Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Northern United States
• Horses: 0
Stirrup leathers gouging out legs?
I have been a step up from being obsessed with horses since kindergarten (I am in the 13-17 age range now) and have only recently been able to have actual experience with horses on an Arabian horse farm. It was absolutely (For lack of a better word) awesome having my entire attire smeared with mud, manure, horse slobber, and the most mysteriously mystifying of grime and grit from a day-to-day basis. Living in the city for five years really can be depriving.
Nearly the second I took step next to a horse on that farm, I came to understand how much I just really don't know about horses. Getting to experience first hand on how the herd hierarchy works, how you need to step up to fit the role of leader, and how critically you need to compose yourself on a horse was a big learning experience for me (Well, everything was a learning experience, but that was what most stuck out to me).
Now, really moving onto the point... I had taken a few group lessons with a certified English riding instructor at a nice barn before school started, and was led to have a question imprinted in my head (via the title of this thread) . The instructor, knowing I had only ridden a handful of times, made it very clear that I was to purchase a pair of half chaps since I only had ankle riding boots. She told me about how the stirrup leathers could really pinch and make you bleed. At another riding stable, the instructor offered me a pair of half chaps (I was wearing the same boots) when I was grooming. I shook my head. The instructor did that 'Okaaay... Whatever you say...' kind of expression and retracted the hand with the half chaps.
As I ride, I don't notice the stirrup leathers. All I can focus on is the horse, my riding, and executing the course set up correctly (If there is a course of some sorts set up). When I post (On a rising beat), my heels plunge down, my arms straighten to keep my hands in place, and I can feel my thigh muscles tightening (I haven't ridden in two months, so I can't completely remember everything I felt). I would say I've went riding about 25ish times in my life. A few scattered in my earlier childhood, and at the most, 20-something times last (2014) summer (six of which were with an instructor).
I really don't understand why not wearing half chaps is such a no-no. I know they help with grip and/or if you have weaker lower legs, but I've seen 'good' riders wear them as well (While working on jumping). Could anyone clear this up? It's just been a question nagging at the back of my mind when I see someone wearing half chaps.