In many equestrian cliques, there is one acceptable body type: tall and skinny. For someone whose husband fondly calls her a “sturdy lass,” it’s frustrating to find that most tack stores and equestrian clothing brands cater to this one type of person. In many tack stores, a 32 is the biggest size available, which no longer fits me or many other equestrians. When I was fresh out of college, I worked as a retail associate at a local tack store. I can’t count the number of times I had to turn away riders because we didn’t have show jackets, breeches, or tall boots that fit a larger frame or more muscular calves.
It’s a unique feeling of shame and melancholy when you find out that the tack store that all your friends shop at doesn’t carry your size. It’s a feeling that I didn’t know then, but am familiar with now. No one should ever be made to feel less than just because we’re not built like your standard Barbie doll.
And let’s be honest, equestrians are more likely to be built like weight-lifters than marathon runners. (And I want to be clear here, there is no such thing as a bad body type, whether you’re skinny or sturdy.) Really, having a thicker, more muscular build makes sense in this sport. It comes from throwing hay bales, mucking stalls, hanging onto runaway horses, and using all the muscle you have to control a large animal. So, why don’t brands embrace the bodies that make up the majority of the sport?
I made it my personal mission to find brands that are more body inclusive. While the pickings were still on the slim side (no pun intended), I expected it to be more difficult. Luckily, things have changed a bit since my time working retail nearly eight years ago.
The SmartPak Piper Collection
When I opened up my SmartPak catalog to the breeches section a while back, I remember exclaiming to my husband and waving my magazine around. I’m sure he was thinking, “Once again, my wife has gone insane.” Why all the excitement? SmartPak’s Piper Breeches are now available far beyond the typical largest size of 32/34. Instead, they’re available in sizes from 22 all the way up to 46. There’s a huge variety of styles in the collection, and my little hunter heart is thrilled with all the knee patch options.
View this post on Instagram
TuffRider Breeches & Boots
TuffRider breeches and tights are not only body inclusive, they’re also budget friendly. I own a few pairs of TuffRider breeches, and especially love these wide waistband knee patch breeches. However, if you’re looking for the pair with the widest range of sizes, you’ll want the Cotton Pull-On Plus Breeches, which are available up to a size 42.
Perhaps even rarer than body inclusive breeches are tall boots that come in a variety of sizes. The TuffRider Ladies Plus Rider Boots come in extra-wide, both short and standard heights, and go up to a size eleven in the footbed. I wish I had access to these when I was working retail!
Fashion isn’t limited to just one body size. Buckwild Breeches makes super cute riding breeches and tights that are for every body. They have a great Curvy Mare collection that isn’t just larger sizes– these breeches offer more room for your hips, thighs, and butt, so you’ll have a better chance of finding the ever elusive perfect fit.
I have a pair of these and they’re my favorite set of breeches in terms of fashion. My only wish is that they came in knee patch. I find the silicone full seat just a little too sticky for my tastes.
I am 100 percent convinced that there is not a single pair of breeches more comfortable than Kerrits winter tights. I had my original pair of fleece-lined riding tights from Kerrits for nearly a decade. Sometimes I would just wear them around the house, like loungewear– that’s how comfortable they were.
Kerrits doesn’t just make heavenly winter tights, they make most of their breeches and tights in inclusive sizes. Yup, you heard that right. Their riding pants are available in sizes extra-small to 2X.
Honorable Mention: Canter Culture
Full transparency here: I don’t own a pair of these breeches (yet). Everytime they pop up on my social media I spend some time drooling at the screen. I mean, how can you say no to houndstooth breeches?
View this post on Instagram
The reason Canter Culture gets an honorable mention is that they have pretty standard sizes, extra small through extra large. However, their extra large is equivalent to a size US 16 to 18, and rumor has it they’ll stretch to fit a size 20. But because this isn’t confirmed on their website, I can’t guarantee that’s the case. Still, as a mid-size rider, these breeches are definitely on my wish list.
While I still get frustrated shopping in stores, I’m really excited that more and more online brands are taking on the responsibility of creating apparel for all equestrians. It’s a big step forward when large brands pave the way for body inclusive sizing. Not only is it important to ensure current equestrians have access to the apparel they need, but it’s also a step towards making our sport feel more welcoming and less exclusive to new riders, young and old.
Note: Eventing Nation is proud to have a paid partnership with both SmartPak and JPC Equestrian (owners of TuffRider). However, we hope this won’t sway your opinion of their inclusion in this article. This list was created based on the writer’s personal experiences and opinions and we were not compensated for the publication of this article by any of the brands mentioned.