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Western Chaps and Their History

Jul 24, 2008
In order to fully understand all the terminology and styles the western Chap represents, you must first study the history behind them. There are names for the cut and style of chaps according to the usage and the time period you are talking about.

The first type of Chaperajos were the Armas. Chaperajos (leg of armor or later meant to be leather britches) were invented by the Spanish who settled Mexico. You must picture two large slabs of leather much like a flat pair of batwings tied to the saddle. These wings were draped across the legs while riding through tough brush, but when not in use were laid under the riders legs. These were made from heavy buffalo hide or thick cowhide.

The Mexicans cowboy's called vaqueros wore the first leather breaches called Armitas in the early 1800's. These leggings were made from wild animal hides, calfskin, deer, lion and goat. They were attached to a belt at the waist and wrapped around the riders legs with leather bindings. These were typically short, only coming to just below the knee.

The early Texas cowboys designed the first full length complete leather britches which by the 1870's were called Shotguns, because the pants had no seat and resembled a double-barrel shotgun. The plain leggings that had no fringe or conchos were called Closed Legs. By the 1880's some chap makers were making two pieced chaps that were lased up the front, with a square waistband. At the turn of the century the waistband was curved or contoured. The 1900's add zippers. Most of the modern shotguns are made with zippers for a tighter more tailored fit.

With the coming of the Wild West Shows and rodeos came the introduction of the Batwing Chap. These chaps had wide leather wings that flapped around freely which is why they called them Batwing. The first style was the step-into type, then later they were changed to the open legged style that buckled or snapped into place. The Batwings are some of the most decorated variety of the square waisted rodeo style chap with liver studs and conchos, fancy stitching and hand tooling and bright colors. The were personalized by each rider.

In the late 1880's, the Angoras or Woollies were introduced. The northern climates appreciated the warmth and the water repellent qualities of the Woollies. They were made of mountain lion, leopard, angora goats, bear, buffalo, dog and even seal with the fur left on. Any animal with hair would do the job.

Chinks, are similar to chaps, but shorter, typically hitting the rider just below the knee but above the ankle. They are secured by snaps, zippers, buckles or other forms of fasteners stopping above the back of the knee. Chinks are more free-moving for the working cowboy and cooler in the summer. The fringe on chinks run longer than chaps, giving them the appearance of being longer than they are.

If you have any questions on Horse supplies or Posh Pampered Pets, please call 979-221-7251 or email info@poshpamperedpets.com. Our home office is located in Waller, Texas, with warehouses located throughout the United States such as Dallas TX, Houston TX, New York NY, Denver CO, Chicago ILL, Seattle WA, Kansas City MO, Miami FL, Raleigh-Durham NC, Washington DC, Los Angeles CA, Fayetteville AR, Philadelphia PA, Phoenix Arizona, San Antonio TX Texas.
About the Author
This article was written by Janine Carter, owner of Posh Pampered Pets. If you have any questions regarding Horse Supplies or Posh Pampered Pets , please feel free to call 979-221-7251 or email info@poshpamperedpets.com
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