How To Canter A Horse

By | June 12, 2022
Why is my horse's canter disunited? Your Horse Magazine

Cantering a horse is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do with your equine companion. It’s a smooth, rhythmic, three-beat gait that is faster than a trot, but slower than a gallop. To canter a horse properly, you need to be in sync with your horse’s body, understand the cues for cantering, and have good balance and control. Here are some steps to help you learn how to canter a horse correctly.


Before you canter your horse, you need to prepare. Make sure your horse is healthy, fit, and properly groomed. Check your tack to make sure it’s secure and fits properly. Start by warming up your horse with a few minutes of walking and trotting. This will help your horse loosen up and get used to the idea of cantering.

Identifying the Canter

Before you can canter your horse, you need to know what it feels like. The canter is a three-beat gait that has a distinct rhythm. The horse will move one hind leg and the opposite front leg at the same time. This is followed by the other hind leg and the opposite front leg. The canter should feel smooth and balanced. The horse should also move forward with energy, not just plod along.

The Cues for Canter

Once you’ve identified the canter, you need to give your horse the cues to canter. The most common cue for cantering is a slight squeeze with your legs. This should be accompanied by a light tap with your crop or whip. The horse should respond to the cues and start cantering. If your horse doesn’t respond, you may need to give the cues more firmly.

Maintaining Balance

Once your horse is cantering, you need to maintain balance. Keep your hands light on the reins and your body relaxed. Your legs should be slightly bent and you should be sitting deep in the saddle. Try to keep your body in line with the horse’s body. This will help you stay balanced and in control.

Increasing Speed

Once you’ve mastered the basics of cantering, you can increase the speed. This can be done by giving your horse a light tap with your crop or whip. You can also give your horse more leg cues to encourage him to move faster. Be aware of your horse’s energy level and make sure he’s not getting tired. If your horse is tiring, slow him down and give him a rest.

Stopping the Canter

When you’re ready to stop the canter, give your horse a light squeeze with your legs and a light tap with your crop or whip. This will signal to the horse to slow down and stop. Once the horse is stopped, you can use a light rein aid to keep him from moving forward. If your horse doesn’t stop, you may need to apply more leg and rein aids.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re having trouble cantering your horse, there are a few things you can try. First, make sure your horse is warmed up properly before attempting to canter. If your horse isn’t responding to your cues, make sure your legs and hands are in sync. You may also need to increase the intensity of your cues to get your horse to respond. If your horse is still not responding, you may need to reevaluate your training methods.


Cantering a horse is a great way to build a stronger bond with your equine partner. With practice, you can learn to canter a horse correctly and safely. The key is to be in sync with your horse, understand the cues for cantering, and maintain good balance and control. If you follow these steps, you should be able to canter your horse with confidence.