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What western chaps should I buy?

This is a discussion on What western chaps should I buy? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Where should the straps be on western chaps
  • Elk skin western riding chinks

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    03-05-2012, 01:12 PM
  #11
Foal
I highly recommend this guy --> Hickman Saddlery - Home

That is where I got mine from and I love them. They are well built and will last the wear and tear you put on them.
     
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    03-05-2012, 02:17 PM
  #12
Yearling
I'll second allisons comments. Chinks are more comfortable for most riding. If you are out in cold weather, The shotgun chaps will keep you warmer and give more protection. But they do restrict your leg movements. And in the summer are too warm.

Chinks come down to your knees or just below and offer much more freedom of movement. ( Think swinging your leg over the saddle) They will help keep your thighs dry in rainy weather or when the brush is dripping water from a recent storm.

Batwing chaps are really only useful in the arena working cattle. Too heavy and bulky to wear for a trail ride. They look great floppying around while you cut cows or team pen. But I can't reccomend them for the trail rider.

Pretty much any body who works with leather can make chinks. Check with local saddle makers or aspiring saddle makers. They often start with chinks because they are faster to turn out and not as involved. Lots of chinks will be available at any Horse Fair which are common in the spring as rider get cabin fever. I've also bought some off ebay that have been great.

They come in many colors and many leather types. Look for some of the tougher leathers. Buffalo, Steerhide. Softer leathers that you see in gloves and garment leather are often to thin to offer the needed protection. Ie Elk and deer.

Chinks will come in assorted lengths. And have a variety of tassels or fringe. The fancier, the more money. But a good pair will last a LONG time. You can see a cheaper pair on the man to the left. Short very straight fringe just cut into the base leather. The center rider has much more expensive pair, with longer fringe, custom sewing and pockets built in. The rider with his back to the photo is in Shotguns. See how the back of his leg is covered in the leather of his chaps, Where as Chinks are usually open on the back side to reduce heat and weight.

     
    03-05-2012, 02:20 PM
  #13
Trained
Painted Horse, that shot looks like the Black Hills. Where was it taken?
     
    03-05-2012, 02:26 PM
  #14
Yearling
We even have a gal who occassional rides with us in Indian leggin's. These are basically leather pants. But she rides bareback also and needs the extra grip to stay on and keeps horse hair & sweat from working it's way into areas it shouldn't be.



The fellow on the right eating stew from a can is wearing some well worn Shotgun chaps, but most of the rest of the group is in Chinks



Hope that gives you some ideas.
     
    03-05-2012, 02:28 PM
  #15
Trained
If the chinks are open in the back, do they cover your inner thighs? If not, how do they help you stay in the saddle?

I never thought of chaps. I thought they were for show, to keep real cowboys from getting their legs cut on cactus thorns, and to make you guys look cool.
Ink likes this.
     
    03-05-2012, 02:39 PM
  #16
Yearling
Chinks cover the inner thigh but are usually open on the back part of the thigh.
Chinks usually have three leather straps that you pull around and buckle.

Shotguns are like putting on a pair of pants.. Two tubes you push your foot down through. And they usually go all the way to your ankle vs chinks to your knees or just below.

     
    03-05-2012, 02:40 PM
  #17
Ink
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste    
I never thought of chaps. I thought they were for show, to keep real cowboys from getting their legs cut on cactus thorns, and to make you guys look cool.
That's what I use them for
If I'm not showing I just go without. Honestly haven't noticed feeling stickier with them on, but I guess going a few laps around the show pen isn't a great basis for comparison.
     
    03-05-2012, 02:53 PM
  #18
Yearling
If it was just for a better seat, I wouldn't wear them. They are to keep me warm, protect me when the bushes are dripping water from rain or snow and stop thorns and brush from tearing my jeans open


Sometimes our trails are overgrown
     
    03-05-2012, 04:55 PM
  #19
Trained
I have torn up plenty of pairs of jeans riding before!
     
    03-05-2012, 09:14 PM
  #20
Yearling
I have both chinks and full chaps, and agree with the previous poster who said that the chaps are great for cold, but otherwise a little constricting. The chinks are far more comfortable.
Neither are designed to help you stay in the saddle, but to protect your legs from weather and injury ie cactus or sharp branches.
If I were just trail riding and looking for that 'grip' to stay in the saddle, I would instead look for a saddle that had a suede seat and fenders. My first saddle was like this. Not necessarily high quality, but it did the job for trails, was relatively light, and boy, did you stick to it!
I wonder if the synthetic saddles do the same? I have never ridden in one.
     

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