Chaps??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Decatur, TX
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Ok, so I need advice. Been riding horses for about a year, I only trail ride in field and pastures near my barn. I am wanting a pair of chaps to wear while riding, I have heard they give a little better grip and protect from the very occasional brush we run into, and also I just plain old like the look of chaps.

My long-winded question is, does anyone actually wear chaps or chinks on the trail? My wife says no and that I will just get laughed at by real horse people who have been around horses their whole life, and that chaps are just a rodeo and working cowboy thing. Any opinions? And picks of what ya'll use if you do?
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 04:11 AM
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I think chinks might get you a few looks (though I love chinks). But chaps are ridden in all the time by daily riders. a lot of english folks wear them to school jumps or hack out. Just get some rather plain ones .
Ultimately, who cares what other people think?

I ride in a western saddle, with english breeches , paddock boots and half chaps, a sparkly dressage bridle and gloves. And helmet. Who cares!
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 08:12 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
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while i see more people half chaps and tights than full chaps, there are def people who prefer full chaps when they ride. i myself wear them during the winter or rain, as i have a pair of waterproof/windproof full chaps. i also have a pair of heavy suede ones that are bright purple with fringe, which i use when i know i'm going to be dealing with lots of stickerbushes (trail clearing, etc). they look pretty ridiculous, but the price was right (free) and they keep me from getting torn up.

i agree with tiny--wear what makes you comfortable! who cares what anybody else thinks, as long as you are comfy and safe.

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 09:42 AM
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Shotgun chaps all the way ;) I always wear mine when I go out trail riding because I know my horse loves bush waking and chaps help protect my legs from the branches and stuff. I'll be using them almost everyday once I move to my new barn at the end of this month, cause it's got loads of trails around. Chaps were made to protect your legs from anything to a cow or a bush. My friend who does tram penning and sorting wears his for the cows. I've seen people just wear them cause they like the look and I wear mine for the bushes lol. I would argue about the idea that they give you a better grip in the saddle though... but I have a really good seat and I know my horse and love my saddle so I never slip anyways, but they definitely protect you. The main issue with chaps is price. They can be very very expensive, (about 300-500 for a good pair of custom chaps) I don't know what regular retail price is for already made chaps cause that's not how I bought mine since I wanted certain changes to the regular style, like having the zippers in reverse, a buckle in the back and the front, a small pocket for my phone, etc.

But yeah you can't go wrong with chaps if you have a use for them (they are a bit expensive if you just wanted the look). I also never go on the trails in the winter months (nov-april) without my oilskin duster. I don't wear my chaps usually when I have my oilskin on cause it protects most of my leg but also my torso and face from rain and wind and it helps keep the saddle/saddle blanket dry in rain which is great cause they it doesn't rub the horse raw.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 10:47 AM
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We rode in "The Big Thicket" 2 weeks ago. LOL I know the reason chaps, long sleeves and bandanas were worn! I was getting scratched, poked and slapped with branches, brambles and everything else. Wear what you like and makes you comfortable!!
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 11:29 AM
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Location: Seattle, WA
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I wear chaps all the time and I'm certainly not a cowboy, nor do I play one on TV.

That being said yes, chaps will help you "grab" the saddle a bit better, which is why I wear them as well as being wonderful in deflecting brush (and for you you perhaps cacti?).

Some thoughts to consider

Full length (shotgun or bat wing) chaps will certainly protect your entire leg from brush ect. but can be very warm, after all you're encasing your leg in leather. They are also heavy and hot - if you want the look you've got to pay the price.

Short chaps (chinks) will still give you the extra grip but lack the lower leg protection from brush / rain. They are however much lighter and cooler.

Leather or other materials - leather is certainly traditional but it is heavy and contrary to popular opinion is not waterproof. Great for light rain but it will soak though in time. Oilskin is waterproof and also quite durable but doesn't have that "look" if you will. Good quality leather chaps are also spendy.

I wear chaps of some type throughout the year. Oilskin is generally my first pick (but I live in a rain forest, Seattle gets wet!) and switch over to leather chinks for the whole 6 weeks of summer that we have.

If you visit the Texas page of you'll see on the right hand column an ad for oilskin chaps that have a traditional look to them.

The "TrailMeister's" $.02

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post #7 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 12:53 PM
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I think you should wear what ever you want...and what ever the conditions call for. But if my hubby wanted to wear chaps here where we live (Georgia) on our trailrides... yes.. he would get laughed at!

We do ride through thick stuff sometimes but no one uses batwing chaps or chinks.. some use half chaps for that. My daughter uses the half chaps and they work well and look nice.

Ultimately you have to do what you want.. and what your wife will allow!!hehehe!!!

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post #8 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 03:36 PM
Green Broke
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I wear full chaps all the time especially when riding tough trails. They also protect your legs if it starts to rain as well as from sticks & stuff. Nobody around here ever gets laughed at if they wear them.

"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 04:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Out West
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Our ladies' riding group, the Cast Iron Butt Club, rides with chinks. We love them. My sister-in-law and I wear them every time we ride. Her's are a sage-y teal color and mine are burgundy. One friend has an orange pair. No kidding. The other lady has regular brown ones. As far as I know, we have never been laughed at. At least not to our face. Maybe on down the trail people were cracking up. Don't care. I like them for warmth and rain protection in the winter and sun protection in the summer. Oh, yeah, and brush protection when you have to go off-trail. Besides, I think we look cool and image is everything, don't you know!!

The trail is the thing....Louis L'Amour
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-11-2011, 10:10 PM
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I know lots of folks that ride in chinks year around, some of them are working cowboys and some aren't. If you are riding through a lot of brushy areas (or like us, have a ton of plum thickets with big thorns), then I would suggest a pair of shotgun chaps. They protect your whole leg. You can probably get by with chinks if you have a pair of really tall boots though. Best thing about a good pair of shotguns is that they are the warmest thing imaginable in the winter. Mine keep me warm in negative temps and high winds.

As for the "appearance" part of it. Who cares if you aren't a cowboy. So long as you are using equipment that you actually have a use for, then there is no negative connotation to the image. However, if you put the chaps on to go to the store or something, then there's something wrong.
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