Teaching a horse to slide

Hi Stacy,

I did not grow up on horseback and have over the last 14 years jumped in with both feet.  I have ridden, shown and started cutters and have spent the last three years riding and am now trying my hand at starting reiners.

I have read Bob Loomis’s book, The Art of Reining,  Sandy Collier’s Reining Essentials and have just received and watched your video series.

I have encountered a problem with my colts and thought you could help.  When stopping my colts they seem to catch their toes before they get set and slide.

Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Franklin A.



Thanks for writing Franklin,


That is actually pretty normal when you first start teaching a horse to slide. Two thoughts that come to mind are the footing and the shoeing. If you are using a farrier that does reining horses you are probably all set in the shoeing department. If not then hopefully you are using a farrier that is willing to call others as well as study and learn. There is an art to shoeing reiners.

As for the footing… I generally have to make changes to my footing when I am teaching my colts to slide. When I have an older, trained reining horse they often can slide on a variety of surfaces. I think this is because they have learned how to balance their hind feet-taking advantage of the ‘trailer’ (the part that sticks out behind the shoe).

Part of the learning process is often times the horse putting too much pressure on the toe. This causes the toe to cut downward into the ground and then the foot stops sliding. The easiest way to help the young horse is to ride ground that has a very hard base for awhile.


Often times in the summer months I spend most of my time riding in my outdoor arena. This allows me to let my indoor get a little harder packed and I purposely don’t drag it quite as deep. The combination of the shallower ground with the hard base makes it difficult for the horse to drive the toe down even if they don’t balance quite right.

As they get more practice they figure out on their own that it is more comfortable when they are in a specific position but that takes time.

Check out your farrier work, try a harder base, and let your horse practice. I bet he will figure it out with that combination.


Stacy Westfall


  1. judith stahl on December 17, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Stacy, that was a thoughtful, helpful response. I know little to nothing about reining horses, but the detail and thought you put into your answer was refreshing. Thank you for this daily


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