The difference between Knee Patch and Full Seat breeches
Knee Patch vs. Full Seat Breeches:
Whether you’re just getting into horseback riding or you are an experienced rider trying a different discipline, you might walk into the tack shop and wonder, “What is the difference between knee patch breeches and full seat breeches, and how do I know which one is right for me?” We’re here to help answer those questions and more, taking an in-depth look at riding pants (this is the kind of stuff they don’t teach you at horse camp!).
Why wear riding pants?
First, let’s talk about why we wear riding breeches in the first place. Riding breeches and riding tights—we’ll get into that difference later—are designed specifically for in-saddle performance and are primarily worn in English riding disciplines. They provide security, safety, and comfort.
Horseback riding breeches and tights are made with special patches that provide extra grip and protection. Without them, you may be slipping and sliding out of the tack. Yoga pants, leggings, or jeans may seem like easy alternatives, but they don’t actually provide any “stick” to keep your seat and legs in contact with the horse. Modern riding breeches and riding tights are also designed to stretch and move with your body to prevent rubbing or chafing. Additionally, breeches are the traditionally accepted show ring attire for English riders, so it’s good to get used to wearing them often.
Kerrits offers a wide variety of high-performance riding breeches and tights for every rider in every season. We have comfy, fleece-lined riding pants for winter as well as lightweight summer breeches and tights with cooling technology. Our team believes in size inclusivity, and we have riding apparel in sizes from XS-2X.
Check out our Kerrits size guide to help you find your size.
What is the difference between riding breeches and riding tights?
Even experienced riders often have this question. A riding tight is very stretchy with an elastic waistband. It is made to be pulled on, similar to a legging or athletic tight. It may or may not have belt loops or pockets. A riding breech has a traditional fly closure with zipper and a button or snap. The fabric of riding breeches, while it should have some stretch, may feel more structured and offer more coverage than a riding tight. Breeches commonly have belt loops and pockets.
What is a knee patch riding pant?
A knee patch riding breech or riding tight has a patch on the inside of the knee, traditionally made of suede or leather, and now commonly made of synthetic materials such as faux suede or silicone. Suede or faux suede patches offer a traditional look, and they may be the same color or a contrasting color to the rest of the breech fabric. Silicone patches have become popular in the past decade or so because they offer great grip while being more flexible and breathable than traditional patch materials.
Different materials may offer varying levels of grip strength, from mild to extreme. Choosing which grip strength is right for you can be based on personal preference and the horse you are riding. You can compare the grip materials used in Kerrits riding pants using this handy chart.
Knee patch riding breeches and tights are commonly seen in hunters, jumpers, and eventing. Having the patch on the knee allows for riders to move freely in their seat and take two-point over fences while having the extra security of the grip just at the knee.
What is a full seat riding pant?
A full seat riding breech or riding tight has a patch that covers the seat and inside of the legs down to the calf. This coverage gives you more area to contact the saddle and therefore more security.
Full seat breeches are most commonly seen in the dressage ring because dressage requires a strong connection from seat to saddle. Full seat breeches are sometimes seen in the cross-country phase of eventing where riders need the extra grip while galloping and jumping a variety of obstacles like ditches, banks, and water. Riders with green or spooky horses may also choose a full seat for added security.
Ride with Confidence
Now you know the difference between knee patch and full seat riding pants! Simply put, knee patch breeches have a grippy patch just at the knees and are most appropriate for riders who jump their horse. Full seat breeches have grip covering the seat and inner leg and are often seen on dressage riders. If you’re still in doubt, ask your trainer or horseback riding instructor for help when choosing your horseback riding apparel for schooling and showing in your specific discipline.