Reining Horse Slides

The reining slide or reining stop is heralded as the hero maneuver of the reining event. It is the extreme and unnatural maneuver of horses sliding 20-30-40 feet on specially designed plates (shoes). It is what the crowd whoop n holler about and people expect to see when they go to a show. But are they all stopping like that?

With strict regulations on photography at events, allowing only approved images into the market, most people only see the manicured and exceptional – the 5% that can actually slide. The ones that photographers skillfully take to show the brilliance of a good horse stopping. Images for magazines and advertisements. Usually with trainers that have spent years training – and brag of the tens of thousands of slides they have done to reach this pinnacle. The horses stopped from the time they are broken in nearly every ride until the 3 yo futurity event. That’s on average 3,000 stops per futurity training program. Read our article on the damage during sliding training.

For the rest of the time it’s a whole different story and its about as ugly as you can get. Horses tortured by riders as the horses attempt to get the job done.

  • Bouncing on their backs,
  • hauling on their mouths,
  • Poorly shod and horses doing the splits,
  • Throwing their legs high instead for striding,
  • Heads pulled under their chests,
  • Backs hollow attempting to get away from the heavy hands,
  • And the list goes on.

Go to an event away from the Hollywood lights and this is what you see, week in and week out. Where the cameras are not controlled and audiences get to see what the majority of horses experience.

This is what most reining horses lives look like.  Ooouch !


What do you think of the sport of reining that most horses experience?


6 replies
  1. Carolyn Mitchell
    Carolyn Mitchell says:

    No wonder they have restrictions on photographs – that is just outright ugly and painful for the horse.

  2. Marianne Feenstra
    Marianne Feenstra says:

    Sorry these are still good shots. I went to a show recently that was wrote up as a good event. A saw a few that did what was in the ”magazines” and the rest made me cringe. And the spurs???? What is with the pounding non-stop on their sides in the warm-up pen.

  3. Donna Greythorne
    Donna Greythorne says:

    Just put bigger flat shoes on those horses then they have to slide or fall over – that’s how they do it. I saw one horse that 2 inches across in metal on its back feet when he rested his back foot. Also why the riders always look constipated when they pull on them?????

  4. Richard Carlson
    Richard Carlson says:

    Like most sports – non-pros are not the best to look at. But this is just outright painful – poor horses. I bet those horses need a chiropractor after every ride.

  5. Kollin Shep
    Kollin Shep says:

    there are some trainers that rain wrong and are harsh to the horses but yall arnt looking at the good points. this writer is only pulling out the minted bad in this sport. the main issue i see in the pictures is you dont know the background cause yall arnt reiners and arnt aware of what actually goes on. Most trainers are never in the horses mouths. a horse is trained on the riders weight and feet. they mostly never touch the horse mouths. The horses are bred and trained to hold up to the stops. if the horse couldnt stop why would they do it. in this sport there are so many horses that love there job and get so excited when they walk into the pen. go look up Dan Huss and MS Dreamy at the AQHA world show. thats how the horses feel they love their job and have so much heart to please their riders. Yea there are some crappy trainers (Clinton Anderson) but there are also some amazing trainers. Arnt there abusive trainers in every discipline? After working at a reining barn and under a trainer for a whole summer i realized reining horses are probably the most spoiled and well taken care of in the whole equine business. im willing to admit i love this sport and the amazing athletes we partner with. i wont give it up for anything.


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