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This is a discussion on canter within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    07-29-2008, 12:26 AM

What does it mean to canter? I'm trying to learn all, its been along time since I've been around horse,Now I finally got one, Thanks
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    07-29-2008, 02:21 AM
The basic gaits of a horse is Walk/Trot/Canter(English) or Lope (Western) which both mean the same thing/Gallop. So basically Canter is faster then a trot.

Sorry its not all fancy words and very detailed but I thought I would just keep it to the point.

    07-29-2008, 03:11 AM
A canter/lope is also a 3 beat gait. There is a noticeable difference between the trot/jog and the canter/lope.
    07-29-2008, 03:46 AM
^What they said, LOL! It's a bit smoother than the trot...after a trot you go into a canter. ;) (that's the next gait)
    07-29-2008, 08:28 AM
When you canter you also have leads (left and right)... basically it is the lead leg, which one comes out further
    07-30-2008, 02:19 AM
A canter feels like the horse is rocking backwards and forwards and you may find you move around a lot in the saddle to start with! Most people find it they like it better than the trot - good luck!
    07-30-2008, 08:20 AM

This horse is cantering - the legs move in a three-beat pattern, from back to front.

It's a lot smoother than trot - you end up kind of tracing an oval shape with your hips - but it can be harder to stay on at first as it's faster and requires you to be more secure in the saddle and relax. The more you relax, the less you bounce, and as a beginner I find that I have to concentrate to make sure my legs are gripping the horse tightly enough. When I started out, my instructors had me hold onto the pommel of the saddle with my hands and lean waaaaay back until I felt ready to let go, first with the inside hand and then with both.

It's lots of fun, if hard work while you're still breaking all your abdominal muscles in. Expect to ache quite a bit after the first few times!

As others have mentioned, there's something called the 'lead leg'. This is the front leg that moves as the third beat of the gait. In the image above, it's the leg closest to the camera. It's easier for a horse to move round a bend if they're on the 'inside lead' - that is, the foreleg on the inside of the curve moves on the third beat, stretching out on its own. There are specific commands to ask for a particular lead leg, but for beginners the easiest way to get the correct lead is to ask for the canter in a corner or on a circle, as the horse usually picks up the correct one all on their own then.

As a beginner, I ask for the canter by sitting the trot and squeezing or kicking. I'll progress to more sophisticated aids once I get the hang of that.
    07-30-2008, 03:11 PM
Originally Posted by claireauriga
As a beginner, I ask for the canter by sitting the trot and squeezing or kicking. I'll progress to more sophisticated aids once I get the hang of that.
Funny, as a self proclaimed "beginner" you gave the most detailed and best description of the canter. :) yey!
    07-30-2008, 05:45 PM
I read a lot, and ask a very large number of questions! I ask people here, I ask Google, I ask friends who ride, I ask my instructors, I ask the people who work at my stables ...
    07-30-2008, 06:56 PM
Thanks claireauriga , that's a very good description, I got it now.

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