Stirrup leathers gouging out legs? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-07-2014, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 12:40 AM
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I've only ever had stirrup leathers bother my lower legs while wearing shorts. The leather pinches as you post. Unless you're riding HARD they should not be necessary. IME many people do not wear them.

Reasons to wear them
-protection (never hurts to have more!)
-grip
-LOOK. This is big, it looks like you have tall boots without the $$.

A good rider may wear them out of habit. They probably want the look. Grip never hurts even the best rider and chances are they are riding the sort of horse you need to grip :), protection never hurts either.

Sort of like gloves. Some people wear them all the time, some never. Unless you're doing something like lunging a fresh horse I doubt anyone really NEEDS them. (Not talking about cold weather obv).

Around here inc the lesson barn I work at many people do not wear them. Don't feel like you need them, but as you ride more (hopefully!) you may decide you want some.

I had to laugh at the awesomeness of being covered in filth. A horse person for sure!
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 01:07 AM
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you are already riding courses, at such a beginning level of riding?

if you had/have fat calves , like I do, you'd get enough pinching by the leathers to always were half chaps.
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 01:38 AM
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I have short but wide calves. Not fat, very muscular but very big. Just natural for me (not very womanlike though :/)

I don't recall in recent memory having them pinch *with long pants haha*

There may be differences in riding styles too.

I can think of a saddle off the top of my head that isn't super comfy for me, but is really just stiff and lousy, while for a similar sized friend actually gave her a blood blister and can't ride in it. I NEVER noticed anything to the effect of causing actual pain in any location.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 05:19 AM
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Depends on how you ride. Ive ridden in lessons and didnt feel the need to wear them, ive had a few lessons without them and been fine, i just like the feel of them. I have ridden on a trail where i had to gallop, and canter a lot, i went into 2 point and my joddies just rubbed and pinched like crazy. So for regular riding, you're fine without them, for harder riding, I reckon they are a good idea. Most of the time I wear them just because they help strengthen my leg a little, keep me warm and I like the feel.

If I am not riding I'm thinking about horses, and if I am not thinking about horses I'm riding
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 05:24 AM
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I wear half chaps because the stirrup leathers on the horse I ride at the riding school DO pinch my legs. This doesn't happen with every other horse or saddle I've ridden/used, so I'm guessing its a combination of the horse's shape, saddle style and how much leg you need to use to keep the horse moving. One of my daughters wears them too and she finds the same as I do, that some horse/saddle combinations pinch and others dont.
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 06:27 AM
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Half chaps are a modern thing.
We learned to ride wearing jodhpurs and short boots with no problems.

I have found that in some saddles I will get pinching but generally do not get bothered by pitching.

I do wear half chaps more in the winter than the summer.

If you are not bothered by pinching there is no need to wear them.
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
If you are not bothered by pinching there is no need to wear them.
That is what I'm going to stick to, Foxhunter.
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That moment you hit the ground, frozen over with the thought; Is the horse okay?
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post

Reasons to wear them
-protection (never hurts to have more!)
-grip
-LOOK. This is big, it looks like you have tall boots without the $$.

A good rider may wear them out of habit. They probably want the look. Grip never hurts even the best rider and chances are they are riding the sort of horse you need to grip :), protection never hurts either.

Sort of like gloves. Some people wear them all the time, some never. Unless you're doing something like lunging a fresh horse I doubt anyone really NEEDS them. (Not talking about cold weather obv).


That makes sense. I love how you gave me a few different examples to work with, though! Big help in clearing it up!



Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
you are already riding courses, at such a beginning level of riding?

if you had/have fat calves , like I do, you'd get enough pinching by the leathers to always were half chaps.
At the farm, there are a few ground poles that I can move around and play with. Sometimes I add little things like 'Trot at corner to fifth pole', or 'halt at center'. I have been obsessed with horses for a while now, but have only recently gotten to work with up close and personal around and on horses. =)

Ahh. Well... I suppose having big calves does make that a minor road bump. Oh well. We've got the half chaps in hand to fix it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by horseNpony View Post
So for regular riding, you're fine without them, for harder riding, I reckon they are a good idea. Most of the time I wear them just because they help strengthen my leg a little, keep me warm and I like the feel.
Thank you for the input and advise on that. Having someone tell me a personal experience with it helps me to piece it together better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiemum View Post
I wear half chaps because the stirrup leathers on the horse I ride at the riding school DO pinch my legs. This doesn't happen with every other horse or saddle I've ridden/used, so I'm guessing its a combination of the horse's shape, saddle style and how much leg you need to use to keep the horse moving. One of my daughters wears them too and she finds the same as I do, that some horse/saddle combinations pinch and others dont.
Really? I've never thought about all the different possible scenarios before, only for the wild-legged or good riders in need of grip. Thank you for your answer!

That moment you hit the ground, frozen over with the thought; Is the horse okay?
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-08-2014, 11:04 AM
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I ride green, bouncy horses that try things, and I end up with awful pinching. On the quieter ones it seems fine without, but I like the look and feel of half chaps, plus I often ride through brush, so they protect my lower legs.
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