Jodhpurs Vs Breeches: What Are the Differences?

My daughter and I always have a disagreement when it comes to choosing between breeches vs. Jodhpurs.

I want her to wear seat breeches but she always opts for the more colorful and trendy Jodhpurs.

In case you’re wondering what the difference between the two is, this guide is for you!

Here’s what we will cover:

  • What are Jodhpurs?
  • Difference between Jodhpurs and breeches
  • Should you wear Jodhpurs or breeches?
  • And more!

Let us begin!

Check: 10 Best Breeches for Riding

What Are Jodhpurs?

an equestrian wearing jodhpur while riding a horse

I believe that Jodhpurs (or Jodhs as they are fondly known among equestrians) are the fashion-staple among us ‘horsey’ people.

Jodhs can be considered as the ‘traditional’ riding breeches. These pale cream color classic Jodhpurs were invented by Sir Pratap Singh – an Indian equestrian, statesman, and legendary soldier and horseman.

Sir Singh preferred the loose comfort provided by Jodhs.

The Style

In its earlier form, Jodhs were full-length pants that were flared or loose around the thighs and tighter below the knees ending in a snug cuff at the ankles.

This style allowed horseback riders to pair them with tall boots or horse riding boots.

The loose fit was especially comfortable in the saddle as it allowed unrestricted movement and did not ride up or leave a gap at the waist while riding. Remember: this was in the time before stretchy fabric was invented!

Sir Pratap Singh first designed these flared riding pants for the Jodhpur Lancers – the Indian official Polo match team.

He even led the team to play against England in 1897. The design caught on in London with English riders and there was no looking back! Today, Jodhpurs are famous the world over especially among

Check: Best Lightweight Summer Riding Breeches

Benefits and Purpose of Jodhpurs

  • Ideal for younger kids taking horseback riding lessons. The pants aid correct leg movement.
  • Allow free movement
  • Have a comfortable and loose fit.

Related: How to Measure for Breeches

What is the Difference Between Breeches and Jodhpurs?

close-up shot of a brown horse with a rider wearing jodhpurs

Today, people often use the words ‘breeches’ and ‘Jodhpurs’ interchangeably.

Indeed, the modern Jodhpur is very similar to riding breeches (or britches). Here are some main differences (and similarities) between the two:

Length

Breeches are shorter than Jodhs – they end above the ankles. Jodhs are longer and end at the ankle but they also have a small piece of fabric or strap to turn up.

Boots to Pair Them With

Modern Jodhs have come a long way from Sir Pratap’s design. They are now used with paddock boots or ankle-length riding boots – which are also called Jodhpur boots.

You can wear taller boots with Jodhs too but the extra material or elastic strip that goes under the ankle could cause some discomfort inside the boots.

This elastic turn up is provided for securing over the riding boots and prevents the pants’ legs from riding up while you are in the saddle.

Breeches are tighter and have no extra material, unlike Jodhs. This makes them perfect for wearing with tall riding boots.

Materials

Modern Jodhs and breeches are both made with stretchy material and durable fabric like spandex, Lycra, and technical fabric.

Both feature seams on the outside of the legs – unlike regular trousers or pants – to prevent chafing and irritation to the riders’ legs.

Both styles of pants also come with some reinforcements – especially in the seat area and in the knees (grippy knee patches).

This reinforcement helps enhance riding comfort by allowing free and unrestricted movement. They also prevent the pants from wearing out after prolonged use.

Colors

Both styles come in a variety of colors. Some formal events require you to wear breeches in certain colors only. Jodhpurs, which are more casual, are also available in fun colors.

Events

Breeches are often compulsory for many horse riding events. They are more formal than Jodhpurs which are deemed casual.

Jodhs are typically worn by kids for riding lessons – due to their colorful and casual appearance. Breeches are typically meant for adult equestrians.

Should You Wear Jodhpurs or Breeches?

white breeches and tall boots

The choice between Jodhpurs and breeches is entirely up to the rider, their purpose for riding, and also the event for which one needs the riding pants.

Certain shows and horse events have strict requirements regarding the rider’s attire and will dictate which style of pants to choose.

You can also base your selection on the kind of riding boots you own or plan to buy.

If you plan on wearing paddock boots, you can pair them with your Jodhs but if you go for tall riding boots then they may be better with a full-seat breech.

Children usually wear jodhpurs for horse riding as the style aids incorrect leg position. Jodhpurs are also quite casual which makes them great for children’s horse riding lessons.

Some horse riding schools might also have strict requirements about the breeches for schooling.

Young riders can start with Jodhpurs and progress to breeches as they gain experience. Adult riders generally go for breeches.

FAQs

Do Jodhpurs go over boots?

If your Jodhpurs come with an elastic strap, you can secure it under the boot. If not, they reach up to the ankles and might just cover your paddock boots.

Are riding tights better than Jodhpurs?

Riding tights can be considered the thinner and sportier version of the Jodhs. Their thin materials help the rider create close contact with the horse’s skin enhancing the level of grip. Modern pair of riding tights are made with high-tech fabrics that are warm, moisture-wicking, and breathable, or come with other features that riders might need, based on the weather conditions, etc

Can you wear paddock boots with knee patch breeches?

It is best to wear paddock boots with Jodhpurs and tall boots with various types of breeches.

Final Thoughts

The choice between breeches vs jodhpurs is a matter of personal preference. It entirely depends on your comfort, the boots you wear for riding, and also your riding discipline.

Both styles are comfortable, allow ease of movement, and protect your legs from environmental hazards.

We hope this guide helps you know the basic jodhpurs vs breeches difference.

References

  • Jennifer Forsberg Meyer. 2009. “Glossary of Horse Terminology – Horse Terms & Definitions.” Expert Advice on Horse Care and Horse Riding. Expert advice on horse care and horse riding. October 29, 2009. https://www.equisearch.com/discoverhorses/glossary-of-horse-terminology-horse-terms-definitions.
  • Statelinetack.com. 2017. “Riding Breeches Explained.” Horse Tack, Horse & Equine Supplies. 2017. https://www.statelinetack.com/content/apparel/riding-breeches-explained/#:~:text=Breeches%20are%20designed%20to%20fit%20snugly%20and%20not,of%20pinching%2C%20chafing%20and%20sliding%20in%20the%20saddle..
close-up shot of lady wearing plain cream jodhpurs: Breeches Vs Jodhpurs

Breeches vs jodhpurs: for you, which do you prefer to use? We’d love to hear your answer in the comment section below!

Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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