The Tale of the French Blue Breeches

The Tale of the French Blue Breeches

Once upon a time, I made very questionable fashion choices when it came to the equestrian world.


This is partially due to funds.  In college, I had money for board + farrier + a few lesson and a few small shows.  That was a huge luxury and only possible with the help of my parents and several part time jobs.  There just wasn’t anything left over for fancy schooling clothes, and I was fine with that.

But I still wanted fancy schooling clothes.

Truthfully, I only owned 1-2 pairs of breeches at a time from me being a 10 year old kid in a weekly riding lesson all the way up to showing IHSA.  Breeches were reserved for showing only, and they were tan.

Photo by Heather N. Photography
Photo by Heather N. Photography

I didn’t even know that colored breeches existed until I met some fancier IHSA riders on my equestrian team.  They had these mysterious things called “schooling breeches” and their schooling breeches came in fun colors like charcoal, brown and darker tan!  Hey… these were the early 2000’s and breeches weren’t quite so rainbow then.

Anyway, the most majestic and beautiful of the breech colors were “French Blue.”  I didn’t know what made this specific shade of blue French versus German, but I did know that it was beautiful.

Photo by Heather N. Photography
Photo by Heather N. Photography

I wanted the french blue breeches, and I wanted them oh so badly.

Unfortunately $180 schooling breeches have been out of my realm for a very long time.  My dad says that when you can’t get what you want, it just gives you something to look forward to!  So when SmartPak started carrying colored TS breeches in my size – I knew I had something to look forward to.

Photo by Heather N. Photography
Photo by Heather N. Photography

When I transitioned to the jumper ring, I decided that the expensive breeches were now not just for schooling.  Colored breeches were within my grasp, and I knew exactly what color I wanted.

And I adore them.  I adore them so much.

Clothes don’t make the rider.  My riding got better from lessons, not from magic breeches.  But you know what?  They make me feel good.  I love that I have my long coveted breeches now, and I love that I worked hard to get them.

Photo by Heather N. Photography
Photo by Heather N. Photography

So I will rock the french blue and other colors in the future.  Now I just have to pick the next color to look forward to.

59 thoughts on “The Tale of the French Blue Breeches

  1. I noticed them the other day and started wondering if it is acceptable to wear french blue breeches in ApHC hunter…probably not. 🙁

  2. Girl, I am SO with you there! The clothes don’t make the rider, but they sure do help you feel good! PLUS colored schooling breeches don’t show dirt as badly as tan. My SmartPak wishlist is so full of fun colors…

  3. I love blue breeches, and TS are so flattering!

    I really want some rust or burgundy TS. I have all shades of blue, gray, and black because longs are hard to find in exciting colors!

    1. I really want the boysonberry ones, but I have the same problem you do with Longs. The french blue ones in these pictures are regular length, and the knee patches come up a bit too high on me.

      1. I can usually find a few colors in longs near me, but almost never online. Of course never on sale!
        One of the local tack shops had a special on old colors a few weeks ago where you could get a $50 gift certificate for buying them. None in my size of course!

  4. Weirdly enough, I of schooling tight land also lust after a pair of french blue breeches. Ever since I saw a girl on a steel dapple grey wearing french blue breeches and a pale yellow sunshirt schooling the night before Jump Start this year. I actually picked some up at a tack store last night, but as usual, ended up putting them back. Someday. Glad you have yours!

  5. I just got a pair of black olive TS and I love the color! They’re a very subtle dark green, sometimes almost look like a really dark grey in certain light.

  6. That is def a pretty color! All the colors are so fun for schooling. I’m a grouch though and feel they should be kept for that and cringe when I see them in the jumper ring at a rated show. At least in the classics we are made to dress appropriately. Unrated shows, wear them and have fun!

    1. I don’t know if I’d do colored at a rated show. Maybe in an open training class like the .85m or whatever, but in a division class I’d probably still do tan breeches and a coat.

  7. Those blue breeches look AWESOME!

    I live for loud and wild schooling tights. Like, the Kerrits Flow Rise in Sandstorm ( I can’t wait to get my hot little hands on them. The Grape and Ocean colored IceFil Tights ( WANT WANT WANT. Neon green TuffRiders? ( MUST HAVE THEM.

    Like, if Lilly Pulitzer made riding clothes, my life would be complete.

  8. What a fun little story! They look so good on you!
    I have been dying to have Annie’s tiffany blue breeches. Now that I have them I just need a healthy horse to finally ride in them ;).

  9. When I started riding again back in September, I actually bought French Blue schooling breeches first thing! The tan show breeches didn’t come ’til later. Now I’m coveting something burgundy, because I think that would look so gorgeous on my gray girl. Though those black olive TS ones look ah-mazing. And the two-tone hunter green ones with tan knee patches. And- wait. I’ll stop. I just want all the breeches always.

  10. Ha, try to find coloreds in longs AND side zips.

    Never happens. I refuse to use front zip breeches. The way they all coil and make lumps.. -shudder-

  11. I ride western…but want breeches. Trouble is, I’m 61 with an apple shape, 5″5′ in height. I’m clueless when it comes to brands and fit. Any suggestions? (Btw…didn’t get my first horse until age 56….it only took 53 years to make my dream come true! Never loose hope.)

    1. Breeches run by your waist size, and I find the TS ones to be a bit generous in the bum and thigh area… which is why I like them. Pipers and SmartPak breeches run narrow in the legs but true in the waist, so you may like them!

  12. Love those! If you’re comfortable and confident, I say go for it – it can’t ever hurt to feel good! I’m out there doing ground poles and crossrails and forgetting how to ride, but I’m doing it in Kastel sunshirts and TS breeches, damnit.
    I, too, am drooling over the two tone TS. Drool, drool, drool. I’ll just go be content with my charcoal and navy for now.

  13. This is just such a positive post. I love love love the breeches and I think you look wonderful in them. This post just really made me happy and brought a more positive outlook to my day. 🙂 thank you

  14. “My dad says that when you can’t get what you want, it just gives you something to look forward to!” That’s such a dad-ism. French blue is white hot! My office at home is painted French blue. I want dark gray breeches. I saw an amazing, crazy green that I can’t even name brand of Italian breeches the other day. I emailed the sales contact and got the pricing, but I’m a little worried if I order overseas and it doesn’t fit at all, I’ll be stuck. Your dad’s words are comforting me. 🙂

  15. I love the colored breeches! I prefer schooling tights myself, especially the Kerrits brand. I have always loved their herringbone patterned tights.

  16. i’m still new to all this and didn’t know that coloured breeches were not acceptable for showing! i bought a blue pair a little while ago just because they were on sale and i wasn’t willing to pay full price. now i appreciate them even more!

  17. I *love* the pictures of you guys doing jumpers in those pretty breaches! I totally want a pair as well. =-)

  18. You go girl. I just told my parents of how one day I want DeNiros and they asked me if I was going to ever stop buying new horse stuff. Its all I look forward to buy!

  19. love those breeches and they look great on you!! i’ve been lusting after that color forever too… but just couldn’t justify the expense. that is, until *yesterday* when i saw a pair of Tredsteps (my fave) on consignment in my exact size for $20. yes please!!

  20. I rode in jeans for a really, really long time. It wasn’t until I started boarding at a barn full of eventers that though it was sacrilege to combine jeans with leather that I invested in breeches. Then it was only one pair, and I wore the snot out of them. It took me a few years, but I now have show breeches, and schooling breeches. Though I admit that my showing breeches for the longest time were my favorite breeches and more than once made its way into schooling sessions! Now that my show breeches are white though that doesn’t happen any more!

  21. I LOVE coloured breeches! I was lucky to get a giant gift card at Christmas a couple years ago to a tack shop that more or less only carried breeches and kitschy stuff at the time. (Of course NOW they carry a million useful items I want, like Veredus boots and Parlantis and so forth.) Anyway, convenient excuse to buy coloured TS. I got the Boysenberry and the Charcoal and have never really loved breeches more. I have basically worn them out, although I try to save them for lessons, and not hack around in them. I’m dying for the Ivy TS, but I just can’t justify it! But so pretty!!!

  22. I love the French blue!

    My favorite schooling tights are also blue! I used to have an awesome purple pair of breeches that I always got compliments and questions about where to find they (they were special order for a college team and leftover on clearance at the tack shop). All my (two) fancy breeches are bright white.

  23. Beautiful breeches!

    I’ve never purchased a pair of breeches over $40. I have always wanted a pair of nice breeches – you know, the TS or the Pikeur, or the whatever. But I couldn’t do it.

    Then hubs went and got me a pair of reeeallly nice charcoal colored breeches (Tredstep Symphony something) for my birthday. I swear, I swoon just putting them on. Having them now, after growing up with cheaply made breeches, makes me giddy! I appreciate them much more than I ever would have as a kid or young adult.

    Of course now, they’re the only ones I want to ride in… but seriously, I feel so special wearing them.

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