Sliders for low-level reining?
My daughter (10 years old) wants to do a few low level, low key reining shows this summer. We went and watched the classes she could/would enter yesterday and it was about 50/50 with sliders, and very few of the horses at her level actually had a sliding stop. It was actually pretty rare to see a horse get a really good stop. Granted, we watched the youth classes and beginner classes. There were only 2 horses that had a really good spin. Very few actually pivoted on their hind end even...most sort of walked a circle.
My daughter's horse has some reining training, and her trainer is willing to give her some lessons to ready her for the next show which is in about 6 weeks. Her horse pivots nicely, but pretty slowly, but when asked right, she'll do a nice, planted hindquarters turn. Her stops are decent. This club that puts these on is very relaxed, focuses on entry-level, LOCAL reining. Yes, there are some much better people in the higher classes, but for the most part, this is an entry-level club, and as you start to improve, you move onto higher level clubs/shows. There were just about as many kids under 18 showing as there were adults.
So my question is...horse is not going to be doing sliding stops anytime soon. She doesn't currently have sliders so it would be silly and unsafe to be training her for that. At this level, do you think it would be necessary to put sliders on her at all? My concern with doing that is that she's also going to be used on trails, is my daughter's 4-h pleasure horse, and will be used at our trainer's challenge trail course. To me, for 1 weekend in June, and 1 weekend in September, sliders seem like a waste of money. I don't want the horse to be useless in the other areas my daughter needs her for.
First I would talk to the reining trainer and see what he says. If it was me I would take a few lessons and work with the horse and trainer without plates and see how the horse does and how hard he is stopping with her riding him. Then about 2 maybe 3 weeks prior to the show I would have baby slider put on and leave the nail heads. This will keep the horse from getting hurt when trying to stop yet lessen the chance that he is going to lay down a big stop. This is what I normaly do with my younger reiners or green reiners and sometimes even the finished reiners when they first get slider back on after a bit off.
I agree with NRHAReiner above. The only thing I would add is that at many of the lower level entry program shows the ground isn't prepared for sliding stops, so the addition of sliders would make very little difference to your horse's slide. As long as she comes to a complete stop prior to rolling back she will be executing the pattern correctly.
On the other hand it is easy to put a timid horse off doing sliding stops altogether if he catches and pops out of a slide without plates on. He could also injure himself or make himself sore so that in the future he is not as willing to try to slide. Hence what the above post was referring to with baby sliders...they allow a young or inexperienced horse to experience the feel of a stop without scaring them to death. Your trainer should be able to provide a farrier with the knowledge required to shoe the horse correctly at this level.
My reiners do everything with their sliders on...trail ride, ranch work, horsemanship classes etc. They learn to adapt to moving with them on. But expect to lose a few shoes if you do this. Also be very careful on slick ground, especially dry short grass and concrete. I also turn them out by themselves or with another horse that they won't kick or get kicked by. Sliders can get pretty sharp after a few weeks.
Good luck and I hope she enjoys her reining experience, but watch out it is addicting !!!lol Keep us posted, I love to hear about experiences of the budding reiners!
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