Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: A small town in NY
• Horses: 0
I've worn Ariats leather ones once, I borrowed them from a friend on a cold fall day when I was helping out/participating in a schooling show at the barn I volunteer at. They were awesome; kept my legs warm and helped my grip in the saddle. Very comfortable. However, they are pricey.
I (being a high school student with no income :) bought my own half chaps a few months back - a suede pair by Dublin that cost about $30. I had gotten the correct size, but they took a few rides to break in (like zipper wouldn't come all the way to the bottom stiff). Now they fit and zip perfectly other than being too tall for my relatively short calf. The suede requires no care - I walk through mud, snow, manure and a combination of them and I don't have to worry about ruining them like I would leather. They give me a bit of extra grip when riding, but it would be about the same if I wore them or didn't. They keep my legs adequetely warm when paired with long wool socks and thick jeans. They are tough and get the job done, but are not very pretty and I wouldn't wear them in the show ring.
So, if you're looking for something that will really assist you when you ride and keep you warm on cold days but are higher maintenance and expensive, I would choose leather (specifically Ariats). If you want something cheap but durable, I would go with suede. I basically bough my half chaps so I could ride in jeans and I wouldn't look like a little kid running around in paddock boots, jods and garters anymore :)
Hope you find a good pair!
A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman