Fab­u­lous Fit

Horse & Rider - - Mud Health Risks -

Cus­tom chaps maker Betsy Tuckey owns Horse­wares Cus­tom Chaps, based in Lib­erty, Kentucky, and she’s an AQHA Pro­fes­sional Horse­woman and judge. She knows the “fit” rid­ers need to achieve when buy­ing a new pair of chaps. Here are her tips.

“Fit is not uni­ver­sal for men and women,” Tuckey states. “For women, the waist­band should rest high on her nat­u­ral waist and fit smoothly across the front with no gap in the front or sides. It’s im­por­tant to have the fringe edge of the chaps leg come up the back of the leg and meet at the cen­ter of the back, at the con­cho. It’s the most fin­ished look, and the most flat­ter­ing.

“Con­versely, for the men,” she con­tin­ues, “the chaps ride a bit lower, ide­ally at mid-waist. Two con­chos, with a short belt in be­tween that’s no more than 2 to 4 inches, cre­ates the best look.”

For all rid­ers, well-fit­ted chaps should feel snug and lay smooth all the way down the leg and be free of gaps in the rise. Tuckey says the chaps should be long enough to rest on top of the foot with­out ex­cess fab­ric pil­ing up when you’re in the sad­dle. Chinks and ranch chaps are slightly dif­fer­ent. They shouldn’t be as long as tra­di­tional show chaps and have many more op­tions for dress­ing them up.

“Peo­ple come in all shapes and sizes, and good mea­sur­ing is the key to pur­chas­ing a pair of chaps that fit cor­rectly,” she ad­vises. “Ide­ally, the chaps maker can take the needed mea­sure­ments in per­son. When that’s not pos­si­ble, most mak­ers pro­vide mea­sure­ment in­struc­tions on­line.”

Tuckey cau­tions to read the in­struc­tions thor­oughly. “Cus­tomers as­sume the chaps will be too tight and add a lit­tle to each mea­sure­ment. Re­sist the urge to do so as it can re­sult in chaps that are too loose. Most chaps mak­ers add a half inch to the up­per thigh, knee, and calf. So, if you add to the size the chaps end up too loose.”

Cus­tom chaps are ex­pen­sive, but they are a very im­por­tant part of the pic­ture when you en­ter the arena. “Speak­ing not only as a chap maker, but also as a judge,” Tuckey shares, “I al­ways no­tice if a rider has a good, well- shaped hat; good- fit­ting chaps; and a good, clean sad­dle pad that’s large enough for the sad­dle.”

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