The difference between riding breeches and riding tights

When it comes to riding apparel, there is no clear winner in the debate between riding breeches and tights. Both options provide great coverage, each one is comfortable and comes with its own unique advantages. Here are a few points to consider before choosing the perfect pair of riding pants.

Tights, breeches and regular pants

You may wonder why to buy a pair of riding trousers when you can ride in jeans. Breeches and tights are made from stretchy fabric and offer a snug fit, which cannot be said about regular pants or jeans. Riding trousers have no seams on the inner side. Such a solution significantly improves the comfort of use. Last but not least, jeans provide little to no grip, while breeches feature a full grip or knee patches on the inner knee that improve the rider’s adhesion to the saddle.

Equestrian breeches

Breeches are a special type of trousers designed to be worn while horseback riding, with long riding boots or short riding boots and chaps. We distinguish knee patch breeches and full seat breeches. Full seat breeches offer most stability in the saddle, while knee patch breeches provide more grip around the knees. Moreover, breeches often offer additional features, such as four way stretch material, which ensures even greater freedom of movement.

Knee patch breeches

Knee grip covers the rider’s knee and the area around it. It is often chosen by those who prefer jumping.

Full seat breeches

Full seat covers the whole leg length and the rider’s buttocks. It provides even more grip to the saddle, thus this type of seat is chosen by many dressage riders.

Riding tights

Riding tights are especially popular among beginner riders, since they are easy to put on (mostly pull-on) and truly comfortable. In case of tights, there are knee and full seat options as well. They are available in a wide array of colors.

Riding breeches vs riding tights

Riding tights are basically riding leggings. They are legging-like trousers, very similar to breeches. They are often made from thin, stretchy material that gives the rider excellent flexibility and comfort. Like breeches, tights are designed to fit snugly, but allow a great deal of freedom of movement. Riding tights often lack zippers and buttons, but can be made with reflective panelling and flat seams.

Another difference between breeches and riding tights is the color. While breeches come in a variety of colors, not all of them are appropriate for all disciplines. For example, a dressage rider will stick with light colors and full seats.

Depending on the style and material, breeches offer greater freedom of movement than riding tights. Riding tights may offer a little more coverage, but don’t come anywhere near as stylish. These two types of pants should complement each other. However, both options have their benefits. Riding tights are more convenient when you are working in the stable, but they might not be appropriate for a show. If you are have a long training in mind, breeches are probably the best option for you. If you are unsure of which style is best for you, contact an equestrian store and ask for assistance.


When choosing a pair of breeches or tights, consider a few models in order to ensure a perfect fit. Take your riding discipline and seat options into consideration. While a dressage rider will opt for a full seat or knee patch breeches, beginner riders may as well go for tights (with full seat or knee patch) and pair them with paddock boots. If you’re not a fan of tight-fitted riding trousers, take a look at the models with straight or even flared leg, called jodhpurs.

Agnieszka Pietras