I always tell my students – once you have ridden in half chaps you aren’t going to want to ride without them again! A good half chap adds just enough friction between your leg and the saddle to keep your lower leg more still and help you feel a lot more secure in the saddle.
My favorite half chaps are the ones made with soft leather. I don’t personally care for the ones with thicker leather that is shined up and made to resemble tall boots. I just find those types too stiff and uncomfortable. I’m also not a fan of the cheap suede ones, the ones with Velcro just make your leg look bulky, and I just don’t prefer the look of suede. Plus I haven’t found suede to provide quite as much grip as leather either.
So, the half chaps that I ride in now are Ariat’s Breeze half chaps. Even brand new they are soft and comfortable plus offer excellent grip. The back panel of the chap is made out of a stretchy material, which makes zippering easy and gives a snug fit. Now for the best part about the Breeze Half Chaps – they are washable! When they get really nasty with dried horse hair and sweat you can just unzip and throw them in the washer. I like to throw a little leather conditioner on mine once they come back out though!
Ariat Breeze half chaps come in a variety of calf sizes and heights so you can find a good fit. They are available in either black or chocolate. I have found these half chaps to be a good match with most paddock boots – I pair them with my Ariat Terrain boots.
P.S These chaps last too, I’ve had mine for 2 years and they are still going strong!