What are chaps?
Chaps are worn (in "pairs"...like underwear but not "under") over the front aspects of pants or jeans when riding a horse in areas of low underbrush (briars, bushes, trees, cacti, and such) in order to protect the legs, and the leg coverings against scrapes, cuts, scratches, bruises...and the like, against which the horse's movements might cause its rider's legs to be brought in contact. The name chaps, generally of a U.S. western origine and tradition, derives from the word chaparral, which denotes such kinds of terrain, more often than not at elevated altitude in dry regions. In more modern times, chaps are most often seen work in rodeo exhibitions...for both protection and for authenticity display purposes related to "cowboy" (and "cow girl") life. They are traditionally fabricated from leather from thick skinned hides--cowhide usually--not easily torn or punctured. The word is a short-hand form of the Spanish, chaparejos , or chaparreras--also derived from chaparral: itself a word of Spanish origin.
Apr 15, 2013 |