The Slide… Here’s action in the show ring that simply melts any audience, regardless of demographics into a unified roar of approval and appreciation. Paying spectators, long time show exhibitors, trainers, breeders, the working staff – it matters not, everyone – unites in a collective gasp followed by a roar of approval when a good reining horse hits full gallop to produce an amazing slide. Everyone, but everyone, is paying attention and more likely than screaming and cheering approval. Yes, Arabian reining has some most unusual facets as a horse show discipline.
Is this because there is a little cowboy hiding in everyone? Perhaps. But more importantly “the slide” is brilliant in its simplicity and utter lack of pretense. You run, you stop quick, you slide. Everyone gets it. Even if you don’t own a horse or even ride, you still get it. Although the “slide” is only a small portion of the actual riding pattern required of the exhibitor, the audience instantly and joyfully connects.
Even more interesting, some of those cheering are probably even in competition with the horse and rider in the ring. Unlike most horse show classes in reining each horse and rider is individually judged on point system, with only one horse performing at a time in the arena. This gives competitors more control of their own performances and therefore allows them to be better able to appreciate a “good go” from a peer.
This spirit of enthusiasm for “the slide” and the friendly camaraderie surrounding reining is infectious. Just call it the signature movement for reining.
Author – Sue Adams
Arabian breeders and trainers frequently speak of giving the horse “a job” best suited to the body type and abilities of each horse. For some, a “job” that is enjoying a great deal of attention – and prize money – is the sport of reining. A long-time favorite of the Quarter Horse set, the principals behind reining trace origins as far back as the vast open ranches that once spanned the borders of the United States and Mexico.
The judging system for a reining competition is based upon completing a formal pattern set of maneuvers in an arena setting. Included in this set are combinations of small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs over the hocks, turns of 360 degrees done with one rear foot in place and the signature element in reining, a sliding stop from a full gallop known as “the slide.”
The Arabian Reining Horse Association (ARHA)was founded in 1998 to promote the natural athletic abilities and versatility of the Arabians and Half Arabian horses. Through the efforts of amateur competitor Robb Walther of Sherwood, Oregon and one of the founders of the ARHA, the group became affiliated with the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) in its infancy.