Riding chaps much like boots, are not something we wish to replace after one season of riding. For those of us not fortunate enough to afford custom-made chaps, we must seek mass-market options. If you are a novice rider shopping for your first pair of schooling chaps or, a seasoned equestrian looking to replace a current pair, we at Horse Tack Review have found an ideal option.
Adult Schooling Chaps from Barnstable Riding. Barnstable Riding is based in Massachusetts. Their equestrian product lines include various types of chaps and leather goods and are made in the U.S.A. Although you cannot purchase direct from the company, their website does feature a vendor directory. We purchased our chaps from Dover Saddlery for $89.99 USD. Quite a buy considering the list price is $119.95 USD. These schooling chaps are made from split cowhide suede and are double-stitched with nylon thread, heavy duty YYK zippers and nickel plated buckles, front and back. They are available in solid, single stripe, double stripe and fringed in fifteen color options, although not all are sizes and colors are available through Dover Saddlery. Sizes range from XS-L and most are available in short, regular and long inseam lengths.
We selected the rich chocolate brown, size medium based on Dover Saddlery's sizing guide suggestions. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the only inseam length available through Dover Saddlery for this particular pair was regular. We have yet to determine exactly who fits into the 'average' category but have learned to overcome. Armed with nothing more than zipper stops, a heavy duty stitching awl and waxed threads, our average chaps are now short.
Outfitted at last in our new schooling chaps we let the testing begin. As is the case with all leather products, our new chaps were rather stiff at the outset, but broke in quickly. That honeymoon period was most likely accelerated a bit due to the fact our first ride was on a green horse in the middle of a rain/sleet storm. Our chaps did not disappoint. In fact, they offered a superb grip while keeping our legs warm and dry. A further note, we never had to deal with residual dye left on our jeans.
We tested the Barnstable chaps in a variety of riding conditions including English and Western on both leather and synthetic saddles. Regardless of the riding style or saddle, the level of grip was always secure. We must also admit that once we zip ourselves into our chaps, they remain in place throughout the course of our barn activities. We have traipsed through tall, damp grass and brush hand-walking horses, mucked stalls and probably the most unorthodox use of our schooling chaps was our "off- road” adventure taking our horse on ATV trails through muddy ruts, wash-outs and boggy patches using only a bareback pad. Not only was the grip outstanding but when we finally removed our mud-covered chaps, our jeans were clean and dry. The chaps clean up wonderfully using only a stiff brush.
If you are looking for affordable schooling chaps that are not only multi-functional but stylish, we highly recommend Barnstable Riding's adult schooling chaps.