While the name Chaps has its origin from the Spanish Word Chaparro its design originates from two large pieces of cowhide that were hung from the saddle horn, one on each side of a horse.  These were called Armas, meaning shields.  As cattle and cowboys migrated up through Mexico and throughout the United States many changes occurred.  The cumbersome Armas were removed from the horse and smaller leather coverings that fit over the riders legs became the standard.  The need remained the same, a protection from the brush and thickets that sheltered cattle as the cowboys gathered them.

Today chaps have taken on many forms from utilitarian to show.  Chap makers continue a tradition of making what the cowboy wants so as with any cowboy gear, there is a tendency to pretty them up to the most that the owner can afford.  Whether utilitarian or extremely decorated a finely made pair may become a treasured piece of art.