Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Donning Half Chaps- Not as simple as you'd think!

So I decided that today was the day! I was going to don my new half chaps and take my lesson looking like a (semi) normal English rider.... I don't know why I found the idea of doing so embarrassing but I did...

But, as I drove to the barn, I suddenly realized that not only did I feel totally and inexplicably like an impostor and idiot for wearing those dark brown suede zippy thing-a-ma-poppers wrapped around my calves but I actually had no clue how to put the freakin' things on! And so I picked up the package in hopes that there would be a helpful picture on the front.... as you'd think there would be! But oh no! Oh no!...Little Miss I-know-how-to-put-my-half-chaps-on jumping her horse over the logo wasnt even wearing the product! Loser!

I pulled over in a school parking lot and decided to try them on.... I mean, how hard could it be right? Right. Ha!

I pulled them out... there was some vents on one side, meshing on the other, a zipper, a little heel strap (that totally reminded me of those pants we used to wear in the early 90's and that I saw in Macy's last month!) and a puffy bit at the bottom. Hmmm.... So I tried it one way and it looked kinda right but then I realized that the zipper was on the inside of my leg and I figured that wasnt a goo thing....

Again, I picked up the package to see if there were instructions... but I guess the folks who make half chaps figured that strapping the bloody things to your legs would be pretty much self explanatory. *sigh* And so I tried them on the other way in an attempt to make the zipper go to the outside but no such luck.... The little strap thingy on the bottom was all out of place and the fabric was all bunched and awkward looking... and to top it off they were really pretty tight and so I thought, "Dang, I guess I got the wrong size."

It was about that point I noticed that I was running late and there was no time for further contimpation of the great mystery, the inconquerable puzzle that are half chaps! As I sped my way towards the barn, my cheeks burning, I muttered to myself "coward, pansy, cowgirl up!"

As I hopped out of the car I looked down at my legs and thought "that just aint look right" but wearing half chaps in the first place was a pretty foreign and embarrassing idea.... and so.... I walked into the barn.

Within a minute Shannon, my instructor walked by. I knew that at any moment she'd notice my new attire and so I figured I'd bite the bullet and mention it first...and so I say, "Ahh... so... I went and bought a pair of half chaps... I'm not sure but I dont think they fit me right, I think their too small.... or something..." *blushes scarlet*

Shannon, bless her heart, doesnt laugh. She just walks by all casual like and says, "Well, could be 'cause you have them on backwards."

"Oh!" I say.... when really I'm thinking, just shoot me now....instead I manage to sputter out, "Well, I figured that the zipper needed to go on the outside..."

Shannon: "Well, yes..."

And then it clicks.

I dont just have them on backwards (with the front facing the back and back to front) but I also have the right leg on the left and the left leg on the right.


I cant remember exactly what I said after that. And I cant say, in polite company, what I was thinking to myself but I'm pretty sure the words, "this is SO going on my blog" were uttered.

*hangs head in shame*

But I do have to admit that by the end of my lesson I could have kissed those bloody half chaps!! Man! What a difference they made in my ability to keep my leg still!

And yes, in the end, I did figure out how to put them on properly (thank you very much!).


  1. Chelsi, we all need a little humility now and then. Great story.

  2. Ah humility, my old friend...

    Sounds like your conversion is going well - first the lessons, now half chaps. Do you have breeches yet??? Those are fun to shop for. And paddock boots? :-)

  3. Aww half chaps! I always wanted a pair when I was a kid riding english, my counsellors at the riding camp I attended had them and I thought they were so cool…

    Of course, I was a kid, so I had to stick to my high boots and breeches.

  4. I don't get on the horse without my half chaps! Love LOVE them! My favorites are the Ariat Classics. They are more of a thicker leather, that does not sloutch down after a lot of miles. Next favorite are the Ariat Terrains. Many of the endurance riders like these. I'll keep my half chaps on after a ride if I have to stop in town. You see, we ride in "tights", and I figure that keeping the half chaps on will distract folks from the fact I have lycra like fabric on. :-)

  5. DUDE! I know EXACTLY how you felt!!! :) Last year at the show I went to that I rode english in, I decided to debut my half chaps, since I couldn't find my old tall english boots that I know I have some where. It took me a LOT of figurin' to get those little bastards on right! lol And probably 90% of the reason I ever got them on correctly is because I saw someone else walking around with them on and went ah-ha! That's how they are supposed to look!

    So glad I'm not the only one that has issued with them!!!

  6. COURAGEOUS woman, courage to risk yourself and courage to ask for help.... you go girl!

  7. Hahahahaha, you crack me up! I know exactly how you feel about wearing another discipline's clothing. I ride English occasionally, but never wear the correct clothing! In fact I don't own any of it. I just post around the arena in my Wranglers and Justin slip on boots and my western spurs! Humility, my friend, is a virtue, one that you have!

  8. I put my half chaps on backwards all the time, no shame in it! (at least for the shameless lol)

  9. I absolutely LOVE my half chaps. I'm a trail rider & they keep me warm in cooler months, keep my jeans dry in warmer months & look cool, too! I have fat thighs and had a heckuva time finding them to fit. FWIW, I see people with them on backwards/wrong legged all the time! Great post! Made me smile!

  10. I've had plenty of experiences like that - good for developing humility! Glad that you're trying new things.

  11. Oh! I was SO in the same place! Even now I have to stop and think about them. I feel your pain - horrifying not being able to put the bloody clothes on!

  12. Awesome! I think it's great that you're humble enough to admit that you don't know everything about horse riding tack and attire. So many folks act like they never make mistakes...and it makes the rest of us feel so embrarrased and inadequate. Whew! It's such a relief to know that we're not alone in not getting things perfect all the time.

    Glad to hear you had a great ride, half-chaps and all!


  13. The first time I put mine on a 13 year old girl had to help me, so don't feel embarrassed! Man do those things work, my last lesson I was in a hurry and forgot to put them on, I seriously considered posting a picture of my bruises on my blog but figured that was too gross!

  14. So exciting. You have a great blog and I'm glad I found it.

    Yoli :)

  15. *big old grin* Thanks, I really need something to smile about today...

  16. This post cracked me up! This is SO something I would do! I was thinking do saddleseat riders wear half-chaps? Because I am thinking maybe they would hold my leg in place, too! Or I could just wear a pair of suede pants! I'm seriously considering it, LOL! :)
    I am glad you were willing to ask for help and got them figured out. There are no stupid questions and we're all learners, right? And besides, one day a little girl will ask you and you can help her out with her half-chaps! ;)

  17. Oh boy, been there done that! I have put every single piece of clothing and tack on incorrectly and/or backwards, including the saddle. Half-chaps are difficult to do up even when you do have them on correctly, its the idea of zipping DOWN that feels so awkward. Can't ride without them though!

  18. AHahahahahaha...Oh, my! Thank you, I really needed a good giggle. I have a pair of them too; glad to know I'm not the only one that tried those little boogers on six ways from Sunday before I finally figured 'em out. Haven't worn them in a couple years as I haven't been using a saddle, but I remember thinking they were the greatest thing since sliced bread the first time I rode with them :o) Fun post!

  19. Oh, I so wished we lived closer!! We would be such good friends!! LOL!! This is awesome!! I have a pair of half chaps that I got a long time ago. They were super cheap and I was so excited!! When I got them I totally knew why they were super cheap. They were poop brown and funky looking. My friends always made fun of my super ugly half chaps. So, I went out and had them monogrammed!! I was sporting a really great daisy flower with some super cool neon green initials!!! They went from being ugly to envy!!

    LOL, your story made me chuckle, and don't worry, i put mine on backwards all the time, and I used to ride with them everyday!! :)

  20. Don't worry! Whether it's with Horse Riding Chaps or saddles we've all been there and done it, especially when we've been starting out!