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Horze Guide

Breeches: A Personal History


I grew up horze crazy like many young girls. Summer was my favorite as it meant long, unencumbered days at the barn surrounded by horses.

I woke up earlier than I did during the school year and rushed to the barn where my days were filled with horse care and riding. Lots of riding. Every morning I reached for my favorite (and only) pair of schooling breeches. They were navy blue and I got them as a gift when I was 14. These breeches were my summer wardrobe staple and paired perfectly with t-shirts and tank tops. They were my uniform. The only time I didn’t ride in them was on the weekends. Weekends were reserved for showing and showing meant my light gray breeches. They matched my dark gray show jacket perfectly on my dapple gray pony and I swore I rode just a little better in them. That was it. Navy for fun, gray for showing. There weren’t a lot of options back then. I remember rust brown being the other popular show color. Okay, I’m dating myself, but white didn’t gain popularity for years. The more boring basic traditional color was and always has been beige. Breeches back then were stiff, scratchy and uncomfortable. Those favorite navy blue schooling breeches were made of that cheap polyester that only gets more scratchy and stiff with each wash. Eventually the seams unraveled and after begging my mom to repair them, I finally retired them in favor of a less trendy, much uglier dark brown. Next I graduated to a new horse, a chestnut, and exchanged my gray combination for a classic navy blue jacket with beige breeches. I now looked exactly like every other kid in the show ring. But that was okay. I had discovered my talent for the hunter ring and my turnout had to be classic.

 

Riders today are bombarded with color and style choices that would make a 14 year old kid from the late 1980s green with envy.

The first time I saw breeches in a fresh color, I knew I had to try them. If my gray combo made me ride better back in high school, my new trendy breeches in adulthood would make me ride better and possibly look 20 years younger! I immediately asked the rider where she found such a cool style and I was hooked. No more asking mom and dad for money for what they believed were frivolous purchases. I rushed right out and bought the styles I loved.

Today’s breeches are all about the latest colorful trends. The Pantone color of the year for 2018 is a lovely violet and I can only imagine what choices Horze has in store for next season. Colors such as navy, black and shades of purples, blues and reds are always popular. Gone are the days of that ugly rust brown. But styles and colors do come and go so who knows if it will appear once again. The classic colors for today’s show ring remain white and beige and look fresh and clean as riders focus on performing, not trend-setting, in competition.

The best addition to recent breeches has to be the funky details and added bling such as rhinestones, colorful graphics and contrasting piping. These added details personalize breeches so each rider can be as unique as he or she chooses. As a kid, I remember how exciting it was to pair my helmet cover to my polo shirt while I chose my stable colors and my cross-country outfit for Pony Club. Today, riders can mix and match right down to saddle pads, bandages and even browbands. But breeches are still the focus and riding with a comfortable pair in the latest trendy style makes us all feel better.

Full seat breeches used to be made of stiff leather and while they were cool to the eye, they were hot and sweaty to ride in. The leather was not breathable and it only got worse with washing. Stiff, uncomfortable breeches replaced nylon/polyester styles and riders had no other alternatives. We were all in the same boat. Today the advances in fabric mean comfort for the rider while delivering top-performance. A perfect combination. The synthetic seats and knee patches of many of today’s breeches are breathable and only get softer with washing. Now add the latest innovation, silicone, and riders are in heaven. The slight grip of a silicone print adds just enough of a sticky hold to allow riders, especially in dressage, to feel secure and safe in the saddle. Yet the breathable fabric and individual silicone patches keep your seat cool and dry no matter how many hours you spend in the saddle. Of course jumper riders still love knee patch breeches and a touch of silicone there is an added benefit too to stay on over great big fences.

Today’s breeches have waistband heights to please riders of all shapes and sizes. Some prefer a high rise to support the lower back and mid-section and these are offered in colors to please. I know mid-rise breeches are a traditional favorite and flatter every figure. Remember when jeans suddenly became low-rise and the “mom jean” took a back seat? Well, the trend transferred to breeches too. Not only do low-rise breeches appeal to teens and young millennials, but the over 40-mom with gym-worthy abs can now boast these too and not feel like she is trying to keep up with her daughter. The styles look fantastic on anyone and if you have the shape to wear these? Go for it. The colors, crystals and embellishments are your choice. Go all in. Choose whatever style makes you feel great in the saddle. After all, isn’t riding at any age supposed to put a smile on your face?

I have breeches in every color of the rainbow and styles to suit my mood and discipline I choose to ride that day. Horze offers breeches to make every rider feel good. And I think I ride better now too!


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