Question about half chaps - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Question about half chaps

So I haven't ridden without half chaps since my first lesson. I think I started riding in August. I can't remember. Anyways, I feel as if my leg is a lot better.
I saw a 13 year old cantering bareback, I am nowhere's near as solid as she was. I really hate the look of my current half chaps, they were cheap and are falling apart. I was wondering do they actually make that big of a difference with your leg? My leg is alright, my biggest things I need to work on is not leaning forward so much when I really need to push my horse into the corner and keep my weight down in the heels when I'm asking her over. I don't know what it is but when I give pressure, I am horrible at keeping my heels down while I do it. I have a tendency to bring my heel up to do it.

But anyways I was wondering if they make that big of a difference?
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 01:27 AM
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Half chaps just prevent the inside of your calf from getting pinched from the saddle, really. Good leg position comes from strengthening your leg and doing no stirrup work :)

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post #3 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QHriderKE View Post
Half chaps just prevent the inside of your calf from getting pinched from the saddle, really. Good leg position comes from strengthening your leg and doing no stirrup work :)
Agree and disagree. As a firmly intermediate rider now, when I was a beginner they helped me a LOT with just keeping my legs steady. Not having your legs flopping or sliding about is half the battle (IMHO) in the beginning (especially if you're riding a horse sensitive to such), and having the extra "traction" helped me.

I agree that position and such comes with practice and strength, but IMHO chaps have much more use than just avoid pinches from the leathers.

And OP, if it makes you any better, I still fight every single ride with my heels. ;)
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 07:06 AM
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While half chaps don't compensate for good leg strength and position, I do find they offer additional support and grip.

I also like them on days when I'm in and out of the saddle and can wear a more comfortable shoe for the chores as opposed to wearing some of my tall boots.
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 10:14 AM
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You should get to the point in your riding where your position won't be adversely affected if you do not have half chaps. It may be a bit different and maybe less secure, but your previously stable leg shouldn't suddenly go swinging around!

They do have more than a protection factor though. They aren't a substitute for a stable leg, but the make keeping the position a bit easier. I DO think that the thin, flimsy type of half chaps do almost nothing for stabilizing your leg. They definitely protect, but if you have the kind that I'm thinking of I doubt that they have any real support factor.

The 13 year old cantering bareback with a stable leg has just had a ton of practice I would bet. No need to compare yourself with her. I'd buy new half chaps if yours are falling apart and get a more supportive, higher quality brand. However, don't expect to go galloping off into the sunset saddle-free once you put them on ;)
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 12:49 PM
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If I could find some half chaps that made me ride like a 13 year old, I'd buy 10 pairs!
SueNH and boots like this.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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The 13 year old her seat was just amazing. I'm like **** it. I totally need to work on doing no stirrup work.

But apparently I looked really good yesterday. So that makes me happy. My leg pretty much stays in place now, well at least I think it does. I do notice when I've had to move it back in the past. Which was on a horse where I kept getting really forward on at the canter and had to readjust my seat. My seat felt horrible that day with my balance, I don't know if the too small saddle made a difference. I had also never rode him.

Thanks everyone for your input. They are wash n go chaps. From Greenhawk. It's not even been 6 months and they're tearing apart. Once I get some bills paid I will be buying another pair of chaps. I have really big calves apparently so hard to find ones that fit.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 02:33 PM
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That's bizarre. I have the same wash 'n wear fake suede chaps from Greenhawk and I've had them for going on 4 years now, riding several times per week and in the past 9 months or so 5 or 6 times per week, still going strong. Apart from stretch, mine still look new.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 03:25 PM
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I don't find they make a difference... But then again I've been riding my whole life so I SHOULD have a steady leg!
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-02-2013, 04:01 PM
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I think half chaps make a difference, even if it's not huge. Coming from a western background where I used to ride in any kind of shoes I felt like, my half chaps feel like armor to me. Mine are full leather, basically a big piece of hide and a small strip of elastic material. In combination with my paddock boots, my legs feel very secure and stable from toe to knee. I don't know if it's the compression or the stiffness of the leather or what, but I like it! I haven't ridden without them since last Spring.

I think if I rode without them now, my leg position would be the same, wouldn't it? Either that, or maybe my legs would feel like wobbly noodles and I'd fall off my horse... I'm really not sure.


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