Jeans make great travel companions, even better if they’ll hold up to a day of horse riding and still look good enough to wear out to dinner or sightseeing! The trick to horseback holidays is to make our luggage work hard for us, and when there’s riding gear taking up precious space and weight, we need the rest of our kit to be as versatile as possible. That’s where a durable pair of dual-purpose jeans come into their own.
If you’re looking at The Kimberley Ride, Craig’s Hut & High Country Ride, Desert Brumby Safari or The Rainbow Beach, Bush & Cattle Ride in Australia, or our Shell, Wyoming, Big Horn Cattle Drive, Wyoming and Montana rides in the USA, jeans work well for riding in a saddle with swinging fenders, as there’s no stirrup leather to rub in the wrong places. If you’re not convinced, you can always throw in a pair of half chaps to be sure (see our recommendations here and here).
Who better to ask about the best riding jeans than our tribe of Globetrotters? Our experts noted some common features worth looking out for, including boot cut, no gap waistband, stretch, flexible knees, and flat seams. And watch out for shiny distractions – while that beautiful bling on the pockets might light up your butt like nothing else can, it can scratch up a saddle faster than you can say ‘Whoa!’
TOP FIVE RIDING JEANS
- Wrangler Q-Baby Ultimate Riding Jeans. I have a pair of these myself and love love LOVE them. The soft stretch fabric is comfort plus – they hold you in nicely while still allowing free movement. The slimming cut does wonders for the tum and butt. They come in a 34 or 36 inch leg and they’re made mid-rise to sit above the hip. Bonus: they’re also available in plus sizes!
- Ariat knows a thing or two about horse gear, and judging by the big rap they got from our globetrotters, that savvy shines through in the design and cut of their riding jeans. You’ll be spoilt for choice because they have a LOT of styles to choose from, and AU sizes 4-26! Just be sure to look for the features I listed above that make great riding jeans and you can’t go wrong.
- Cowgirl Tuff is an American clothing label that has quickly gone from a small, home based business to a leading brand in western gear. The jeans are smart, stylish and come in a wide range of styles, lengths and sizes that will suit just about everyone and our globetrotters gave them a big tick. They offer a whopping 60 custom sizes, with waists measuring 24-40 inches and lengths from 31-37 inches.
- Ride Proud Clothing is an Australian brand designed by and for female equestrians. The Horizon riding jeans are a big favourite, but all of their riding pants are worth serious consideration (especially for mature ladies who appreciate a bit of support and comfort!). They’re available in AU sizes 6-22. Globetrotter Ava Pellizzari said: “Worth every cent. I have never ridden in jodhpurs or jeans that felt so comfortable […]. I’m glad I ordered two pairs.”
- Historically, Moleskins have been the riding jean of choice for many an Australian horseman and woman in the bush. There’s a reason for that. They’re tough, super comfortable to ride in, they give in all the right places and look smart enough to cut the mustard out on the town. Our globetrotters recommend Thomas Cook , a well-established brand stocking AU sizes 8-22.
The suggestions didn’t stop there. Here are a few honourable mentions:
- Wrangler (it’s not just their Q-Baby jeans that are good for riding!)
- Rivers (AU sizes 6-30!)
- Jeans West (The slim straight jeans come recommended)
- Target Sophie Skinny (yep, really!)
- Freddy (super flattering and comfy)
- Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (‘patented lift & tuck technology’, oooh)
- Grace In LA (also does plus sizes)
- Miss Me (US sizes 00-18!)
- Uniqlo (shop in-store for free length alterations!)
These recommendations will have you spoilt for choice. They’ll take you on your next Globetrotting adventure in style and comfort, from walk to gallop and then onto a bar stool for a refreshing bevy at the end of the day.
For more plus-sized apparel, check out this article.
***Oh and don’t forget to check out our GT Apparel online store if you’re keen to invest in some new gear ahead of your ride!
This article was written by Bernadette Kelly, a loyal Globetrotter since 2010, with 16 rides under her belt spanning Africa, South America, Iceland, Europe, The UK, and Australia.