Canter is a three-beat gait. The initial beat involves trailing hind foot (beat 1) carrying most horizontal and vertical propulsive forces to create forward momentum, “leading” the diagonal pair of front legs into their stride.
Riders must carefully time their seat aids so that their horse begins cantering when its leading inside hind leg lands, precisely matching when their horse should flex his/her hind leg to move into canter mode.
What is a Gallop?
The gallop (or run) is the fastest gait a horse can perform. Consisting of four beats that feature an occasional moment of suspension at each stride end, this gait can often be found during horse races. Riding such gaits requires considerable skill.
Canter is a controlled three beat gait that is popular for speed work and medium-speed training. It features an asymmetrical design with one hind leg trailing while its counterpart fore leg “leads.” Footfall sequence is 1-2-1: hind leg, diagonal pair of legs, then leading fore limb impacts the ground to transition into fore tripedal stance and start suspension phase.
Cantering requires that horses place most of their weight on their hindquarters, which will allow for forward momentum and more powerful impulsion. In order to do this, horses should be trained to shorten their stride as they transition into collected canters; half-halts at the start of leading hind single stance should help achieve this by realigning weight onto haunches before the suspension phase has completed.
Riding at the canter requires an expert and strong rider as it requires maintaining two-point positioning at such an energetic pace. When reaching suspension phase of canter stride, rider must use outside lateral aids (inside leg on girth and outside leg behind) simultaneously in unison to aid the horse.
What is a Trot?
The trot is a comfortable pace that sits somewhere between walking and galloping, often used for running or jogging, though four-legged animals (such as horses) may use this speed without galloping. People commonly jog at this speed while horses sometimes can too when not galloping. Trotting is the fastest walking gait that doesn’t feature four beat patterns of feet striking the ground at regular intervals; trotting’s name refers to its diagonal pairs of legs moving together to support a horse; both left front limbs hit ground at approximately the same moment but don’t quite touch down at exactly same instantaneous instant.
Skilled riders can safely sit a trot without being jostled from their saddle or harming the horse by bouncing up and down on his back, yet keeping up this activity for extended periods requires strong back and abdominal muscles that have been well trained, leaving both riders and horses exhausted after prolonged rides.
Riders can sit a trot three ways: sitting, half-seat and two-point positions. When in the sitting position, riders’ seats remain firmly within the saddle while leaning slightly forward to balance over their horse’s center of gravity and carrying more weight in their stirrups for increased security while in half-seat and two-point positions, their seat may be raised out further from under their saddle to allow more standing support and jumping for their horse over difficult or uneven terrain.
What is a Canter?
The canter is a three-beat gait which allows horses to travel at speeds between trot and gallop, providing one of the fastest and most advanced gaits they can comfortably perform. Learning it may prove challenging as it requires balance and coordination between horse and rider – an effortless canter can be blissful to ride while one that fails altogether or skips around can become frustratingly uncontrollable.
Cantering relies upon a moment of suspension at the start of each stride. This moment is achieved when the trailing outside hind leg bears all of the horse’s weight while pushing off of the ground to create forward impulsion – this transition between fore diagonal double stance to hock down creates that vital moment which propels him upward motion.
Cantering requires both strength and flexibility from both horse and rider. To develop a strong canter, horses must work their abdominal muscles and develop flexible spines capable of supporting increased speed in canter. Riders must learn to remain more supple and active to remain over the center of gravity of their horse without using excessive hand pressure.
What is a Walk?
A walk is a slow pace that should not be confused with trotting or cantering; its two beat gait means one foot hits the ground every other beat. Walking is an integral component of both Western and English riding; much slower than cantering but faster than galloping it’s key component in hunt seat and jumping seat riding as well.
The canter is a faster, three beat gait similar to trotting; both feet hit the ground simultaneously. However, unlike trotting, its pace and strenuous nature place greater strain on horses as well as greater demand on riders to maintain an engaging canter with balanced rhythmic beats and engaged hind legs that don’t land as smoothly on beat one.
Some horses can execute four and six beat galloping gaits; these are more often reserved for highly trained riders with extensive experience. Galloping requires advanced knowledge from both horse and rider as it involves much faster movement requiring greater balance, coordination, and control from both parties involved.