Let’s Discuss: Half Chaps or Tall Boots?

When it comes to leather goods, there are plenty of options when it comes to leg protection. Half chaps and paddock boots, full chaps, cowboy boots, tall boots, and recently, Dubarrys.

When I was a kid I had a pair of full chaps that quite frankly, never felt right to wear for more than 5 minutes. In college, I really preferred the convenience of just pulling on my tall boots, zipping them up and heading out the door.

Super awkward photo complete with dirty horse and clunky tall boots

Super awkward photo complete with dirty horse and clunky tall boots

Then when my tall boots finally died, I decided to replace them with more cost-efficient half chaps. With Foster utilizing my right leg more than anything, I would burn through these guys pretty quickly. My [new] tall boots would be reserved for shows and lessons, anything formal.

Sept. 2013

Sept. 2013

I know a lot of folks that ride in their Dubarry type boots, and for me I don’t feel secure enough in them to give it a whirl. But who knows, if someone ever gets me drunk enough convinces me to go on a casual trail ride, perhaps I would sport something like them.

Mum in hunt tack and cowboy boots for the win

Mum in hunt tack and cowboy boots for the win

What type of footwear do you prefer to ride in? What exceptions do you make based on lessons, shows, or other events?

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22 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Half Chaps or Tall Boots?

  1. I used to ride in half chaps, but the dust out here gunks up zippers so fast that it was a massive pain and when I scored a cheaper-than-half-chaps deal of two pairs of tall field boots, I figured to hell with it. I’m abusing those until such a time as they die and hopefully by then, I’ll be a good enough rider to justify custom dress boots.

    Finger crossed. 😉

  2. I do have a pair of fake Dubarrys, but I feel like they’re so bulky I can’t really “feel” what my leg is doing, so I prefer not to ride in those unless I’m going out on a hack. I used to use paddock boots and half chaps, but I was burning through those pretty quickly, so I now use tall boots. I have an everyday tall boot and my show boots, which I only use when we need to look nice. I usually have a pair of cheap sneakers or sperrys to wear around the barn while I’m tacking/untacking to stretch the life of the boots.

  3. Tall boots 4 ever! I have a schooling pair that I am not very nice to, and my show pair that I baby. I just like the support and feel of them much better than half chaps. I will say, my trainer has a pair of totally gorgeous full chaps that are making me seriously want a pair- and they seem so warm in the winter months.

  4. Cowboy boots here…but predominantly western riding…so not a huge surprise. I have “athletic” calves, so the struggle is real with affordable tall boots…

  5. I like riding in my tall boots for the most part. I do have half chaps that are truly old and atrocious looking now but they fit over my giant insulated winter paddock boots, a pair of thick socks and fleece lined breeches, so I keep them and wear them on really cold days.

  6. Tall boots, but I compromise with cheaper slightly clunky mountain horse ones because I’m not overly kind to them. (OK, yes, I muck out in them and all the rest 😉
    The odd time I wear jeans and my ariat cowgirl boots and hack out in my English tack because we’re classy like that.

  7. I much prefer riding in tall boots which I almost always choose for my lessons. However, if I am going to be at the barn for a while walking around a lot I am happier in paddock boots and half chaps. I like being able to choose on a whim so I’ll probably try to keep both around.

  8. I love my half chaps but I think that’s mainly because I love how my paddock boots fit (and how cheap they are). I’ve ridden in my Dubarrys before and have small feet, which is how they fit in the stirrup but they still don’t go high enough up my leg for comfort

  9. I can typically find tall boots on sale in my size (a weird, off size of 6.5 foot, tall slim calf) for around the same price as a pair of good half chaps and paddock boots, so I tend to ride in them exclusively. I’ve annihilated at least one pair of tall boots through daily use and abuse for a couple of years (the zipper teeth actually snapped near the heel), so I’m on the hunt for another pair right now. But I find it comfortable and secure!

  10. depends on what i’m doing before or after. these days i almost exclusively ride in tall boots or river boots, since it’s one step instead of the twofer of paddock boot + half chap. but when i was working at the barn all day before or after riding, the paddock boot + half chaps was definitely easier and didn’t kill my tall boots as quickly. tho… now those paddock boots are dead so… i guess it’s a sacrifice no matter what! for the purposes of actually riding tho? i honestly don’t much care, but maybe right now slightly prefer the tall boot.

  11. Since I split my riding time between my property and a boarding barn, I haban array of footwear. I’m currently riding Ruby mostly on a raggedy old pair of mountain horse tall boots, and Cinna in a pair of paddock boots/half chaps, but that can change daily! Haha

  12. Ready for a treatise on complicated footwear choices? Haha…

    I haaaate half chaps, and they’re such a different feel from boots that I really wanted to make the switch to boots so I wouldn’t feel so different at shows. My choice of footwear is currently dictated by outside temperature and tack choice. If I’m riding bareback and it’s cold, I’m in my Dublin pinnacle boots. If I’m riding in a saddle, I’m in my tall boots. If I’m hacking out and it’s cold, I’m in my Dublins. The Dublin boots aren’t high enough to clear the saddle flaps reliably, so I can often feel stuck in them. They’re also too bulky to get spurs on, so if I need to school in spurs I’ll just wear my tall boots. I wear tall boots all summer, because I only wear them when I’m in the saddle (otherwise they = insta heat sickness). Now, I’m switching over to a pair of real life stiff dressage boots. My method and choice of riding in those daily is yet to be decided. I might realize they make my aids much clearer and I can’t live without them. I might also decide they hurt like hell and reserve them for the week of shows. It’s a mystery! Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

  13. For years and years and years, I did half chaps and paddock boots. When my last pair of chaps died, I decided to replace them with cheap tall boots bc they were only $100 more than my nice half chaps. LOVE the cheap tall boots. I need to buy 10 pairs, because I know they won’t last forever but I just adore riding in them.

  14. I’m in the minority. Half chaps and paddock boots are what I ride in most of the time. The only change to that lately was a pair of Ariat Volant tall boots. Not appropriate for the hunter ring at all, but I do enjoy those boots. They don’t fit like normal tall boots (with the zipper all the way around and both textile and leather), so I like riding in those now as much as my half chaps.

  15. I rode in rubber boots as a kid. And as soon as I got leather boots that what I rode in (for like 15-20 years). Somehow I am lazy and back the the rubber boots or half chaps the majority of the time now.

  16. I ride in tall boots, because I like to school in the same stuff I show in as much as possible. I’m just weird about making changes at horse shows, and I feel more confident if everything “feels normal” to me

  17. I picked up a pair of cheapish tall boots that have held up to some super serious abuse, but are still more supple like half chaps. For what I’d have to spend on paddock boots and half chaps that last, the boots are actually the better deal. Eventually I got a second, nicer pair of tall boots for showing. I don’t know that I’ll ever go back at this point!

  18. Dublin lace boots with the padded calf for riding. They are fine for what I am doing now with my young horse – the “long and slow” trail miles that Denny Emerson talks about. My guy is 4 in March and going through a growth spurt. Once that ends I haven’t decided what I’ll do. Probably go back to paddock boots and half chaps, or maybe get a pair of Dubarry Clare’s which have some more security for riding than the dublins do. We’ll see.

  19. I grew up strictly half chaps and paddocks. Recently I had a revelation a few years back and decided I wanted to ride in tall boots because I prefer the look. I love them and would never go back but I still have them as back up

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