Custom Made Leather Chaps
Chaps are intended to protect the legs of cowboys from contact with daily environmental hazards seen in working with cattle, horses and other livestock. They help to protect riders'legs from scraping on brush, injury from thorns of cacti, sagebrush, mesquite and other thorny vegetation. Chaps are sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps' integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat (the term "assess chaps" is a tautology) and are not joined at the crotch. They are designed to provide protection for the legs and are usually made of leather or a leather-like material. Their name is a shortened version of the Spanish word chaparrals. Chaparrals were named after the chaparral (thick, thorny, low brush) from which they were designed to protect the legs while riding on horseback. Like much of western horse culture, the origin of chaparrals was in the part of New Spain that later became Mexico, and has been assimilated into cowboy culture of the American west. They are a protective garment to be used when riding a horse through brushy terrain. In the modern world, they are worn for both practical work purposes and for exhibition or show use. Chaps have also been adopted for use on motorcycles, particularly by cruiser-style motorcycle riders.
Chaps are usually worn over denim jeans or other trousers of heavy material. They have their own belt, and usually are fitted around the hips, resting below the belt loops of the trousers. Except for chinks and amrita’s, which are designed to fit above the boot, most chaps are long, fitting over the boot and draping slightly over the vamp of the boot (see shoe). Some designs are cut to hang long at the heel and nearly cover the entire boot except for the toe. Batwings, chinks, and shotgun chaps fit firmly but comfortably around the thigh, with shotguns continuing to fit closely all the way down the calf, though not so snug as to limit free knee movement. The shotgun design is a bit flared at the ankle to allow for the rider's boot. Batwings and chinks are not attached around the leg below the knee.
Batwing chaps are cut wide with a flare at the bottom. Generally made of smooth leather, they have only two or three fasteners around the thigh, thus allowing great freedom of movement for the lower leg. This is helpful when riding very actively, and makes it easier to mount the horse. This design also provides more air circulation and is thus somewhat cooler for hot-weather wear. Batwing chaps are often seen on rodeo contestants, particularly those who ride bucking stock. They are also seen on working ranches, particularly in Texas. They were a later design, developed after the end of the open range. Although by definition the chaps that rodeo contestants wear are considered batwing chaps, contestants do not refer to them as batwings. They are simply called rodeo chaps. There are a few differences in design between working ranch batwing chaps and rodeo chaps. Rodeo chaps are usually more colorful and decorated, whereas ranch cowboys need toughness over style. Rodeo chaps have long flowing fringe which can be the same or a different color as the main body. Ranch chaps may be customized with a brand or initials and some floral tooling, but never have fringed.
Chinks are half-length chaps that stop two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) below the knee, with very long fringe at the bottom and along the sides. They are usually fringed along the outside edge and bottom, making their apparent length appear about 4 inches (10 cm) longer. The leg shape is cut somewhere between batwings and shotguns, and each leg usually has only two fasteners, high on the thigh. They are cooler to wear and hence a design that is suitable for very warm climates. They are occasionally called "half-chaps" (not to be confused with gaiters-style half chaps described below). The original etymon may have been chincaderos or chigaderos. and may have originally referred to amrita’s Chinks are most often seen on cowboys in the Southwestern and Pacific states, most notably on those who follow the California vaquero or "buckaroo" tradition. Armitas are an early style of chaps, developed by the Spanish in colonial Mexico and became associated with the "buckaroos" or vaqueros of the Great Basin area of what is now the United States. They are a short legging with completely closed legs that have to be put on in a manner similar to pants. They are sometimes a bit longer than chinks, but still stopping above the top of the boot, fringed on the sides.
Zamora’s somewhat resemble batwing chaps, in that the leggings are closely fitted at the thigh and flare out below the knee, but unlike batwings, the leggings extend far below the boot with a distinctive triangular flare. Zamora’s are commonly made of cowhide, either plain tanned leather or hides with the hair on. They are popular with Paso Fine aficionados, and are derived from styles seen in Colombia. Historically, the word Zamora’s simply referred to a basic shotgun-like style of either smooth or hair-on chaps worn by Colombian riders.
Chaps are intended to protect the legs of cowboys from contact with daily environmental hazards seen in working with cattle, horses and other livestock. They help to protect riders' legs from scraping on brush, injury from thorns of cacti, sagebrush, mesquite and other thorny vegetation. Chaps are also useful for other types of riding. Leather chaps stick to a leather saddle or a bareback horse better than do fabric trousers and thus help the rider stay on. They are worn by rodeo competitors in "rough stock" events, including bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding. Riders in other disciplines, including various styles of English riding, sometimes wear chaps while schooling horses.
Chaps are commonly worn by western riders at horse shows, where contestants are required to adhere to traditional forms of clothing, albeit with more decorative touches than seen in working designs. Currently chaps are also worn as a fashion choice for equestrian training and clinics. Chaps may now include contrast seams, elastic for better fit and crystal detailing. Chaps are often required by show rules and even when optional under the rules are often worn to give a "finished" look to an outfit. Fashions change periodically and styles vary between the assorted sub-disciplines within western-style riding.