To wear or Not to wear Chaps?
 
 

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To wear or Not to wear Chaps?

This is a discussion on To wear or Not to wear Chaps? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • What type of boots to wear with chaps
  • When to wear chaps riding

 
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    12-22-2012, 07:37 PM
  #1
Foal
To wear or Not to wear Chaps?

I am new to english riding and am wondering about the usefulness of chaps. My trainer and my friend both have full chaps (suede). They mentioned that not only do they protect their pants from wear, and their legs from bruising at times, but also keep them warm in cooler temps. Do you wear chaps, and if so, full or half chaps and what purpose do they each serve? Not sure if I should get myself a pair or not as I am fairly new to riding.
     
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    12-22-2012, 08:15 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
I can't afford full chaps. Since I am fat, I cannot fit ready made ones and would have to have them custom made, like 300$. But, in any case, I ride in breeches with paddock boots and half chaps. Works very well. They also keep your calf from being pinched by the leathers of an English type saddle. I don't know how people can manage without something over the calf. Without it, every time you post the leather gives your calf a tiny pinch. I suppose if you have very thin calves it wouldn't happend, but if you are fluffy, or even the least bit rounded out in the calf, it will pinch. Love my Ariat half chaps.
     
    12-22-2012, 08:31 PM
  #3
Weanling
Ditto to tinyliny's response.

I love to wear half chaps. I've used full chaps in the past but half chaps give you the grip and protection where you need it without the extra bulk in the way. Although, full chaps do help keep you warmer if that's a concern.

Half chaps are also usually cheaper. I have ariat breeze half chaps. They are inexpensive, washable and super comfy. Ariat's zipper some times tend to fall if they are zip up so I like these because they zip top down so that's never a problem.
     
    12-22-2012, 09:00 PM
  #4
Foal
What is the best way to figure size? I am a bit heavier, but my calves are not overly large, I don't think?
     
    12-22-2012, 09:06 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by MySerenity    
Ditto to tinyliny's response.

I love to wear half chaps. I've used full chaps in the past but half chaps give you the grip and protection where you need it without the extra bulk in the way. Although, full chaps do help keep you warmer if that's a concern.

Half chaps are also usually cheaper. I have ariat breeze half chaps. They are inexpensive, washable and super comfy. Ariat's zipper some times tend to fall if they are zip up so I like these because they zip top down so that's never a problem.

Top down zip is the way to go. Very hard to do bottom up ones. And remember that they stretch.
Measure you calf at it's widest point, and use that to order. They have size charts.

Also, if you plan to use spurs (I dont') the chaps that come down over the back of the heel will get in the way of your spurs. So, get the kind that are cut away around the back of the heel.
     
    12-22-2012, 09:23 PM
  #6
Yearling
I'm not a fan of full chaps - just not my personal preference. I love half chaps. I don't care for suede - I like smooth leather (of course they cost twice as much). I've had both - the ariat zip ups that are tapered and nice and fit over paddock boots, and the velcro tabbed ones (my favorite) and fit over anything (including stretch riding jeans) and fit well over my sneakers. In fact, that is what one would find me riding in on a typical day - comfy, well worn breeches, sneakers and leather half chaps. Some half chaps have an extra velcro strap at the top so you can cinch them a little tighter above your calf so they won't droop too much as you break them in and as they begin to take the shape of your leg.

In my experience, the all leather ones (suede even more so) will stretch to at least a half size bigger after the first 20 rides so consider that as well when you look at sizing.

You'd have to just try everything out and see what you like. If you are considering full chaps, I'd try on a friend's pair that were already broken in and get up on the horse to see how they feel. If you go for half chaps and you can afford it, get some good quality real leather ones. They will last for many years, look quite fancy and nice and won't pill and stain like suede ones.

Ariat is a great brand - theirs will last a long time and they offer different price ranges and all look really pretty. I am not a fan of any of the Ovation brands. Every single pair I tried on (several pair) all looked like baggy socks on me. It's like they were cookie cutter made to some specific size leg that doesn't exist. So try before you buy!
     
    12-26-2012, 04:15 PM
  #7
Started
I usually stick to half chaps during the winter, unless its too cold and I just ride in carhart's. I do have a pair of full jeans but I am not at all flexible and struggle to get on so I opt out of that option.
     
    12-26-2012, 04:50 PM
  #8
Green Broke
My everyday (half) chaps are suede with velcro tabs. There were really cheap, are really comfy, and they've lasted for years of regular use.

I also have a pair of smooth leather zip-up ones for showing. And while I love the look, they're not nearly as comfortable. That's largely because I have short, wide calves and it's near impossible to find something that fits properly without being custom made. Even though the ones I bought are short & wide, they're still just slightly too tall and keep me from bending my knee all the way. I have nightmares of having to mount from the ground in those half chaps

ETA- I've never actually seen anyone ride in full chaps, and I'm not personally a fan of the look. I might feel differently if I lived in a much colder climate...
     
    12-26-2012, 05:04 PM
  #9
Green Broke
I have custom-made full suede chaps. Only reason I have them is a friend of a friend outgrew them and was selling them ridiculously cheap. I love that I can clean the barn, throw them over my jeans and go for a ride.

I also have half chaps but those only fit over my breeches.

Oh and TinyLiny, I am midget-sized with tiny lil calves (had to have my tall boots custom made) and I HAVE to wear some sort of chaps or tall boots to keep my legs from being pinched.
     
    01-02-2013, 07:31 PM
  #10
Weanling
I ride in half chaps. I've worn Ariat leather ones that I borrowed from a friend, and they kept my legs very warm on a cold day where I was running around helping with lead line classes and riding myself at a schooling show at my barn. They also helped my grip in the saddle.
I eventually bought my own pair of Dublin suede half chaps. They took no time to break in and I wear them tramping all over the stables (including sloppy pastures and the occasional misstep into a pile of horse crap). They keep my legs pretty warm and keep my jeans from wearing out (which was why I bought them in the first place).
I wore full chaps once, borrowing them from a friend so I could exercise a Western horse. In the barn, my entire legs were very warm. Once I started riding, I can't really remember how they felt because the horse decided to be a pill that day and I ended up having to focus on him :)
Personally, I like that half chaps allow you to ride in paddock boots and jeans give the 'illusion' of tall boots. Since you ride English I would say go for half chaps :)
     

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