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Half Chaps or Field Boots for Daily Use?

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  • Half Chaps or Field Boots for Daily Use?

    Just curious! I'm in need of new paddock boots (I've grown to dislike riding in my Blunnies and would like something a little more narrow for actual rides) and half chaps, but I'm debating using my hardly broken in field boots instead. Kind of like the fine china - why not actually use it? The only thing I can think of is warmth in the winter time, but in that case I always have my Blunnies and half chaps to resort to.

    So - how many of you save your field boots for shows only, and how many wear them year round (weather depending)? Any of you have "home" field boots and "show" field boots?

  • #2
    Since it's cheaper for me to replace one part at a time (paddock boots OR half chaps) I prefer to put the daily wear and tear on those items rather than a field boot.

    In addition, finding a pair of well fitting comfortable field boots can be a struggle, so once I find a pair, I want to baby them and get them to last as long as possible.

    And in addition to THAT, I like being able to take my half chaps off and just wear my paddock boots around -- either after riding when it's hot (doing that attractive paddock boot, pushed down boot socks, and flipped up breeches bottom thing), or under jeans at things like spectating at horse shows or grooming, when I want to wear something like paddock boots for practicality's sake.


    • #3
      I wear tall boots all the time. To me, it's too much of a pain in the neck to pull the half chaps on and off, and I honestly find the single layer of tall boots much more comfortable. I take good care of my boots, being careful with the zippers and hosing, then wiping them down every day when I get home, so they last.


      • #4
        I usually school in paddocks and half chaps, although I do find my field boots a bit more comfortable. Prior to a show I will ride in tall boots at home just so it doesn't feel strange at all - I do find there is a difference in the "feel."
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


        • Original Poster

          Hinderella - Have you ever had to replace a pair? And if so, how long did your field boots last with regular rides?

          I don't have anything "fancy", but my boots are on the higher end of non-custom, IMO. Ariat Crowne Pros (no zippers), one of the older models (bought them new around '05). They've only been worn a handful of times as I've had a bit of a hiatus and didn't have a horse to show regularly before buying my mare. I'd like to entertain riding in them more regularly, but I'd also like to get some solid use out of them.


          • #6
            i outgrew my halfchaps and i hated my paddock boots and was still hating them when i finally started riding again so i bought a fairly inexpensive pair of field boots that fit, yay, when i went through a couple pairs of half chaps that didn't fit. i'm careful with them and figure once they're destroyed i'll get a custom pair. i like riding in them full time.
            Gracious "Gracie," 2002 TB mare
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            • #7
              Half-chaps. I hate field boots. I've always hated field boots. I hated them when I showed actively. I hate them now as an adult re-rider. Maybe if I wore them more often I'd break them in better and not hate them so much.

              I think in part it's because I'm slightly claustrophobic and when I get stuck in a boot because I failed to loosen the laces enough I panic. It's not funny and yet it's terribly funny to watch me hopping around the room freaking out calling ANYONE within shouting range to get this g-d boot off of my foot. The relief I feel after the offending boot has been removed is like taking two xanax and downing a fifth of whiskey. Really.

              I've tried zippers and just found the zippers to be far too flimsy to hold up to my kind of use.

              So, paddocks and half-chaps it is for this chick.


              • #8
                I don't own field boots at the moment, but I ride in half chaps and paddock boots & back in the day (I am a re-rider) I always rode in full chaps and paddock boots---saved my field boots for showing (miss those full chaps---kept me warm ). I guess it probably just depends how much you ride & whether you prefer to burn through a pair of field boots or chaps/paddocks first.


                • #9
                  I never ride in my boots, I save them for shows.
                  I wear half chaps and paddocks boots for everyday riding.
                  For winter, I wear full chaps and winter paddock boots.


                  • #10
                    I ride in field boots only, since I can't stand riding inhale chaps and paddock boots. Once my boots are broken in, they feel much better than half chaps. I have two pairs of field boots, one for shows and one for schooling, but my schooling pair still look perfectly fine to show in. People I ride with always complain about having to get used to their field boots for shows, but I don't have that problem. If you buy a durable pair, I don't see why you can't show and school in the same field boots. It's one thing if you have a pair of field boots with 'sensitive' leather, (I never school in my ariat crowne pro's since they wouldn't last), though.


                    • #11
                      Due to my ridiculously scrawny calves (really, it's disgusting- like a chicken's legs!) My choice is my custom boots or $250 half chaps (The only brand that comes in my size). So I choose to ride in my half chaps day to day, as they are 'cheaper' to replace if they get scratched up. However, if I could get a pair of field boots that fit under $400, I would choose to ride in those. Switching between field boots and half chaps for shows messes me up, so it'd be nice to ride in the same thing I show in.


                      • #12
                        I have dress boots, but I wear them for pretty much everything. Hunting, trails, endurance rides, schooling, driving home from any of these, etc. I abuse the heck out of mine. They still look fine if I clean them up. When I finally break these, I won't be too upset. They're only $160 to replace. I'll probably hoard a couple pairs because once I find boots I like, I want to keep the same exact ones forever.


                        • Original Poster

                          indygirl - Can you elaborate on your Crownes being too "sensitive" to ride in regularly?


                          • #14
                            For years i wore half-chaps and paddocks all the time (except the week before and during shows). I had ariat paddocks and all-around half chaps that were strong and durable as ANYthing, and they lasted for much longer than I expected.
                            Unfortunately after many years the elastic under the heel in my half-chaps crapped out, around the same time that the leather wore through/cracked at the ball of my foot on my paddocks that matched (cordovan brown, loved it). I bought new paddocks on sale but they were black, and waited a while for black half chaps to go on sale that had a good review... but in the meantime TOTD had a pair of ovation field boots on sale, so I bought those.
                            Breaking in the talls was a pain, such a pain, for about 3-4 weeks (3x/week riding). I was concerned I wouldn't even FIT in them when i first got them- they were talls, and too tall to bend my leg, and i couldn't zip them the whole way if wearing breeches and socks....

                            Now that they're broken in I'm kicking myself for not buying more than one pair... i luuuurve these boots and wear them every single ride! The fit is as close to custom as I can probably afford!

                            That being said, I am worried that they'll wear out too quickly and i won't be as lucky in the future. So i bought a cheap pair of suede half chaps at dover the other week... and then TOTD, natch, had Ariat (I believe) half chaps on sale last week... so i got those, too. I'm waiting to see if the TOTD ones will fit before i return the dover ones. Depending on the fit, I will probably wear the half chaps and paddocks through the winter, what with the wetter and colder weather, to extend the life of my beloved field boots


                            • #15
                              Paddock boots and half chaps for daily use. Occasional ride in tall boots just because.

                              I actually don't have a strong preference for one over the other in terms of feel, but I don't want all the wear and tear on the tall boots. For whatever reason, I have always been unusually hard on paddock boots and half chaps. Despite taking very good care of my other things, I just trash these items. Walk around in the wash stall wearing them, walk through mud and just wipe them off...you get the idea. Every pair of paddock boots I have ever owned eventually cracks and develops holes between the leather and the sole of the boot from the wet/dry cycle I put the poor boots through constantly.

                              I've thought about buying a cheapish pair of tall boots for schooling just for the convenience of only having to deal with one piece (as opposed to separate boot and half chap dealio), but I'm afraid I would dislike the quality and comfort of a cheaper tall boot and also suspect I'd have issues finding an inexpensive tall boot that is tall enough (my Der Dau tall boots are 20" tall; 18" height in the Tredstep half chaps). Plus, I do still occasionally feel like being retro and get the urge to bust out the ol' full chaps...so I need the paddock boots for that.

                              As you can see, I've given this a lot of consideration! Good luck with your decision. For what it's worth, I'm not entirely convinced that tall boots always cost more than paddock boots and half chaps. I buy Grand Prix paddock boots and Tredstep Deluxe leather half chaps (both of which I think are good quality/hold up well), and that combination costs about $300. You could probably get a reasonably nice tall boot for that price if you don't have hard-to-fit legs.


                              • #16
                                I always ride in field boots since back in the days when full chaps were the norm. I never got into the half chaps thing. I have a newish pair that after breaking in I wear only at shows, and I wear my old pair for every day.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by over the moon View Post
                                  indygirl - Can you elaborate on your Crownes being too "sensitive" to ride in regularly?
                                  The leather on the crownes is far less durable than that of my challenges, which I use for daily schooling. After only two rides in my brand new crownes, the insides were already pretty worn! After I broke them in, I only use them for shows. I used my last pair of challenges for daily schooling for over 4yrs, and the only reason I retired them is because the zipper broke. My crownes polish up beautifully for shows and make my legs look really slim, but they definitely aren't meant for everyday riding. If you need a boot that can do double duty, (everyday riding and showing), go for the challenges!


                                  • #18
                                    I have worn through so many pairs of half chaps and paddock boots - they are pricey.... I have my show boots which I did ride in for lessons but I recently purchased a pair of TreadStep Donatellos for schooling because they were the same price as a pair of paddock boots and half chaps.

                                    MUCH better to ride in as well and will hold up for YEARS unlike half chaps...

                                    You can find zip up field boots for working only for about 250.00 that are pretty nice.

                                    Never again will I buy or wear half chaps....
                                    Live in the sunshine.
                                    Swim in the sea.
                                    Drink the wild air.


                                    • #19
                                      I used to be dead-set against field boots. I truly believed that they had been invented to plague all riders and was a firm believer in half chaps being the key to happiness.

                                      Unfortunately, my favorite, go-to brand/model of half chaps was discontinued right around the time that my field boots needed to be replaced. It was right at the start of show season, so I decided that I'd just buy the field boots, wear them for a few months and buy a pair of half chaps in the fall to allow my horsey clothing budget some time to recover. However, after riding in my half chaps for about two weeks, I switched back to the field boots and have never looked back.

                                      My field boot budget is typically around $400 and I expect them to last 3-4 years of pretty consistent riding on a regular basis. However, I generally put them on just before putting my horse's tack on and take them off as soon as his tack comes off to keep their wear and tear to a minimum. In my experience/opinion, it is not the riding that does in paddocks boots and half chaps; its the water from bathing, the muck from stall cleaning, etc.

                                      My home field boots are also my show boots- just a good polish the night before tends to take care of things, as well as using a boot bag and being nice to them on a regular basis.

                                      I occasionally ride in half chaps when it is cold, but I now find them bulky and awkward. I'm pretty tough when it comes to cold though; I have some friends that ride in field boots from April-November but pull out the wool socks, long johns and half chaps for the winter months.


                                      • #20
                                        Kissed my half chaps and field boots goodbye a few years ago. I find field boots more comfortable, more attractive, and just simpler. I change into field boots before riding, and then back into my muck boots afterwards.