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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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" :smile: and can look different if no-one else wears them.
 

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Ask your boss as with what others have said. If it's not dresscode standard, this just sounds like a typical case of workplace bullying and typical conformity by some unwritten rule everyone feels pressured to follow. The usual with us humans. Especially if the folks you interact with have been there for a while. If it really bothers them or you- why not wear jean-breeches. There are places that have boot-cut ones as well.

I personally hate wearing jeans when riding, but if I suddenly started riding where jeans were common, I'd go for breech-jeans/jean looking breeches instead. If jeans aren't a dress code depending on what you're boss says, the only thing standing in your way is your comfortability around such people while wearing breeches. It's a sad standard- you can be the best of the best at something but the shallow thinking types want to look at your clothes. Such is life.
 

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Color also draws attention. That can compound things when clothing fit (form fitting) is being discussed. Looser/non form fitting lighter color would not attract as much attention or the same manner of attention as the same in a formed fit. Darker or same material look in a more form fitting garment not drawing the attention of the lighter counter part in the saddle.
 

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I couldn't ride in jeans, not even 'jeggings', which are what I wear as jeans. :lol: Just not as comfortable as leggings or breeches IMO.

I would continue to just wear your breeches. If anyone says anything again, just say 'this is what I'm comfortable in, thank you though'. or something like that.

Confirm with your boss too, but if they don't have an issue with it...then keep wearing them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for the replies. I’m glad there are others who too don’t see it as an issue.

The particular trainer I ride for doesn’t have a problem with it and when I brought up the things other people were saying she said “if their comfortable and they work for you that’s what should matter”. I feel that in general it has been a hard industry to get my foot in the door with. I have enough consistent work with the trainer I ride for, and am now her main “gallop girl”, so I have proven that I have a place there and have the ability to stay around. I don’t necessarily need work from other trainers, but I walk around daily to other barns and ask if I can ride for them because that is what I’m told you do when you first get started to get a solid place and career, as it is technically freelance work at the end of the day. A few trainers occasionally allow me to get on their horses but most tell me on a daily basis that they don’t need help. I’m sure this has more to do with it just being difficult to earn your place versus my attire, but some of the comments or “advice” people give me can be as casual as “yeah you just need to wear different pants if you want to ride for other trainers”. It’s just STRANGE to me.

It’s 2019. The notion that women should be objectified based on what they wear, no matter what they wear, is an outdated belief and I consider myself an advocate of that. To continue to adhere to those outdated standards is to allow that belief to still have power. Especially in the wake of the “me too” movement, it’s time women stand in their power to not be treated like sexual objects. While my main reason I have continued to wear them rather than just switching to jeans is because I prefer them and don’t like riding in jeans, there is a stubbornness in me that wants to set an example as to not conform to a misogynistic society. Especially when I don’t feel that they are inappropriate in any way. After all, riding racehorses is more similar to English riding than any other discipline and breeches are pretty much standard as being functional and comfortable in that discipline. It should be up to the discretion of the rider as far as what works for them! Jeans, breeches or shorts for that matter.

It does almost feel like bullying in a way. While there are many friendly people, there are also a lot of catty women who treat me as if I continue to wear them because I want to receive that kind of attention from the men. I don’t. I’m just trying to come to work and get the job done.

There is no set standard for uniform and if I’m going to be the talk of the town for not conforming to the norm, so be it! I’d rather work hard and earn my place through ability, even if it’s harder that way, than ride for a trainer that wants to sexualize something that shouldn’t be sexualized in the first place.
 

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there are also a lot of catty women
Trust me...they are everywhere!

If your boss is okay with breeches, I'd stick with them...although ones that look like denim might be a good compromise.

Bet the "Cat Crew" would be really offended if you showed up in denim bib overalls. Sorry, couldn't help myself.
 

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Since I grew up around the tracks, I know what you're getting. Remember, it may be 2019 out in the rest of the world but it's not far from the early 1900s in most track barns. You're a female riding in a male world, that BARELY tolerates women on the backstretch. If you want to wear your breeches, go ahead. But word to the wise, you will continue to get comments and inappropriate suggestions regardless of what you wear, and breeches will just leave you open to more of them. You're working in a rough, man's world, I'd really think about how important those breeches really were to me if I were you. The track is known as a very rough world for a reason and you don't want to look weak or off in anyone's eyes as a matter of self preservation.
 

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I'm sorry, but it's not a woman's problem if men are "distracted" by a particular type of clothing. That's what's gotten us into the societal mess we're in now. If the boss doesn't have a standard, required dress code (which should have been communicated at hiring), to each their own. Your value to the team is the way you do your job, not what you're wearing while doing it.
 

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Thank you for the replies. I’m glad there are others who too don’t see it as an issue.

The particular trainer I ride for doesn’t have a problem with it and when I brought up the things other people were saying she said “if their comfortable and they work for you that’s what should matter”.

If someone brings it up again, you could say something along the lines of: "So-and-so boss says my breeches are fine." And leave it at that.



I’m sure this has more to do with it just being difficult to earn your place versus my attire, but some of the comments or “advice” people give me can be as casual as “yeah you just need to wear different pants if you want to ride for other trainers”. It’s just STRANGE to me.

It does almost feel like bullying in a way. While there are many friendly people, there are also a lot of catty women who treat me as if I continue to wear them because I want to receive that kind of attention from the men. I don’t. I’m just trying to come to work and get the job done.

I would find it strange as well.


If you feel like being catty in return :Angel: you could ask the "advice giver" how what material covers your bottom influences how effectively you ride your horse.
 
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I'm sorry, but it's not a woman's problem if men are "distracted" by a particular type of clothing. That's what's gotten us into the societal mess we're in now. If the boss doesn't have a standard, required dress code (which should have been communicated at hiring), to each their own. Your value to the team is the way you do your job, not what you're wearing while doing it.
Thank you 👏🏼 I don’t care if it’s still a man’s world at the track it’s about time they make a shift like every other male dominated industry. If the men are so “distracted” that it affects their ability to work effectively that should be on THEM
 
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