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I think it's really dependent on the rider, your skills and your goals. At my first barn, I rode for over a year without cantering, and at about 7-8 months in I was really wishing I could practice it a little bit. However, I stuck with the schedule set before me, and while I do think I was capable of learning, I didn't push it. But in the meantime I feel like I developed a pretty solid seat at the walk and trot, which is very important and not to be overlooked.

At my second barn, due to my previous experience, I was offered to canter on about my 5th or 6th lesson. I was incredibly nervous as this was a new(ish) horse to me, so we practiced primarily on a lunge line and in the round pen which really boosted my confidence. The mare I was riding was a bit faster than I was used to, so having the control of a line or pen helped me to focus primarily on my seat and my body, and not on directing her which way to go.

At my current barn I think I was encouraged to canter on my 2nd or 3rd lesson, completely on my own. But at this point I've been riding for about two years, even if my cantering experience is still somewhat limited. It's still a very nerve-wracking experience, but every time I slow back down I'm absolutely exhilarated! I've still yet to figure out how to REALLY steer or continue the pace for longer than one length of the arena, but the skills build up over time and it all comes down to practice.

That being said, if you're legitimately terrified, I would ask to wait and learn it at a later time. While it's a good skill to know, if just for a safety reason, beyond that, you don't really have to ever canter at all if you don't want to.
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