Uh Oh... I've decided that I want a pair of full schooling chaps (I think)

So I’m actually an eventer, but I know that the schooling chap craze was a bigger deal on your side of saddle so I am here for advice! I’m in between a 24 and a 26 in breeches (depends on how much Panera I’ve eaten in a given week). I’m 5’3 and weigh about 118 pounds. I’m not particularly curvy but I’m also not a 2x4. As this could be my ADD doing that thing it does where it says “WE NEED THIS” for about a month and then goes away, I don’t want to blow a few hundred dollars on custom chaps.

In my little bit of googling it seems that the Barnstable schooling chaps are the most popular. Everything on their website is marked WAY down right now, so I’m not sure if they are going out of business or something. They are also the most common on ebay/posh.

I’d love to get a used pair on ebay for cheap to see if I like them before I buy a pair of new ones. {yes, yes, I know $129 for horsey gear isn’t much, but for a prepping for college kid, I gotta save what I can}

~do y’all think I should spring for a pair of extra smalls of smalls?
~do y’all think they are worth spending any money on?
~do y’all think I’ll embarrass myself schooling at the barn?

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I can’t comment on the brand specifics but back in the day when I bought my chaps, it worked well to buy off the rack and then have someone custom fit them after riding in them a bit if necessary. When in doubt on the size I’d buy the size up, because you can always have them taken in, but you can’t do as much to let them out. Also gives you more options on what you wear them over.


Can a normal alterations place work on the suede though?

Find someone-- a tailor, for instance-- who says they specifically do alterations on leather. Depending on where you live, it might not be that hard. I found a guy next to the grocery store who did a great job on a pair of leather field boots I wore for schooling. Just think of all the other leather garments that occasionally need alterations. Someone has to do it! :smile:

Many years ago, when schooling chaps were the big thing, I did have a pair of Barnstable chaps. They were sturdy and did the job but the split leather used is quite stiff and heavy. But they definitely do the job. So if the in-stock measurements seem close to fitting, and you can find a local tailor who can alter them if necessary, definitely go for it!

Of course, once you decide you really like schooling chaps (they’re wonderful in the winter!) just realize you’ll hear the Siren Song of Custom Chaps calling your name. Ask me how I know this. :laughing:


The siren song of custom chaps is already calling my name. That’s how I got sucked in to this mess! What kind do you have?

PM me your address and I’ll send you a couple of pairs to try and see how you like them. They’ll be a bit short, but you can just wear them lower on your hips while you see how they feel to ride in.


I have a semi-custom pair of the Barnstable ones. They are decent. Very solid and last for years even riding 6-8 horses a day in them. I believe the company has gone out of business now. If you’re going custom Pinnell, Larocque and Journeyman are all good options that I think are still around.

And just like that… I’m inspired to go find my Journeyman chaps that I haven’t seen in about 20 years.


I don’t think my western styled chaps would work for schooling in an English saddle; they’re cut differently. But just do a Google search for “custom English schooling chaps.” You’ll find many!

Just edited to add: My western ones are from Wood’s Western in San Diego county, Calif. But in the past, when I was riding huntseat, I had pairs from Pinnell and Journeyman. So many options! And so dreamy!

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If it’s the same company that I have saved on my homepage, they still exist. I found a pair of XS full calf that I A)need to fit my thighs into and B) get dr clearance to ride again because they make my 80s/90s child heart sing. Purple and Aqua trim + FRINGE. Eeeek! Then again I did get some Xmas gift cards :wink:

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I need to avert my eyes from this thread. The last thing I needed to know was that those Barnstable chaps are on sale right now…

For what it’s worth, OP, I think you should definitely spring for them! I personally love the look and would love to own a pair as well :slight_smile:

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I know exactly where mine are, although I have not had the urge to wear them since the first time I rode in half chaps about 20 years ago. Lol.

I do miss having the needlepoint back option, though.

I had a few pairs back when that I loved. They were especially handy when I had to ride in both and English and Western saddle in the same day. And oh boy are they warm and cozy on a cold day!

Simply to give you a few cons to shrug off before you go for it, I decided they were too impractical to replace my last pair. The reasons:

  1. I have a hard time switching between chaps for schooling and tall boots for showing. My leg slides around like it’s buttered if I’m not in tall boots the vast majority of my rides. YMMV.

  2. Way too hot all but maybe a month out of the year here in CA. This somehow didn’t bother me in high school/college, though.

  3. Also not very practical when dealing with mud. The suede is harder to clean than smooth leather and I found them hard to stuff into mud boots. Our winter is all mud and I’m short, so this might not be such a problem for everyone.

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Thiiiiiiiis is exactly why I’ll never ride in full chaps again. Switch from grippy chaps to boots and breeches and it feels like riding bareback on a dolphin.


Thank you for enabling. :joy: Barnstable is a name I haven’t heard since I was about 12 years old, so naturally I just ordered a pair.


You’ve got me curious because I live near Journeyman. Anecdotally, chaps seemed very popular here up until about 10 years ago. Can’t think of anyone I’ve seen wearing chaps recently, except for exercise riders & jockeys. IIRC, many of the high end saddle manufacturers’ warranties are voided by chaps. Maybe that’s why?

All hail Tackpud! She’s sending me two (NICE) pairs of chaps and it sounds like they’re going to fit me.
I love you COTHers!


Is that true?!? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

I still see some people at H/J shows who wear full chaps. It’s a bit old school, but not exactly rare.

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I took my OTR, plain roughout chaps to a seamstress who moved the zipper to take them in.
Much more leeway than if I’d needed them larger :wink:

I used to switch from suede chaps to my dress boots for about a week’s worth of rides before a show. The “buttered” effect solved.

I also machine-washed them on the Gentle cycle, air-dried.

For mud, I just rolled up the bottom 6" or so before I got on & after I got off.

In Midwest Summer, I admit to riding in shorts beneath the chaps on the hottest days :roll_eyes:

Damn you, COTH!
Barnstable sale is A-mazing!
At least 3 pairs of topgrain leather chaps I now covet :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: