My favorite things: breeches edition

I should preface this post by saying that I’m really picky about breeches. The fit has to be perfect, the fabric has to be perfect, they have to wear well, they have to be comfortable, they have to be flattering, they have to wash well, they have to be attractive and they have to hold up to a lot of abuse.

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Over the years I’ve tried so many brands it’s ridiculous: SmartPak, TS, Pikeur, Ovation, Grand Prix, TuffRider, Equine Couture, Kerrits, Tredstep, Ariat, Tropical Rider, Animo, Riding Sport, Trainer’s Choice, Goode Rider, etc etc. Most never made it out of the dressing room. The vast majority of those that did were either taken back or resold.

The top three?

Animo, TS, Pikeur. I consider TS and Pikeur to be pretty interchangeable for me. I might like the Pikeur a little more but I like the price tag and colors of the TS better, so in my mind they equal out. However the Animo are head and shoulders (and torso) above the rest.

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I know what you’re thinking… “$400 breeches are not happening”. Give me a minute to make my case.

My oldest pair of Animo breeches are my navy ones, which are now almost 3 years old. First, I bought them on sale for around $250… still pricey, but let’s keep talking. They are BY FAR my most worn breeches – honestly I wear them probably twice as much as any of my TS. It’s fair to say they’ve seen a lot of action by now. I’ve shown in them, I’ve fallen in them, I’ve mucked stalls in them… you name it, they’ve done it. Literally the only wear they show is some pilling of the fabric behind the knee, which mostly occurred when I spent several months riding in too-tall boots that rubbed the back of my knee area.

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Other than that, they still look just as good as the day I bought them. The stitching is all still flawless, the buttons are firmly attached and the zipper has given me no problems. The fabric has not changed since day 1. No fading, no thinning. I also can wear them probably 3-4 times between washings (in the machine!) – stop saying ew and hear me out. The fabric does not hold moisture or any kind of scent. They don’t smell like a dead animal after a particularly sweaty day. I can also take a wet rag and just wipe the fabric down to get rid of any dirt that’s showing. Literally – I wet the rag that I also use to clean my horse’s bit and wipe off my thighs. It happens. And it works. The best thing though? They don’t show moisture. This is great if you’re like me and have a pretty raging case of swamp ass in the summer. Being able to go somewhere after the barn without looking like you peed yourself? Awesome.

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The fit is fantastic. They’re the most flattering breeches I own and also the most comfortable. The cut of the knee area is genius and I absolutely love the sock bottom. Far superior to velcro in every way. My favorite feature though is also the one I was originally the most skeptical about: the silicone knee patches. If you need grip, those things are unparalleled. I used to have a jumper that literally felt like being strapped to the back of a coked up deer sometimes. If I wasn’t wearing the Animos I would add a little sticky spray to prevent being launched into orbit, but I found that with the silicone patches I didn’t need it. I never felt “stuck” to the horse, but if a time came where I needed some extra grip, they provided it. They’ve helped me out on a couple of particularly naughty horses as well.

So what’s a gal (or dude) to do if (s)he wants Animo but doesn’t have the money to drop on retail price? My advice – shop sales and shop used. Pretty much every Animo vendor I know has regular sales or periodic end of season clearances. Mine have all been purchased for under $250. My tan ones that I use for showing were a whopping $111 during a Selwood Equine sale. No that’s not a typo. They can be very affordable if you know where to look and are patient.

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For the sake of curiosity, let’s do some math. Let’s just say that you pay $300 (on the high side of sale price) for a pair of Animo. You then wear said breeches twice a week every week for, let’s say, 5 years (I feel like that’s being conservative on the life span). That’s 58cents per wear. My $110 Grand Prix breeches lasted a year and a half, at around 1 wear per week because I didn’t love them that much, before they sprung a hole. That’s $1.41 per wear. Which one is really the better deal? Quality costs money but a) it’s far more enjoyable on a daily basis b) it’s cheaper in the end.

I’ve discovered that Animo has so thoroughly spoiled me that I find a lot of breeches totally intolerable now, with my main complaint being the fabric. The only other brand I own is TS and that’s largely because the fit is so good for me and they’re comfortable. They still aren’t Animo but they work. Eventually I’d like to empty my closet of everything else and fill it only with Animo. That’s how obsessed I am. It will happen eventually, one sale at a time.

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44 thoughts on “My favorite things: breeches edition

  1. I need to try a pair of these suckers on… Still not in love with the funky knee… But if they are as awesome as you say… If I can find a pair for the right price I am not thoroughly convinced to try them.

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  2. So where do you usually find the best sales on them? I’ve been eyeballing them for a bit now for the hubby and I but the 300 price tag makes me look like this O_O

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    1. Selwood equine, just riding, red post, etc. mostly Uk sites. Us Animo has some sometimes too, plus vendors on eBay uk. If you see vendors for them here, usually at shows, ask them about sales.

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  3. I wish Animo were a) in my size b) $50. In all seriousness, I get the appeal but just not an option for me. I love TS breeches, but have been disappointed how my tan “show” pair are permanently saddle stained after a little under two years.

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    1. Ah, you touches on another favorite quality of Animo! My darker colored ones don’t show saddle stains at all, and for my light ones I just spray the seat with shout before I wash them and they come out prefect. My TS always seem to stain more and more over time, even the colored ones, despite the shout.

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  4. I hear your arguement for Animo, and I am convinved.
    However, Counterpoint:
    I can wear Tuffriders (the baby-cord ribbed ones) (yeah, I see you cringing already) for the same 3+ years, and they still look new. My tan ones (yup, wearing to the barn and getting gross) come sparkling clean. I am equally surprised and impressed. Similarly multiple wears between washings… I’m pretty sure the dead animal smell comes from my shirt, but I’m slowly getting awesome shirts for the barn.
    The Tuffriders look and fit great. They really are my go-to breeches that I reach for the most. (I actually had to get rid of my TS’s I got from ebay because they didn’t fit me right).
    So, the details I’m lacking are the sock bottom (would love this), and the silicone knee patch (which I haven’t found a lot of need for yet, but will love having in the future).
    So, in the name of playing devil’s advocate, can you tell me how they differ from the Tuffriders that I’ve fallen in love with?
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m about to start stalking eBay for my first pair of Animos just so I can find out first hand! 😉

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    1. I didn’t particularly like the Tuffriders. I found the fabric too thick and clingy, and they weren’t nearly as flattering or comfortable. I had them for a couple months before I sold them. So maybe they would have lasted, but they didn’t meet my other criteria.

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      1. I actually ride in tuffriders for everyday riding. They’re cheap and I’ve had mine for a number of years. One quick note on tuffriders (having bought them over a span of about 10 years) – they’re thinner now than the used to be – which is a blessing in the summer. They’re still regular old breeches and nothing fancy – and I have to agree when I read about the sock feature I was like “give me”, but for every day I don’t care what kind of muck I get on them breeches (Topaki snots a lot) I’m also a TuffRider advocate (my pocketbook is as well). I do use TS for shows, though, and may have to try the Aminos if/when Topaki and I get far enough along to warrant more than 1 pair of show breeches. 🙂

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          1. I have to agree in the look. If I had more money, and didn’t spend it on Paki’s training, new breeches would be on the docket. Just felt I should comment that the fabric has changed – because I used to hate the thick nature of it, too. 🙂 Unfortunately, cut is still the same.

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              1. I just got new ones about 6 months ago … prior to that it had been a few years. I can only compare the two pairs I have and the new ones are significantly thinner … I haven’t tried the pipers, though so can’t compare to those. I think you’ve probably got superior breeches as it is, though 😉

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                1. I’ve tried forever to find cheap ones that I like and it just hasn’t happened. Everytime new ones come out I get excited, then I see them/try them on and nope. Maybe I’m just too hard to please but I’m super particular about breeches. I will say that I always buy my Animo and TS on sale or secondhand though, so I’m not spending that much. Two of my pairs of TS were secondhand for $50 each and the other were new for $130 on sale. And then of course the Animo have always been purchased on sale. It’s hard to have champagne taste and a beer budget. 😉

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                  1. Hahaha so true. I was just going to say, you can’t help what you like ;). I’ve always trained in cheap breeches, and only shown in my TS, so I don’t have much to compare to.

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  5. I struggle constantly with finding durable breeches that hold up to my particular brand of abuse. (I seem to shred/stain/otherwise destroy them in a year or under, regardless of brand. Including TS.) I might have to look for some used Animos and give them a try, though!

    How do you wash them? Do they require any special settings or detergent? What about drying?

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  6. I would totally try them when I get down to the largest size they offer. I have total buy-in for quality, high-priced items. Almost every time, it just adds up. Thanks so much for the review. Something to keep on my radar. I’m breech crazy too 😉

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  7. You had me laughing like a loon at “swamp ass” & “coked up deer”.
    I have liked the look of the animosity on you; but even at the sales prices I shan’t be buying a pair for quite a while.

    In saying that I live in my Horze ones as i have nothing against velcro fastenings at the socks and am only now considering replacing my first pair after 4 years solid abuse as the crotch area is about to give up the ghost.

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      1. I hate it, mostly because it sticks to things (like my expensive cycling clothes or my beloved Kastel shirts) in the wash and damages them. Plus leaves a lump that shows under my tight calfskin show boots. The sock bottoms are a little harder to get off but I hold a big grudge against Velcro.

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  8. I KNEW I should have steered clear of this post!
    They are still on the high side of my price range for pants, but I would love to try them if I found a good deal (help me/don’t help me). I agree that quality is (usually) worth the price and I like all the things you said about keeping clean, no swap ass (it just happens!), no smell.

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    1. The no swamp ass part is a huge selling point. I always look like I peed myself in the summer since I’m a massive sweater. Not in the Animo! It really is a dangerous addiction.

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  9. I had the chance to try on a pair of Aminos the other day for the first time. Holy cow I see the draw. Those suckers made my butt look so good! And I think I need everything to be made from that fabric!

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  10. I ride mainly in RTS and Jutley (because they were free or cheap from my dressage barn boss). I will definitely give those brands you suggested a try once the time for replacements comes. Since I’m riding bareback right now I’ve been riding in sweats a lot. So fancy.

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  11. I think I’m the only person in the world who dislikes TS breeches. They’ve absolutely never fit me in any way, yet the Tredsteps (who fit no one) are my hands down favorite. Breeches are weird man.

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    1. I don’t like all the models, but they fit a bit differently. I can’t wear side zip Trophy Hunters but the front zip fit me great, for example. And I hated the old 95% cotton fabric but the new stuff is much better.

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  12. So what model of Animo breeches do you like? I’m scouring eBay trying to find a non-white pair to try…..dang this post – last thing I need to spend money on is more breeches!

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  13. I have to agree. I got a pair on eBay and went to test ride the strange knee patches and FORGOT what I was doing. I had a GREAT ride, but didn’t think about the breeches at all, and that’s the way it should be! I found your article because I was looking for sizing advice. I’m between US 26-28. I fit a (German) D38 great. For Animo, I wear IT 40 but it’s a little tight around the knees for me, which should be expected for my shape. For Equiline, which is also Italian, it seems to run smaller so I was a IT 42 for them. So I hope that helps some of you out there looking but don’t bid against me!

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    1. Hello, I found this because I am looking for sizing advice too! I own a pair of Equiline breeches in IT 38 it fits me pretty well but it is too long for me as I am quite short. I am thinking about getting a pair of Animo breeches in either IT 36 or IT 38. Are they longer or shorter than the Equiline ones? Thanks!

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