Top Hand and Kchfuller,
I have a different opinion about sliders and when to put/leave them on, so I thought I'd weigh in on the subject. I've been busy training horses and watching grandkids and haven't had any time to 'play' on the forum. It's Sat. Evening and I finally have a little time for myself.
I want the horses that I show to be very comfortable wearing sliders. As soon as they progress to the point in their training where they act like they want to stop, I put them in sliders. I keep them in sliders until I quit showing them. That may be several years. I want the sliders to be a part of their foot. I want them to know how the sliders will perform in all situations. I turn them out on pasture with them on. I ride in the hills with them on. I work cattle with them on. I ride in the winter (in Idaho) with them on. About the only time I don't ride with them on is on hard ice.
I think this gives me an advantage when in the show pen because the horse is never surprised about how the sliders work. My horses don't slip and 'kick out of lead' in the circles because they are still getting used to their sliders. They are not unsure about themselves in any show situation because they have lived in sliders in all sorts of situations for the past year or more.
I show Reined Cow Horses and the cow horse rein work does have some differences from a NRHA reining run. I want my horses to stop deep and push some dirt. A horse that stops hard- with its feet well underneath them, will score as well or better than a horse that skates across the top of the ground in a classic sliding stop.
I do not put as wide of a slider on my horses as some do. I stick with 1" sliders. On a very few horses I'll use a 1 1/4". I can get a good stop with 1" sliders on the vast majority of horses.
I have not had a problem with sliders coming off the foot when I use the horses for other things. If your horseshoer can't set a slider that stays on- maybe you need a different shoer.
I am certainly not saying that this is the only way (or even the correct way). But it has worked well for me. YMMV.
hey Rod- thanks for the counter point
I know everyone doesn't do it the way that we do (not that we do it the "right" way) but it is cool to learn how you do it and why... you have a great system that works for you and maybe ill have to try it sometime.