Let’s start with a bold statement and back it up with some stats.
Let me clarify that. They dominate in numbers, at equestrian events. Let me add a little disclaimer. Except perhaps at rodeo and cattle events.
As horse owners, women outnumber men 5 to 1 in Australia. According to research it’s a little more than that. Women represent 83% (Smyth and Dagley, 2015 ). I’m betting the numbers are even higher in other countries (OS friends, I’d love to hear your thoughts and observations on this). Let’s make a presumption that a good portion of those horse owners ride their horses.
Probably neither you nor I needed a research paper to tell us what a visit to any local equestrian event or horse-riding clinic on any given weekend would – regardless of whether it be anything from Classical Dressage, to Western through to Natural Horsemanship.
You may even notice that the majority of these women are mature aged women. That’s been my observation anyway and because I’m one of them they’ve (we’ve) been my focus when designing.
The question is, ‘what are these women looking for in equestrian wear?’
Probably not jodhpurs. Not the ones in my circle anyway, and not yours either I’d suggest. However, they probably found themselves in jodhpurs of some description, or jeans because of the lack of an alternative.
I’ll go one step further and say, she’s not looking for ‘fashion’ either.
I'd suggest that she already knows exactly who she is (and who she isn’t), and that includes knowing her own style. She’s done with fashion, and let’s face it, most equestrian wear is designed with women somewhat younger in mind. Flick through any magazine and you’ll see it for yourself.
I know from research (and my own experience) that first and foremost she’s looking for functional riding pants, without compromising on style or comfort. Riding pants that are flattering and can be worn to her own personal style. And she wants quality. She’s done keeping up with trends and her focus is on her horsemanship and riding.
She also wants practicality. She wants to dress for the day and be dressed for the day, not have to change into jodphurs to ride and change out of them to go to the shops or meet her friends for coffee. So, what’s the equestrian fashion industry doing for these women? Not a lot really. We’re often overlooked.
What Women, Why Bootlegs, and Why Ride Proud?
I have an alternative for ‘these women’, for me, for you. Not jeans, not jodhpurs, but purpose-built riding pants, with all the features of a quality jodhpur, all the style of a fine pair of jeansand all the comfort of riding tights.
And that’s why they’re referred to as a bootleg jodhpur. I have an aversion to the name, so I just call them Horse Riding Pants, but Bootleg Jodhpur is a good description.
The importance of the design of the Bootleg is the width of the leg. We don’t want them too wide – they’re riding pants after all. Not too narrow either – otherwise you may as well wear a jodhpur. Just wide enough to create a flattering line but narrow enough to avoid bulk at the lower leg. It’s a goldilocks thing – you need them just right.
Our Riding Pants are solid colours. No patterns, no stripes, just solid colour or tonal. With the exception of our Limited Edition we produce from time to time, but they’re our rule breaker.
Why? We want you to be able to use your Riding Pants as a fashion basic and consider them the equestrian equivalent of your little black dress. Dress them up, or dress them down.
And what to team them with? Any damn thing you like in my opinion. It’s your horse, your ride and your style. Style is individual, its for you to own and Ride Proud to support, not dictate.
I mentioned above it was my belief (my observation?) that the majority of these women were matured aged and they (me being one of them) were my focus. The truth is, we create our own truths and support it with information bias. Sometimes anyway and it seems that what I did, or perhaps I just made an assumption.
A few good years of trading, conversations and not to mention stats tells me that my first thoughts were wrong or confining at least.
It’s not just mature aged women wanting more from their riding gear; who aren’t happy or comfortable in their joddies or (traditional) jeans and are seeking an alternative. It turns out there are quite a number of strong young women who already know their mind, and style and are choosing our Bootleg Jodhpurs as their alternative. Who'd have thought. Well, I should have. We should have! In many cases, we raised them.
I stand corrected. Girls, (no, Women!), I'm cheering for you.