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Posts tagged ‘canter’


Gaits of a Horse


The motion of the horse’s feet and legs are called gaits. There are roughly two groups of gaits, the natural gait and the acquired gait. The four natural gaits are the walk, the trot, the canter and the gallop. Some people consider the cantor and the gallop as one gait. A gait performed by natural impulse and without training is called a natural gait. Gaits that require specific training and practice are acquired gaits.

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Achieving Balance at the Gallop

Galloping a horse can be an amazing stress reliever, but before you do this, there are several things I recommend doing to prepare:

1. Be sure that you can trust your horse.  Make sure that your horse is not “spooky” or overly reactive, and that he will listen to your stop at both the trot and canter.
2. Be sure that you are confident with the canter, have a balanced seat and well conditioned legs.
3.  Teach yourself 2-point.

To speed up, you can either squeeze harder and/or smooch again.  Make certain that your hands are soft.  Just as you should follow his movement with your hands in the canter, it becomes a necessity in the gallop.

What I have found is that when most horses gallop, you will find a “sweet spot”.  The forward/back rocking motion should diminish as he reaches for a larger stride and flattens himself out.  At this point, I find it very easy to be balanced, and sometimes even use this pace to regain my balance.  Please only do that if you are very advanced.

I do have once comment.  If you are riding on a trail and you have a barn sour horse, practice this while traveling away from home.  You don’t want your horse getting carried away and racing al the way home.  If your horse does start racing in the direction of home and refuses to slow down, pull him into a circle by lengthening the outside rein and shortening the inside rein.