I have had many requests for a video on riding the canter, so here it is! The canter may well be one of the most enjoyable gaits – there is enough speed to be exhilarating, but on a balanced horse the canter is smooth and comfortable. The canter should have a “rocking horse” motion to it, and the number one tip for riding it is to relax and allow your body to just go with the motion.
If you are just learning to canter, the ease of your learning will depend greatly on the horse you ride. A horse who is able to canter balanced and slowly without assistance from his rider will make learning to ride this gait much easier. If your horse has a fast, unbalanced canter you, as a rider, will struggle to find your own balance and fear can take over if you start to feel out of control. Also, horse's tend to escalate more quickly at the canter if they are nervous or unsure because the faster gait will increase adrenaline in an already reactive horse. So be safe, and if your own horse is difficult at the canter and you are new at it, I would recommend finding a local barn where you can take lessons on a good school horse to build both your confidence and your familiarity with the movement of the canter.
In this video, I will show how to ride a canter with both a deep seat and with a “half seat.” I also chose to use a horse with a big stride, so you can see my more exaggerated movement! Click play to watch the video, enjoy, and leave a comment with your thoughts or questions! Thanks!