I would have to do some research on word origins but I'm with Smrobs. I thought they were the same thing just different origins, one english one western.
EDT: ok here is what I have found so far
A smooth easy gait for a horse, faster than a trot, but slower than a gallop.
This familiar word has a colorful past: After the murder of Thomas a Becket in England's Canterbury Cathedral in the twelfth century, Canterbury became a popular destination for countless religious pilgrims traveling on horseback, including those described in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. By the early seventeenth century, the expression Canterbury pace had come to mean the easy gait at which these faithful rode to their destination. By 1673, Canterbury had become a verb, and by 1706, had shortened to canter.
"Spotting a pile of clothes on the riverbank, Vanessa slowed her steed to a canter, then a trot, then stopped altogether and ever so casually got out her binoculars."
I'm not finding a lot on Lope except that it is a synonym for canter and is from the old Norse word hlaupa meaning to leap.
"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
Last edited by Vidaloco; 03-10-2009 at 02:08 PM.