I’m sure if I were allowed to wear navy breeches in competition, I would look like this! Vittoria Panizzon, photo by Tony Oaten

The thing is, those cream/beige/white (eeeeeek, perish the thought) jodhs/breeches are just THE most unflattering garment ever created. It’s as if they were specifically designed to put a huge spotlight on the derriere, and focus all attention there. Ugh.

And, in the U.K., those are the only colours allowed for competitions.

How unfair is THAT? At home I can slink around (well, I’d like to think it’s slightly slinky anyway) in navy and black, or dark denim (thank you Pikeur, THE most flattering of all) or dark brown, or grey (Kerrits, lovely additional vertical seams are a trompe l’oeil, far more flattering than they should be, considering how mega-comfy they are!)  Nice dark colours, flattering and minimising the bulk!

But at competitions, when people are actually watching you, out come (perforce) the palest shades. Argh. LOOK LOOOK LOOOOOK they say, just LOOK at the size of my backside, see how chunky those thighs are. If my horse had second thighs that powerful, we’d win the Puissance.

Our American cousins are permitted to wear dark coloured breeches. Ditto our European neighbours.

I’m sure if I were allowed to wear navy breeches in competition I would look like Victoria (photo above). Damn, just LOOK at that great style! I am almost fainting with envy here. Okay, maybe it’s not just the magic navy breeches doing something there…

You can get away with a little bit over here in the U.K. Dark tan/beige is permissible, at least at the lower levels. There’s a point beyond which I daren’t push it though… eventing’s expensive enough without risking the big E for being ‘incorrectly attired’, perish the thought. (Yes, that happened last year. One fine day, an Official suddenly decided to get all Officious on the subject of white breeches at British Eventing competitions, something to which a blind eye had been indulgently turned for yonks. One jobsworth = Eliminations.

Those given the big horrible E were told that they were allowed to go xc but, thinking they were out of the running, pootled round blissfully ignoring the Time Penalties (as you would, on a schooling round)… only to be told later that the E decision had been reversed… and without those TPs, at least one of those people would have been placed. Much justified frustration followed.)

So, the colour of your breeches MATTERS. White doesn’t even look nice on a supermodel – plus, there’s that whole ‘fabrics look waaay cheaper in white’ thing going on. Ask any fashionista.

A few years ago, I watched someone warming up at the British Dressage National Championships. The shade of her pale yellow breeches exactly matched her silk stock, her saddle pad, and her horse’s bandages. Wow. The effect was stunning. I’m not usually into matchy-matchy but this looked sensational. Heaven knows how she did it. Must’ve got the Pantone number and hunted the globe for extreme matchyness. It was classy.

While we’re on the subject, for me, saddle pads for competition = white or black. Usually white at affiliated comps, maybe black for local stuff. Bright colours for at home only, for that particular brand of clashy-clashy that eventers are so good at.

Anyway, I digress. I’ll drag you back to the size of my thighs. Does anyone remember this clip?

Maybe I watched this at a very impressionable age or something, because that’s exactly how I feel in pale breeches… even though my butt is not really the size of a small planet (or two small planets). But in my head, it is. 
Since I have an appetite to rival a starved velociraptor, this particular body dysmorphia is probably a good thing, otherwise my horses would be staggering underneath me, or I’d be trying to event a purebred Clydesdale, and we’d need a Wide Load sign.

Anyway, it’s not only vanity. When MY legs are skinnier, they WORK better! Less flobbyfat getting in the way of my muscles doing their job – steering & balancing the horse, keeping me on during those in extremis moments…

Anyway, the hunt is now on. I need a pair of super-flattering, super-sticky-bum, comfortable, high-waisted, dark cream/buff/beige/taupe (dark enough to flatter, light enough to avoid the big Officious E), competition breeches. By the time I’ve scoured the globe for them, and tried on a hundred pairs, I might even fit into that mythical size 24…