JODHPURS & BREECHES: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE
15TH Oct, 2019
The world of equestrian apparel is a mysterious and wondrous place that sometimes presents more questions than answers. What is the point of the cutaway jacket? Why does everyone ride in argyle socks? Will banana jods ever make a comeback? Why do bar stock pins never stay straight? Actually, why wear a stock at all when rat catchers are so fetching? Why are mesh-paneled shirts more expensive when they have less fabric? And what in the world is the difference between Jodhpurs and Breeches?
Aha! This is one puzzle that we can solve. It’s a reasonable question. They look the same, right? Made from the same materials, come in the same colours and styles, have the same purpose. Why don’t manufacturers do away with the confusion and call our riding pants one name, like Jodches? Or perhaps Breepurs? Well, it’s because Jodhpurs and Breeches have one very important difference: the leg length!
You see, Jodhpurs are longer through the leg, designed to fold over the top of jodhpur boots (or further if you suffer from stumpy leg syndrome). They are favoured by Pony Clubs, junior hack/rider class competitors and in ridden showpony classes. Jodhpurs are what EA stipulates and what the judges want to see in these rings. However, it’s not only the kids who can pull off the jodhpur look. Preference wise, many adults never grow out of them - liking the feel of their calves on their horses’ sides and being soaked in hot horse sweat. Jodhpurs certainly do provide a close contact. Furthermore, if you’re an anti-chapper, ie don’t ride in chaps for cost reasons, injury-related reasons, just-don’t-like-chaps reasons, than Jodhpurs would be your pant of choice.
Note: It is, of course, acceptable to wear chaps with Jodhpurs as long as said chaps are not of the really close-fitting variety. Bulges around the ankle are not a good look!
On the other hand (or should that be the other leg?), Breeches are shorter in length reaching to just above the ankle. Or perhaps lower-calf if you’re blessed with long legs, you lucky fox. For this reason, Breeches are designed to be worn with top boots, full grain leather chaps or gaiters. No one wants their very nice, very expensive top boots stretched unnecessarily by excess fabric. Plus, top boots can be so difficult to slide on or zip up that the less to squeeze in, the better. The struggle is real! Breeches are prevalent in arenas where top boots dominate. Think Olympic disciplines and hacking. Also, that woman who wears that uber smart matchy-matchy ensemble (you know, same coloured shirt, belt, equestrian socks, hair ribbons, bandages, saddlecloth & browband), rest assured she’s in Breeches too.
So, the difference between Jodhpurs and Breeches all comes down to the leg length. And the leg length is decided on boot choices. Now to work out if it’s to be jodhpur boots, dress boots, chaps, gaiters, field boots, hunt boots, paddock boots…