The Struggle: Shopping for Breeches

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Hunt Seat Rider
Breeches are an essential part of an English rider’s uniform. So why is it so hard to find a good pair?

Whether you like shopping or not, you might know what I mean when I say I need to be in the mood to shop. If I’m shopping for gifts or even for accessories, I can usually muster the focus.

Shopping for breeches? Different story.

The task of shopping for breeches is often misunderstood by those outside the horse world. The non-horse person considers breeches to be tight pants. We as equestrians know they’re much more than this.

Breeches help make up our uniform, and they’re sometimes frustratingly hard to find. Sure, plenty of retailers have online ordering, but I often try on eight pairs of breeches before finding a pair I’ll consider. Knowing that I’ll have to return potentially all eight pairs doesn’t sound ideal.

Shopping for Breeches
The struggle is real.

Here are 11 of my personal shopping-for-breeches grievances:

  1. There’s one tack shop in town and they never have my size in the color I want.
  2. The tack shop can’t order just one pair of the breeches from the vendor, and who knows how long it’ll be before my size comes into stock? At least they kindly offer to call me if the desired pair ever comes in.
  3. I could shop at the horse show but it’s just way too hot/cold to want to try on pants.
  4. I can order online but it’s likely they won’t fit. I’ll have to make a very large purchase on my credit card only to return all the items. And it’s not always free shipping. Amazon Prime can’t send me everything.
  5. The waist feels weird.
  6. The knee patch goes over my knee. I know this will be annoying when I ride.
  7. The full seat suede actually restricts my movement.
  8. I have a feeling the ankle stitching and Velcro will be really uncomfortable under my tall boots.
  9. The price. To anyone who thinks riding breeches are just tight pants – I must urge you to understand that breeches are not the same as the less-than $20 tights from Forever 21 or Target.
  10. Breeches range from affordable two-digit prices to over $300, even $400. While I have managed to never purchase a pair near that $300 number, it’s worth noting that if you grab the wrong pair of breeches from the rack, try them on, fall in love with the pair and then look at the unexpectedly large price tag, you may feel a sense of defeat.
  11. Too many options. While options are great, I sometimes get overwhelmed while shopping. The fact that I can decide between low, middle and high rise breeches paired with size zip or front zip with knee patch or full seat in regular or tall in my size …. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

It took me seven years to believe I could tackle all the obstacles that often present themselves in the world of breeches shopping, and I’m proud to say that I’ve purchased my first new pair of breeches since 2008. Ride on!

How do you feel when shopping for breeches? My favorite new discovery is the hashtag #rootd (riding outfit of the day). I can participate – I have new breeches!

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