From Endurance to Dressage
I have a fondness for breeches, which is odd because for most of my early riding life, I rode in shorts or jeans, and occasionally a bathing suit. If you’ll remember, I am originally from sparsely populated northern California where towns are quite small and uninhabited space is ample.
When I first started endurance riding, I didn’t know what breeches actually were. I only knew they were a funny type of riding pants that English riders wore. I quickly discovered that riding tights were an essential piece of gear for endurance riders, as jeans will rub you completely raw while trotting for any distance.
My first pair of riding tights weren’t even actually riding tights; they were leggings bought at Target that looked like tights. I was quite embarrassed to be seen riding in what essentially looked like dark panty hose. I didn’t want to invest money in actual riding tights if my modesty couldn’t overcome my desire for comfort. Riding with other endurance riders, both men and women, who wore riding tights, helped me overcome my fear of looking nearly naked. Being comfortable reigns supreme in the endurance world.
Once I was no longer feeling quite so exposed (long t-shirts helped), I found that riding tights came in every conceivable print and solid, at least in the endurance world. I’ve yet to see giraffe and zebra print tights in the Dover catalog. If you’ve ever seen an actual endurance rider, you’ll know what I mean when I say that we love color. Endurance riders love neon and electric colors like no one else. The vendors who market endurance equipment happily satisfy their customers’ cravings for bright and colorful gear by searching out weird patterns and prints and by doing custom work at no extra cost.
At some point during my endurance career, my tastes began to change, and I found that all of my tack and riding gear were soon all black. Had my life been a novel, the reader would have seen this as a bit of obvious foreshadowing as all of my dressage tack is now black!
While still doing endurance races, I kept my riding wardrobe to a minimum. I would have never in a million years purchased a riding shirt as they are quickly covered in dust and grime within a few short hours. Instead, riding shirts came from clothes that were no longer fit to be worn in good company. Most of my shirts were either cast offs that were stained in the kitchen or had been “won” at a previous endurance race.
My tights were also kept to a minimum. I always maintained at least two pair of racing tights, those deemed most comfortable and in the best repair, and several other pair for training rides that were less comfortable or patched and stitched and on the edge of disintegrating. It’s not that I was cheap, but brand new riding tights had a way of getting torn the first time out of the box. Well-worn pairs just seemed impervious to branches and getting bucked off.
Once I began riding dressage, I quickly discovered that I was coming back home in nearly the same shape as I had left. My clothes weren’t filthy and even better, nothing had holes or tears. I started to realize that I might be able to ride without looking like I was working for food. My love of breeches was born.
Having come from a sport where comfort far outweighs appearances, my love of breeches came with a caveat: no matter how cute the breeches, they must first be comfortable and conducive to maintaining a balanced seat. And since I am pretty budget conscious, (I would rather spend my money on clinics and shows), I often have to give up some of the cute factor for functionality.
A few weeks ago, the Riding Warehouse sent out a $10.00 off coupon on their Facebook page. If you haven’t “Liked” them yet, you should as they have a huge inventory of quality stuff at ridiculously low prices. $10.00 off was quite hard to ignore, especially since the minimum purchase was something like $20. With coupon code in hand, I sat down to browse the online store.
Not needing anything in particular, I clicked on the breeches link to see what might be new or on sale. For the past few years, my preferred riding breeches have been the TuffRider Ribb Lowrise Breech. They run around $40 in the Dover catalog. They have tons of stretch (my number one criteria), are pretty dang durable, and come at a price that allows me to buy them two or three at a time. And, best of all, they are live-in comfortable. I am always disappointed when I buy anything else.
The Riding Warehouse carries TuffRider breeches, but they have a model that I had yet to see. They’re calling it the TuffRider Ribb Wide Waist Knee Patch breech, which sounds just like what I’ve been buying, but these have some nice details that the others are lacking. First of all, they have a two-inch waistband, which I love. They also sport double clasp hooks that have faux snaps on the outside with TuffRider’s winged horseshoe logo. An extra bit of style that I don’t usually get.
The slash pocket, which is really deep, is set horizontally and has a zipper. And just like the other TuffRiders that I buy, these breeches have Velcro at the ankles. The pair I bought has knee patches, but the back of the breech has a cute stitching detail that makes them look a little like full-seat breeches. The fabric, 92% Polyester and 8% Spandex, is almost like a compression fabric; it's thick while still being super stretchy.
The best thing about this updated pair of breeches is the price. They were only $34.95 before my $10.00 discount. I paid $7.00 for the shipping, but had I ordered more, the shipping would have been free. I ordered the charcoal pair, and since I loved them so much, I later ordered the tan pair with a few other necessities to bring my total to the required $50 (free shipping). If you’re looking for a budget friendly, comfortable breech, I would recommend the TuffRiders and the Riding Warehouse.
Timely! I've been dying for some new schooling full seat breeches. Like you, I love Tuffrider. (I actually have a few pairs of those Ribb Tights, an older version. They are indestructible, seriously.) Thanks to your note about the 10% off, I just scored a great deal on a new pair of Tuffrider Kashmere full seats! I can't wait!
10/18/2013 11:58:16 am
I was curious about the Kashmere breeches. What's that fabric like?
10/18/2013 11:59:17 am
Just like every sport, even endurance has a "wardrobe." Glad you found it interesting; I always thought about it as simply practical. :0)
10/18/2013 05:57:42 am
"I started to realize that I might be able to ride without looking like I was working for food. My love of breeches was born."
10/18/2013 11:59:43 am
10/18/2013 12:00:43 pm
You've really quit? Temporary, or long term? I see that you're still riding, but doing what, exactly? Just some dressage?
10/18/2013 11:46:17 pm
RW started as a small endurance supplier over on the coast. They're customer service has always been exemplary and they really want you to be happy. I am so happy that they've expanded into a larger company since I don't need endurance tack anymore. I've been buying lots of dressage related items from them now. I hope they are able to offer you something useful. :0)
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: