This article will tell you everything you need to know the differences between horse riding half chaps and tall boots and when to wear which.

This one really depends on what you prefer to wear and where you’re riding. We’ll run through the differences between them and you can make up your own mind.
Half chaps

These are pieces of leather or suede that go over a short pair of jodhpur or paddock boots and wrap around the lower half of your leg to protect you from getting rubbed by the stirrup leathers when you ride. They can sometimes offer a little extra grip too, which is useful if you’re riding young or fresh horses.

They tend to be used for everyday schooling or more informal events like fun rides or low level competitions.

Horse riding half chaps are a cheaper alternative to tall boots and so often work out more practical for use on a day to day basis.

You’ll find they usually come in traditional black and brown. Black is slightly more formal if you’re planning to wear them in lower level competition, but the standard thing is to match them to your boots.

Chaps made from suede or synthetic materials are the most informal. Those in leather can be matched quite well to your boots and certain styles are available that are cut high on your leg to give a more leg lengthening and elegant finish. Dressage riders tend to like these. These combinations are acceptable to wear in more formal competition and can be easier to fit than a tall boot. The elastic that is often built into half chaps can make them very comfortable and easier to wear than a tall boot alternative too.

How to fit

To put your half chaps on, simply slip your foot into the elastic stirrup at the bottom of the chap. This settles in front of the heel on your boot. You should always ride in a boot with a heel so that your foot can’t slip through the stirrup iron, putting you at risk of being dragged if you fall off. The different types of chaps have either a zip or velcro to fasten them on the outside or back of your calf.
Tall boots

Tall boots are generally worn for competitions, or more formal riding occasions such as clinics or lessons. Some people, often professional riders, prefer the feel of a tall boot to ride in every day. They serve the same purpose as half chaps in protecting your legs from chafing from the stirrup leathers. They also have a more polished look which makes them common attire for competition.

They are available to suit different budgets, in everything from synthetic material to luxury leather. They can be pull on or have a zipper up the back which helps to give a snugger fit for those with slim calves. If you have the pull on version, you’ll definitely need a boot jack to pull them off. Your other half may get very fed up of pulling muddy boots off otherwise. You’ll also need the help of boot pulls – which contrary to the name help you get them on rather than off. You hook a boot pull into a loop handle each side of the boot opening to give you the leverage to pull it on. So you can see why people tend to only wear tall boots on special occasions like shows.

Types of tall boot

Tall boots come in two main styles; dress boots and field boots.

Dress boots

Dress boots have a square toe and a high cut top and tend to be used by dressage riders who want the most elegant boot possible.

Field boots

Field boots have laces at the front of the ankle. These are commonly worn by hunters, eventers and showjumpers. Either field or dress boots are fine for the lower levels of competition in any discipline.

When you buy tall boots, it can be a good idea to also buy some heel risers to go in the back of them. This is because the boots tend to start out stiff and you should buy them so that they aren’t too comfortable at the beginning as they will crumple little where they wrinkle at the ankle and shrink in length. A little heel rise at the back can make them more comfortable while you break them in, especially if you have a shorter stirrup length as you would for jumping.

So that’s the difference between half chaps (and boots) and tall boots. It’s possible you’ll need both and then you can wear the appropriate footwear on the appropriate occasion! Now all you need to decide on is what look you’re after and what colour to go for. Happy shopping.