they are different gates. Here ya go...copy and paste from wikipedia lol
The canter is a controlled, three-beat gait that usually is a bit faster than the average trot, but slower than the gallop. Listening to a horse canter, one can usually hear the three beats as though a drum had been struck three times in succession. Then there is a rest, and immediately afterwards the three-beat occurs again. The faster the horse is moving, the longer the suspension time between the three beats.
In the canter, one of the horse's rear legs – the right rear leg, for example – propels the horse forward. During this beat, the horse is supported only on that single leg while the remaining three legs are moving forward. On the next beat the horse catches itself on the left rear and right front legs while the other hind leg is still momentarily on the ground. On the third beat, the horse catches itself on the left front leg while the diagonal pair is momentarily still in contact with the ground.
The more extended foreleg is matched by a slightly more extended hind leg on the same side. This is referred to as a "lead". Except in special cases, such as the counter-canter, it is desirable for a horse to lead with its inside legs when on a circle. Therefore, a horse that begins cantering with the right rear leg as described above will have the left front and hind legs each land farther forward. This would be referred to as being on the "left lead".
When a rider is added to the horse's natural balance, the question of the lead becomes more important. When riding in an enclosed area such as an arena, the correct lead provides the horse with better balance. The rider typically signals the horse which lead to take when moving from a slower gait into the canter. In addition, when jumping over fences, the rider typically signals the horse to land on the correct lead to approach the next fence or turn. The rider can also request the horse to deliberately take up the wrong lead (counter-canter), a move required in some dressage
competitions and routine in polo
, which requires a degree of collection and balance in the horse. The switch from one lead to another while moving in a straight line is called the "flying lead change" or "flying change
". This switch is also a feature of dressage and reining
schooling and competition.
If a horse is leading with one front foot but the opposite hind foot, it produces an awkward rolling movement, called a cross-canter, disunited canter or "cross-firing."
The word is commonly said to be short for "Canterbury
-gallop", but it may come from an expression meaning "corner-gallop".[citation needed
] See also: lead (leg) and lead change  Gallop
The suspension phase, seen in the canter and the gallop
In motion Le derby d'Epsom
, painting by Théodore Géricault, 1821
The gallop is very much like the canter, except that it is faster, more ground-covering, and the three-beat canter changes to a four-beat gait. It is the fastest gait of the horse, averaging about 25 to 30 miles per hour (40 to 50 km/h), and in the wild is used when the animal needs to flee from predators
or simply cover short distances quickly. Horses seldom will gallop more than a mile or two before they need to rest, though horses can sustain a moderately-paced gallop for longer distances before they become winded and have to slow down.
The gallop is also the gait of the classic race horse
. Modern Thoroughbred
horse races are seldom longer than a mile and a half, though in some countries Arabian horses
are sometimes raced as far as two and a half miles. The fastest galloping speed is achieved by the American quarter horse
, which in a short sprint of a quarter mile or less has been clocked at speeds approaching 55 mph (88 km/h).
Like a canter, the horse will strike off with its non-leading hind foot; but the second stage of the canter becomes, in the gallop, the second and third stages because the inside hind foot hits the ground a split second before the outside front foot. Then both gaits end with the striking off of the leading leg, followed by a moment of suspension when all four feet are off the ground. A careful listener or observer can tell an extended canter from a gallop by the presence of the fourth beat.
Contrary to the old "classic" paintings of running horses, which showed all four legs stretched out in the suspension phase, when the legs are stretched out, at least one foot is still in contact with the ground. When all four feet are off the ground, the legs are bent rather than extended.
According to Equix
, who analyzed the biometrics
of racing thoroughbreds, the average racing colt has a stride length of 24.6 feet; that of Secretariat
, for instance, was 24.8 feet, which was probably part of his success.
A controlled gallop used to show a horse's ground-covering stride in horse show
competition is called a "gallop in hand" or a hand gallop
Note that when a horse jumps over a fence, the legs are stretched out while in the air, and the front legs hit the ground before the hind legs, which is completely different from the suspended phase of a gallop. Essentially, the horse takes the first two steps of a galloping stride on the take-off side of the fence, and the other two steps on the landing side. A horse has to collect its hindquarters after a jump to strike off into the next stride.