Full chaps vs Half chaps? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Full chaps vs Half chaps?

I was debating to get half chaps during the summer because in Wisconsin it does get a little too hot! What do you think guys? My old instructor said their not good because the horse can't feel your leg fully

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 12:32 PM
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That's rubbish, a properly-fitting half chap is no different to a properly-fitting pair of tall boots and we all know they wear tall boots in top level dressage.

I don't have the money for tall boots but I don't like riding without SOMETHING on my lower leg to protect it from my stirrup leathers. My leathers are lovely but jods just aren't enough, I have very sensitive skin and get pinched easily. So I ride in leather half chaps. When I have them. I lent my pair to a friend nearly a year ago and haven't seen them since... I also lent a good pair of riding boots to her and got them back with holes in both, so I won't be lending anything to her again...

I will admit to not being a big fan of synthetic half chaps [the suede ones at least] but that's for vanity, nothing else.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 12:34 PM
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Most riders I know wear half chaps (only full ones as winter warmers), I prefer leather to synthetic.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 12:37 PM
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...I find this a strange question. Half chaps are usually used instead of a tall riding dress boot/field boot. They can be cheaper and easier since you can throw them over paddock boots. I only wear my full length schooling chaps when I am doing casual riding and I don't use half chaps at all--I always wear tall field boots. Usually half chaps are a replacement for tall boots, not full chaps.

As for feeling the leg, a horse cannot feel a full chapped leg better than a half chapped leg, at least in my opinion. Chaps are for your protection from pinching, as well as for extra grip. I would certainly suggest you go for a half chap rather than a full chap in the hot summer. I live in Texas and during the 110 degree weather I ONLY wear light colored riding tights and my knee boots. I would NEVER wear my full leather chaps in that heat!
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 01:37 PM
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Very strange thing for your instructor to say and to be blunt, it sounds ignorant. Half chaps mimic the feel of formal tall boots and can help you feel more secure when riding. They have absolutely no effect on how the horse feels your leg.

I have an old set of full English chaps (we used to call them schooling chaps) that I will pull out only when starting a young horse or riding one I absolutely don't trust. They really do help you stick to the saddle but I'd never bother using them for day to day riding.

Half chaps with paddock boots are a really nice look and have taken the place of tall boots at many lower end shows. In my (old) day you could get kicked out of the ring for just wearing field boots but times change!
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 05:43 PM
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Was there a misunderstanding there somewhere? That's the strangest thing to say. How in the world would a horse feel your leg differently with what's covering your legs? (assuming you ride the same) Growing up I used to be at the barn all day long in triple digit heat. We all wore full chaps! Mostly b/c half chaps weren't popular back then but also because you could wear shorts around the barn and zip up your full chaps when you rode. Now I wear summer weight breeches and half chaps. The problem with full chaps is that they make your entire leg grippier so when I would put my tall boots and breeches back on my leg felt slicker. It's nice if you're working a lot of green horses and want the extra security but not so nice if you have to transition before a show.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-09-2014, 07:26 PM
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Maybe its a personal thing, but I really do feel like my legs are more supported and stable in tall boots versus half chaps; maybe that's what the trainer meant, that tall boots can provide stability and make your legs more effective in that way.

That being said, I have not ridden in the tall boot 'lookalike' half chaps, only the stretchy type, and my tall boots are very thick tight leather that are molded to my legs; so it really is the widest of both ends of the spectrum. I feel like no pair of half chaps give me that 'supported' feeling (like how rollerblades hold your ankle straight, I feel like I have too much bend in the gap between paddock boots and chaps). Maybe I'll change my mind mid summer, but I really feel like in things like sitting an extended trot, I wouldn't switch out my tall boots for anything, it makes that much of a difference for me.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-10-2014, 01:33 PM
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I find I can feel the horse better with half chaps since they can be a "looser" material than tall boots. The tall boots have to be a little stiffer at the ankle to prevent excess wrinkling.

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