The debate about which is better comes down to what feels more comfortable to an individual rider. There are some differences for each type of riding pant, and there are some similarities as well. With a quick perusal of the attributes of breeches, and the features of riding tights, it is easy to choose what we want for the most comfortable ride!
Breeches are more traditional than the relatively new schooling tight. They are tidy, with belt loops, a zipper fly, and velcro closes at the ankle or knee, depending on the length and type of breech you choose. Breeches are typically made of cotton, or cotton blend material. Although, there are newer fabrics that give the stretch and compression that many riders like. A great lightweight and affordable cotton breech is the TuffRider Ladies Starter LowRise Pull On Breeches.
Breeches are required for the show ring, but not for everyday riding. They come in full seat and knee patch varieties. Full seat are not available in schooling types.
For riders that like the full seat feel, breeches are the only choice that make sense. Full seat show breeches are typically white, such as the TuffRider Ladies Piaffe Full Seat Breech. For hunters, jumpers, and eventing, it is common to see the light tan color, as in the Tailored Sportsman Ladies Trophy Hunter Low Rise Front Zip Breeches.
Breeches can sag down and be loose in sections, while they are tight in others. They are contoured for either female curves, or a mans’ physique. An individual’s shape will affect how they look on the body. For this reason, breeches can be more flattering to the body than tights. Breech fabrics are more likely to hide dimpling and excess weight better than tights. There are variations in styles and types of breeches. There are specialized breeches, such as the Kerrits Thermal Pocket Breech, that are made with an advanced fabric intended to keep the rider warm and dry in adverse weather conditions. These are perfect for winter riding! Most breeches have some give and stretch in the fabric, but some are designed to give a certain look, like the look of jeans in the Goode Rider Men's Elite Jean Knee Patch or the Goode Rider Equestrian Jean Full Seat for ladies. These are high quality breeches that have the casual look and style of classic denim.
Schooling tights pull on much like yoga pants (with knee patches). They are made of stretchy fabrics that conform to the body much more exactly than breeches. For slender or growing riders, this is comfortable and desirable. Quick to pull on, and comfortable to wear, they come in a variety of types and styles as well.
A simple, basic tight, like the TuffRider Kids Cotton Schooler Jod, is perfect for beginner rider lessons and rapidly growing riders. They fit a wide variety of shapes, and are comfortable and affordable. There are also more elaborate designs, with seams to support the muscles used in riding, that allow freedom in some areas, while offering support and compression in others. Riding tights such as the Irideon Issential Pipeline Tights are tailored for this ideal mix of support and freedom. Some breeches have a clip above the fly zipper to fasten the waist. This clip can dig into the riders’ abdomen, causing irritation and discomfort. Schooling tights have an elasticized waistband, often with greater width for extra comfort and security, so this discomfort never happens! They are much more economically priced than most breeches too, making them appealing for everyday use. The fabrics that are used can be tailored to the season. Fleece or fleece lined tights can be worn in the colder weather to keep the rider warmer, and technological fabrics, such as the fabric used in the Kerrits Flow Rise Performance Riding Tight are popular as well.
Which One To Choose?
Which you choose will depend on personal preference, for the most part. Some instructors are very traditional, and will discourage their students from riding tights. Some riders enjoy the stretch and light feel of a riding tight over the breech equivalent. If you are a rider that likes the full seat, there is an obvious answer - breeches. For showing and competition, breeches are also necessary, either with knee patches or with a full seat. If you like the sporty look and flexibility that cycling pants and yoga pants offer, you might prefer riding tights for your daily riding.