I can't confidently comment on anything to do with reining, as I haven't gotten around to doing any of that yet, but I can comment on hard stops/sliding in general. Lucky had an amazing hard stop even though I rarely used it. I could afford an extra 2-3 strides to a halt for the most part, but it was there if it was needed for whatever reason. If it was "softer" footing, she'd slide maybe 10 feet, if not it was from canter to stop in about 3 feet. Since she has no shoes at all (let alone sliders), I didn't do it often, but every few weeks I'd do a couple in the arena to make sure she didn't "forget" she could, in fact, do it. I don't believe that once or twice a month will cause much damage if your horse is using his/herself correctly, but I agree with the others about it being hard on their hocks and such without the sliders.
I do have to disagree on it not being called a canter in western riding though..I, personally, have -never- used the word lope to describe any of the horses I've ridden. I've never even touched an english saddle, let alone rode in one or rode with english riders. Canter and lope are interchangeable, they both mean the same **** thing, IMO.
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Here is my take, from actually RIDING both english and reining. THis is just MY opinion, and how I see it from doing it.
First, I would caution you from doing any sliding purposely without sliders. All your horse has to do it catch a toe and that alone could cause serious injury. Sure, reiners can catch a toe also, but sliders as well as perfect footing make it much less likely. Even with sliders there are very very few places I will ask my horse to slide. If you insist on doing this, I would suggest you at least have your farrier roll the toe a bit to minimize the chance it may catch. It also takes a lot of time to teach a reiner to stop correctly. THere is more to it than just sliding.
My take on canter vs lope is as follows. When I am on my hunter horse and ask for a canter, I expect his head carriage to be higher, and there is generally a bit more speed than a western lope. I tend to sit lighter in the saddle. When my reiner lopes (and yes he does have different speeds) in general his carriage is lower and there is just a much more....for lack of a better term.....relaxed feel to it. I sit deep and very relaxed. English generally has light contact-Western does not. I have no idea what the book definitions are, those are just what I feel when I ride them, which, IMO, is where the rubber meets the road. So, to me it is NOT "the same **** thing". I would suggest perhaps you need to actually RIDE it.