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What’s the difference between gaiters & chaps?

Gaiters vs chaps.. what even is the difference??

Gaiters are permitted at most competitions, while half-chaps aren’t. So what’s what in the world of lower leg wear in the horsey world….

Gaiters and half chaps are both alternatives to long boots. They slip over short boots and wrap around a rider’s lower leg to provide a bit of extra stick (and protection).

In basic terms, chaps are your kick-around leg wraps while gaiters give a more polished appearance.

Half-chaps are made from rough swede or synthetics and fasten with studs or a zipper on the outer (ankle) side of the leg. They’re also known as chaps, chappettes & chinks.

Gaiters give a smoother finish, are usually made from fine grain leather and zip up at the back.

Dress Code Rules – Equestrian Gaiters & Chaps


According to Equestrian Australia’s current rules, gaiters may be worn up to and including Advanced. However, they must be the same colour as the short boot – and have a smooth surface (suede half-chaps are not permitted).


Current Equestrian Australia rules do not allow riders under 18 to wear gaiters in a rider class. In addition, gaiters must be full grain leather with a smooth finish.

Pony Club:

Unless permitted by individual clubs, half-chaps are not permitted. Gaiters must be leather or synthetic with a smooth exposed surface.

They must match the colour of your short boots.

Pros and Cons of Gaiters vs Half-Chaps

Half Chaps:

  • Are usually cheaper and often machine washable.
  • Are available in lightweight material & a variety of colours.
  • Suitable for schooling/clinics but not permitted at most competitions.
  • Can be more forgiving with fit.

Equestrian Gaiters:

  • Require a higher level of care & maintenance.
  • They look incredible when presented properly.
  • Allow for greater ankle movement than tall boots.
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