do half chaps improve riding performance? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-15-2013, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I have a very VERY slippery dressage saddle, and my half chaps have suede on the inner leg. I find that purely for that fact they stabilize my leg because even a strong lower leg is going to struggle to stay still in a saddle as slippery as mine.

Also, they do offer a little support to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your lower leg. For the inexperienced rider they don't do much but for the rider with a lower leg that is 'getting there but not quite there' they do help.


In jods with half chaps [do bear in mind this is a matter of different saddles as well]. Jump is 95cm according to the numbers marked on the standards. And yes, he likes to take off from WAY long, I hadn't yet figured out how to get him in deep to his fences. Now our striding is perfect 9 out of 10 times.

In jeans. No chaps. Jump is approx 1m.

BOTH ARE OLD PHOTOS, please don't crit my position! The 95cm vertical is actually an older photo, my chaps broke and then I got a new saddle and yeahhh. I've fixed my position again but don't have any recent pics. But it's more than clear that my lower leg is about a million times better in the older pic, with chaps!! Dork jumps a bit flat over the little stuff like this, once we get up to the bigger stuff [1m10 oxers and the like] he does have a lovely scopey bascule.

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post #12 of 17 Old 03-15-2013, 09:04 AM
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I prefer to ride in my tall boots. I do "retire" them for the season come late fall to early spring. My half chaps are a little too big so I can add more layers under them for warmth.

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post #13 of 17 Old 03-15-2013, 08:20 PM
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Like Anebel, I feel a huge difference in my lower leg/ankle depending I which boots I am wearing.
At home I generally ride in zip up Ariat boots with full leather half chaps so I dont wreck my toppies. If I'm feeling lazy and dont put chapson, there is a noticeable difference in ankle stability and I have to work harder to keep a stable lower leg.
For lessons, clinics and competitions I ride in top boots, and they immediately provide greater support to the ankle than half chaps, and I find I have more movement and feel in them.

When you're starting out, you're not going to have a high level of feel or lower leg stability, so a pair of cheap suede half chaps will be sufficient to stop any rubbing/pinching. Plus when you're a kid you're supercool if you wear coloured half chaps haha
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-16-2013, 10:08 PM
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The half chaps just protect your leg from rubbing. When you just have your riding pants and boots on, when you ride, the leg tends to get rubs. Happened to me! :) The half chaps just gives you protection to prevent rubbing.
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-16-2013, 10:28 PM
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I like tall boots, but I don't like the price of them. With forty dollar machine wash suede half chaps and it's almost like I have tall boots!

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post #16 of 17 Old 03-20-2013, 06:57 AM
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Even since I was a six year old with teeny stick legs, I found I had to ride in half chaps to prevent pinching, and never showed enough as I got older to invest in a pair of tall boots to make it worthwhile (after the age of jods, paddock boots, and spats + a polo were appropriate for schooling shows, I.e. see my kid show attire in my photo album entitled old photos, or something like that!)

As an adult returning rider, I couldn't imagine NOT riding in them! My trainer never wears them, and being a dressage and not a jumper rider/trainer since she was 19 (now age 50), she made the comment to me once that she had always thought they were sort of a "cheat" way to go, stabilizing the lower leg!

I was shocked, as that hadn't EVER occurred to me, and I had ALWAYS had pinching with the leathers, thus, always hated riding without them as I'd get purple bruising from all the miserable pinching! I felt really dumb thinking she'd assumed I had been "cheating" my way into a stable lower leg until we clarified this!

Anyway, I have had all kinds, and the best IMO for "feel" without too much bulk are the all suede kind, though my current pair are all plain leather and I do find myself craving more "feel"...hope that helps! :)

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post #17 of 17 Old 03-20-2013, 07:15 AM
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I always ride in my half chaps... I would love a pair of tall riding boots, but my tiny feet (size 3) plus giant calves (I squeeze into a medium half chap at a struggle) means it would cost a bomb over here to get a pair - when I ride just for pleasure it just isn't worthwhile. I struggle to find tall boots of any description that will fit me, and if I do get a pair it's usually a size too big in the foot.

My half chaps are cheap, but they do the job and look the part perfectly fine :)

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