride in over here are the really really stretchy kind that are as form fitting as jodhpurs and would go inside riding boots, I can't really see why an employer would prefer jeans, unless it as part of a corporate look.

I guess some breeches have a different colour seat area and that does draw attention to the "seat" and can look different if no-one else wears them.
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