Half chaps questions & need opinions
Hi there! I was wondering if I could get some help with this nagging purchase I have been putting off.
I started out riding Western and my coach suggested I get a cheap pair of Western Boots. The cheapest I could find (I have huge feet) were a brown pair of cowboy boots that, while may be cheap to the horse world, I felt I spent a decent amount on. They were $65. :shock:
I'm doing English now and I need to buy halfchaps. I will go and try some on but I need some help figuring out what kind to buy. I live in Wisconsin where it is hot as heck and humid in summer and freezing in winter. Do I go with a pair that's breathable or warm? And what is the difference for riding between suede, leather, and mesh anyways?
So then I have the problem that I have to pick a color. Do I get black since I may need English boots? However, I don't want to be wearing mismatched gear now either. Do people even wear half chaps with Western boots?
I've also been looking at prices and it seems they are all expensive so I'd rather just buy the right kind I need the first time around. *frowns at cute cowboy boots* Unless I get really lucky and find some for cheap in brown.
So I'm not sure what to do. I want to do what is right for my level without wasting money. I know no one can see the future but maybe other people have had similar issues, lol. Opinions?
Why do you need half chaps?
Generally they are not used with western boots. I don't know if you'll have enough ankle movement in western boots and half chaps.
In my experience there are three main sort of types, half chaps that are made from a synthetic material, ones that are made from a cheap suede material all round, and ones that have usually suede on the inside and smooth leather on the outside, often with an insert of elastic.
In my experience the cheap suede ones tend to slip, and often only have velcro fixings so I haven't worn them for years. With the synthetic ones, I found that the plastic cracked pretty quickly, especially around the elastic. When I wear half chaps I have a pair of Ariat's that has a quilted suede pattern on the inside and smooth leather on the outside. I've had them for years and they're great, but don't need them these days.
Far as colour in concerned, I've always heard black for dressage, brown for showing but must always match tack if showing. If not showing, doesn't matter what what colour.
I know things may seem pricey. The half chaps I buy were probably around the $150 mark, but that was years ago. It all sounds pricey but after you buy things and they break or you only get a year out of them it adds up pretty quick.
Why are you buying half chaps if you don't have english boots yet? I know very little about western and its attire but it seems a bit odd.
I have a set of suede/mesh half chaps that do the job - I don't remember them being overly expensive but they are top quality either.
If you are wearing tall english boots you wouldn't wear half chaps. Half chaps are designed to protect the leg from the knee down. Half chaps that are designed to look like a tall boot are worn over paddock boots which, the boots, only come a bit above the ankle. Think of it as the paddock boot taking the place of the lower portion of the tall boot and the matching half chap acting as the long portion of the boot up to the knee. You would also not use half chaps with cowboy style boots as again, that style boot, I believe, is at least at half calf height.
Half chaps come in full suede, synthetic or leather. If you want to keep cost down, and from the sounds of the riding you are doing, I'd go with synthetic or suede. Leather starts getting expensive. Color is a personal choice..I have a pair in both black and brown and while I prefer a color match to my riding shoes/boots I have intermixed the colors if one or the other pair is just too grungy and is pending a good cleaning. I do not show in my half chaps as I wear my tall boots but if showing with half chaps then yes, they should probably match the color of the riding shoe being worn.
my half chaps are brown to match my paddock boots and suede and they zip.. i got them for a decent price online. the only reason i bought them though is to protect my legs from getting all bruised up, which isn't a problem for some people. if you don't feel you NEED them and aren't showing whats the big deal about cowboy boots in an english saddle for a while?
I don't see the big deal with cowboy boots and half chaps- I have a friend who has been riding with the combination and jumping up to about 3'6 with no issues for the past year while waiting to replace her paddock boots! If you have super loose cowboy boots it might not work, if not then just put them over your current boots. It'll help keep your leg more steady.
Like folks have said, there are synthetic, suede, and smooth leather half chaps. I have an old (~9-10 years) pair of suede Ariat half chaps and love them! Mine have zippers, and I have never had a problem with them slipping. I could see why that would be an issue with the velcro closure ones that used to be so popular around here, but when I looked recently I didn't even see any velcro half chaps that Ariat still manufactured. Smooth leather helps to best create the impression of a tall boot, and from what I have heard from some gives you the best help in holding your leg position.
Buying a quality pair of half chaps may seem like a big investment, but be careful if you decide to go with a cheaper pair! Last I looked the ones similar to those that I have had for 10 years are going for close to $100. At some point in the past couple of years I decided to buy a really cheap pair (~$30) of thin synthetic half chaps in a size a little big to keep lying around if I didn't feel like stuffing my boot cut jeans in my regular ones for a trail ride or something. These things got used about once a month for light trail riding, and maybe 2-3 times per year for a hard ride and they already wore through much of the faux suede covering down to the fabric. They are machine washable, so when they were looking really grungy from sitting around last month I followed the washing instructions and the zipper came off of one of them! :evil: That said, not all synthetic half chaps are poorly made or of bad quality! Just don't think that you can necessarily spend less in the long run by buying a pair.
As far as temperature goes, I would go with something that is non-breathable if you are only getting one pair. I live in south Louisiana and I have no problem with my non-breathable suede half chaps in our hot and humid summers. It is a wonderful feeling to take them off at the end of a ride, but it's not a suffering point when I'm actually on the horse. While our winters don't get as cold as yours, I definitely appreciate the extra layer of warmth in the winter. Having air flow to your legs in frigid, windy weather is probably not what you want :wink: As far as color goes, it's a matter of personal preference. Lots of people say to get black because you can show in them, but at the very low level shows it doesn't really matter. Beyond that level you just need to suck it up and buy a pair of tall boots. Anyway, decide what your personal preference is for half chaps and paddock boots and buy that color. You may be mismatched until you invest in a pair of paddock boots, but when you feel the time is right then buy boots that match your selected half chap color. If you have brown boots and buy half chaps to match, then you'll be running into the same issue if you decide you want black paddock boots but have brown half chaps!! Also, it's worth noting that I ride dressage and have always had my trusty brown half chaps and buy brown paddock boots to match! I showed in them once in my first schooling show before I bought tall boots, and did well!
If you have lace up roper style western boots, then you can totally put english half chaps over them - quite similar to a english paddock boot.
If you have pull on western boots, half chaps will definitely not work with them because half chaps are very fitted and those boots are not.
Agreed, I don't see half chaps working well with the typical western boot. I started wearing half chaps because the leathers were pinching my calves. Not sure if western boots would come up high enough to prevent that or not on their own.
My first pair of half chaps was full suede with velcro tabs, cost somewhere around $30-35, and lasted for many, many years. More or less like these:
I've worn cowboy boots with half chaps for years, not for showing but for riding (jumping, cantering, trails, arena). If you are going to mix, you should get the half chaps that have the velcro, becuase the zip up ones are too tight to fit over boots. Recently I got a cheap pair of paddock boots (28$ on sale Dover) becuase I got the zip up half chaps. I don't notice a difference riding with the paddock boots vs cowboy boots. I will go back to my cowboy boots after I wear out the paddock boots becuase I love em.
As for the temperature......:-) Down here in the deep South it gets a bit warm too :lol:. June, July and August are usually brutally HOT. While I don't do a lot of riding on hot days, when I do ride I still wear the same leather military leggings I wear the rest of the year. The rest of me is so hot I never notice if the legs hot.
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