Jeans make great travel companions, even better if they’ll hold up to a day in the saddle but still look good enough to wear out to dinner or a day’s sightseeing. The trick to horseback travel 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, Bogong & Brumby Ride or Goomboorian Campdraft 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 chaps to be sure. See our recommendations for chaps here.
Who better to ask about the best gear for horseback travel 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. On or off the horse, the soft stretch fabric is comfort plus. A slimming cut does wonders to trim and tone the tum and butt. They come in a 34 or 36 inch leg and they’re made mid-rise to sit above the hip. They’ll hold you in nicely while still allowing free movement.
- Ariat (pictured above) knows a thing or two about horse gear, and judging by the big rap they had 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. Just be sure to look for the features – see our list above – best suited for riding 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 they had a big tick from Globetrotters.
- Target may not necessarily the first brand you’d associate with riding, but we have it on authority from a number of seasoned Globetrotters that the Target ‘Sophie Skinny’ have what it takes to make this list. At around $30, the low price tag makes these well worth a look.
- 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.
The suggestions didn’t stop there. Here are a few honourable mentions:
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.
Written by Bernadette Kelly (loyal Globetrotter since 2010, with 5 rides spanning from Africa to South America and home in Australia).
Image Credit: SmartPak Equine