How To Canter On A Horse
This video explains how to canter on a horse. It also provides helpful tips on how to walk the horse through the various stages and which leg the horse should lead on during the cater to maintain balance
We're now going to look at how the horse canters. The canter is a three time gait, this basically means that the horse will move his legs. First of all the outside hind leg will move then, the inside hind and the outside fore will move together as a pair then, this will be followed by the inside foreleg and if the horse is leading with the inside foreleg first, this means he's on the correct leading leg, this will help with his balance in the canter.
To encourage the horse to lead with the correct leading leg, we have specific aids which we ask him, when we ask him to go forward into the canter. First of all, Jenifer will get Chester going in a nice active and forward thinking trot. If the horse isn't thinking forward, he is not going to want to make a transition into canter. Its also incredibly important that you move with the horse in canter, so having a correct position in this stage of your riding is absolutely essential.
As Jenifer asks him to go forward into the trot, she's going to reach a corner. By using a corner for your canter transition, this can help the horse balance, but will also encourage him to step off on a correct canter lead.
In this occasion we're going to ask Chester to canter to the left. So, this leg will go first, then this leg and this leg will go second and then he will lead with his front left leg.
To ask him to strike off leading with his left leg, Jenifer will go into sitting trot, keeping the forward momentum, keeping the rein contact, she'll sit up nice and tall and she will tap with the outside leg back behind the gird. This is the signal for our horses to go from trot into canter.
If you just continually kick with your legs in the same position, the horse will do nothing more than go faster in the trot. You must give him a simple clear aid that it is canter that you're looking for. You must not tip forward because this will encourage the horse to fall back into trot, but you must also allow with the arms so he can move his head to go forward into the canter.
Sitting up tall is essential, this enables your bottom to move with the horse as he goes into his transition. "When you're ready Jennifer". It must be a very positive and forward thinking transition. You can't have any negativity or backward thinking in your riding. It’s essential you also look up at where you’re going and plan ahead, think about where you want your transition to happen.
Sitting trot and off you go! As you're in the canter its important that you allow your hips to swing back and forward with the movement of the horse. Allowing the horse's head to move. It’s essential you don't restrict the horse's head movement. As you can see, Jenifer is keeping her upper body quiet and still, looking where she's going, she keeps the horse in canter by continually giving him little taps with the leg. A lazy horse will need a bit more leg than others.
Some horses will naturally carry you forward in the canter. When she's finished with the canter, she will deepen her seat, spurs with the rein and ask him to trot, then straightaway back to a rising trot to help the horse balance.