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Slick Tips for Sliding Plates

Texas farrier offers advice on how to help reining horses earn those all-important extra fractions of a point

Choosing the right sliding plate to be used on a reining horse isn’t easy. Farriers must take conformation, performance, footing and other factors into consideration when shoeing these equine athletes. Because events are frequently won by fractions of a point, proper shoeing is vital.

Sliding plates can be described as a shoe that allows a horse to extend the length of its slide during the sliding phase of the stop. But for me, living in the heart of Texas reining-horse country, the definition is much more complicated.

When a client asks me to put a set of sliding plates on a horse’s hinds, it is not as simple as pulling a pair of oddly shaped shoes out of my truck and nailing them on. Sliding plates come in all different widths and lengths. The thickness of the section for all of my sliding plates is 1/4 inch, but the widths range from 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches and length is determined by the size of the foot.

I have shod reining horses for over two decades and have had the privilege of shoeing World Champions in several breeds, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby and the 2003 NRHA Futurity Champion. Working with great horses being ridden by good trainers who want to work together with the farrier and the veterinarian is the recipe for success in this industry.

In today’s competitive reining world, farriers play an important role. The winners in most cases win by 1/2-point margins. So if…

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