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Jodhpurs Have Been Around For A Long Time

By Jerri Perry

Most of us know jodhpurs mainly as riding pants and actually may have thought they'd disappeared from the scene. The distinctive flared pants were once familiar sights in the hunt field, at military and police headquarters, and on Hollywood movie sets. Today, however, styles have changed and the long riding pants are now form-fitting.

What became known as the jodhpur pant was loose at the hip and thigh, tight below the knee, and extended to the ankle. This style was traditional male garb in the orient and well-suited to riding, with freedom of movement for hip and thigh and a snug fit at the legs to give a good grip and minimize chafing. Modern stretch pants can give freedom of movement without the flare, which is why that distinctive look has disappeared.

Sir Pratap Singh, a younger son of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, introduced the style to England when his polo team arrived to play for the Queen. Although by definition the trousers extend to the ankle, the English players began wearing breeches that ended at mid-calf. They wore high boots with the shorter pants, while the genuine long pants are made to be worn with low shoes or paddock boots. The distinctive hip flare was retained.

This adaptation was adopted by the rest of the equestrian world, especially after the 1920s when women began to ride astride. It became a familiar look for military staff officers in the west, in Nazi Germany, and in the USSR. Tall boots were part of this sartorial symbol of authority. Motorcycle police also stomp around in tall boots, but the fact that the flare was retained until recently made many think that they were wearing jodhpurs.

Full-length pants are good for children, because they grow too fast to make buying high boots practical. Instructors also say that this style of riding pant lets them see the position of the leg, thus helping children learn the correct position. The riding world is fairly strict on etiquette, and many horse enthusiasts prefer to see children dressed in jodhpurs even if money is no object.

Adults who wear them often add half-chaps or leggings for extra grip and protection when mounted. These zip up or lace to cover the lower leg; they have a strap that goes under the boot for a secure fit. They provide protection against the rub and pinch of the stirrup leathers.

The pants are made with knee patches, both for protection and to help the rider grip the saddle, and with the seams on the outside of the leg to minimize rubbing. More modern styles often have seat patches as well, again for better grip, and may have the whole seat and inner leg lined with non-slip fabric fabric or leather. Seams need to be very strong to withstand the stress of vigorous equestrian exercise.

Jodhpurs in all colors are acceptable for informal occasions, but competition usually requires traditional beige or white. Saddlebred show riders wear a special style with a flared cuff that comes low over the heel, always in dark blue or black.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Monday, February 24, 2014

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