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Love Horseback Riding, Issue #018- Cantering; Leads & Riding the Canter
June 01, 2016
Dear Horsey Friends,


Learning is important. To learn, we must go outside our comfort zone. What are you doing this summer to increase your learning about riding or horse behavior? It can be uncomfortable for sure, but the best learning takes place just outside our comfort zone. Keep that in mind as you go out on your summer adventures.

What's New

Do you know much about mini-horses? Check out these fun pictures and learn a bit about them here.

Learning- Cantering; Leads & Riding the Canter

Last month we talked about canter preparation for both horse and rider. This month we’re going to cover riding the canter and asking for a specific lead.

Riding the canter can be very smooth, once you are used to the motion. If you have only walked and trotted so far, cantering feels completely different. It is almost like a rocking horse motion. Horses with a good canter are said to have a “rocking horse canter.”

Of course there are nuances between each horses canter, but the basics for riding each of them are the same.

You’ll want to let the horses’ motion take you with it while remaining in the proper riding position.

Typical beginners mistakes include leaning too far back and leaning too far forward. When you lean too far back, you become behind the vertical and can be less secure with any changes of pace or direction. If you lean too far forward, you can be asking your horse to speed up as well as being extremely insecure if he should stop suddenly.

Staying at the vertical while slightly tucking your pelvis under will help you to stay in motion with your horse. Another good way to gauge if you are sitting correctly is to see if you can put a flat hand on your horse’s rump while cantering. Please make sure you touch your horses rump at the walk and trot first.


A horse is going to follow what you do in your body. This also applies to asking for a specific lead. As discussed last month, there is a leading and trailing side for each lead. If you are asking for or riding a left lead, the leading side is the left side, and should also be the left side of your body.

Therefore, if you are asking for a left lead, you would have your left hip and shoulder forward, and right shoulder and hip back (trailing.)

In addition, your horse would need to be set up properly. The lead comes from the hind end, and pointing the hips the direction you want for the lead will help your horse be set up to take the correct lead.

For a left lead, you would want the hips slightly to the left. For a right lead, aim the hips to the right.

This is why lateral yields are so important. Without being able to control where the hindquarters go, you will have a hard time with asking for specific leads.

That's it for this month!

In the meanwhile, visit on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter! Until then,

Happy Trails!


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