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OTHER ITA SITES:
A Guide To Full Seat Equestrian Breeches
What are the benefits to a full seat riding breech? To provide fuller protection from rubbing than a knee patch breech, full seat breeches feature an insert that runs from below the waist at the back of the breech, across the seat and down the inside of both legs. Many riders find the added grip factor and contrasting material more comfortable and long-lasting than other forms of riding breeches. There are five main considerations that must go into buying the right full seat breech to meet your needs: Breech fabrics, full seat materials, style, fashion trends and brands.
Riding Breech Fabrics
There is a range of breech fabrics being used for full seat breeches. These choices cover a spectrum of fabrics as well as prices. The fabric used in the manufacturing of the riding breech will be a large factor in determining the final price tag. You will want to consider the comfort, fit and weight of each of the fabrics so that you find the most useful breech for your price range.
The older style nylon breeches are still in favor with some riders- particularly as they hold their color and don't fade, absorb moisture, provide a maximum stretch factor and are easy to wash and wear. However, the 100% nylon breech has fallen out favor in most cases since the advent of the Cotton/Lycra breech. You will find nylon combined with cotton and other fabrics in an effort to combine the benefits of nylon but improve on the "nylon" style that has diminished in popularity. Riding breeches that use the cotton / lycra / spandex combination capitalize on the exceptional elasticity (stretchability) of spandex / lycra. This fabric comes in a variety of weights, the lightest being pull-on tights, to the more substantial thicker looking breech that is less see-through and provides more support for the rider. The popular cotton / lycra riding breeches have become a classic and a staple for most riders. These full seat breeches are comfortable, with minimal shrinkage but with some fading and dulling of color and occasionally a pilling of the fabric. Because these breeches are made primarily of cotton, moisture is absorbed and retained by the fabric. Once it gets damp the cotton / lycra can feel heavy and lose its shape, especially at the knees as it has poor "memory" when damp. The nature of the fabric to absorb and hold onto moisture means that it is not a good insulator against cold. However, the price combined with the style and feel of this fabric has won legions of fans. The combination fabric of cotton / lycra / spandex combines the best of both words with stretchability, wash and wear and comfort. This 2-way or 4-way stretch fabric will keep its shape better under damp conditions and through many wears, however the higher price must be considered.
The advent of microfiber has once again revolutionized the industry, providing new technologies geared towards increasing the comfort of the rider. There are a number of microfiber breeches available, made out of polyester and sometimes mixed with other materials, they are generally a 4-way stretch fabric. These microfibers wick away moisture from the skin, leaving the rider cooler, drier and more comfortable during and after riding. Some full seat breeches now come with an extra layer bonded to the inside of the breech that increased the ability of the material to wick moisture away from the skin. A rider can finish a lengthy ride and be dry and comfortable and in cooler conditions this means that the rider will also be warmer. For those who face winter or inclement conditions the spandex blend fleece might be the best option available. These breeches feature many of the same properties of the microfiber fleece with the added warmth of fleece. Many of these breeches are coated with wind and rain resistant material that allows moisture to wick away from the rider's body but prevents moisture and wind from penetrating through to the rider.
Full Seat Breech Materials
The material used for the full seat of the breech can be of a number of different materials, each giving a different level of protection. Additionally, this material will be the largest factor in determining the price of your riding breech. Self-Fabric seats use the same fabric as the breech itself. This method usually provide extra protection but little in the way of extra grip. This breech is usually the least expensive option. With the look and feel of sueded leather, Clarino or other synthetic suedes, increase the level of protection for the rider. There are many different branded synthetic suedes and all give a good degree of extra protection against rubbing as well as increase the grip of the breech in the saddle. It is important to keep in mind that most synthetic suede full seats have no ability to stretch in any direction. That means that you have a non-stretch fabric built onto a garment that usually has two or even four-way stretch which can lead to a slight difference in fit between a knee patch and a full seat version of the same brand of breech. As for pricing, the Clarino-type full seat is washable and can be dried at low heat in your dryer which will keep these full seat breeches on the more affordable end of the spectrum. Leather full seats have the advantage of providing the best grip and can, with proper care, last for many years. A full seat leather breech will be one of the most expensive, given the quality of materials used, but will age well. Many of these breeches combine the full leather seat and the more expensive breech fabrics favored in Europe. Most leather full seat breeches are washable as long as you follow the manufacturer's care instructions. There are new technologies in fabric emerging all the time. These new fabrics, combined with the leather full seat combine functionality and design.
Riding Breeches Style
Riders use full seat breeches for schooling, show or pleasure which means that you can find the style that suits you best. The high-waist riding breech is the most formal style offered. This breech is most often worn in the U.S. in competition situations and most often under a Shadbelly. These high waist styles do come in schooling colors and are popular in Europe for non-competitive riding as well. The regular waist full seat breech is a classic staple of the show ring. This breech, with a front zipper is commonly used for schooling breeches, pleasure riding and where a bit more protection and grip is needed. The recent trend toward a lower rise in breeches has gained popularity across the age groups. These breeches have a lower rise, varying from extremely low to just below the navel to create a modern fit and look. Many of these breeches have a lower front with a higher back to avoid any hint of underwear showing and also to help keep rider's shirts tucked in. In many cases these low rise breeches have become the best selling style for most manufacturers. For schooling and pleasure riding there are also full seat pull-on breeches available. These are an excellent choice for comfort and ease for most riders.
Riding Apparel Fashion Trends
The world of riding clothing continues to become bolder, brighter and much more individual as more and more manufacturers bring out new design lines for riders. The formal style and colors of the traditional full seat breech have been a staple of the dressage and event rider, but the door has opened to a full range of colors, fun patterns and prints. Many of the full seat manufacturers are also expanding their lines to include coordinating socks, tops, belts and even horse gear to suit any occasion and mood. These new fashions have been particularly appealing for the lady riders!
Do you already have a favorite brand for breeches? Most manufacturers will have a line of full seat breeches available, so you might not have to change brands to get the look and fit that you need. There is a wide variety of full seat breeches to choose from for each rider. Some of the brands that might be considered are; Eurofit, Ariat, Ovation, TuffRider, Irideon, Arista, Tropical Rider, Kerrits, Fun in the Saddle, Goode Rider, Isabell Werth, and Royal Highness.
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