Everyone talks about it, but no one really gives you an answer do they? How do you get that rocking horse canter,
that all the gaited horse websites talk about. You've been trying but your horse just won't do it. Or he canters
well on trail but won't canter well in the arena. Well, some have it and some don't, its that simple. its in the breeding.
Just like their flat walk and running walk and head shake, some gait easily and some just pace because its in the breeding,
but it is also in how they have been ridden. So you can improve what they were born with, but you can't make your horse
shake its head if it doesn't have the shoulder movement and you can't make it do a rocking horse canter if it's
not built to do it. Put it this way, I will never run fast, I wasn't built for it, its not in my genes and even if a mountain
lion came, I would run faster, but all my friends would pass me and I would be eaten. It's that simple.
So your still not sure are you. Well take your horse and roundpen
him. Can he canter in the roundpen? Does he even know what you want? You first have to get them to canter in the roundpen,
on the correct lead, in both directions, relaxed and calm and then you will be able to see what your horse has the natural
ability to do. This could take you weeks if he has never cantered, he has to build up the muscle first. If he just paces
you need to drive him faster into a canter and then when he does canter a couple steps, relax and let him come back to a walk
so he understands that was the correct answer and work up from there. He must be able to canter without you on his back
well, before you try it undersaddle. Make sure when you ask for the canter in the roundpen, you say canter, or cluck twice
or kiss etc. so he has a cue for the canter. Then when you ask undersaddle, give him the same cue and ask with your outside
leg, once he canters, only go a couple of steps and come back to a walk and relax, so he understands that was the correct
answer. As you progress, then work on cantering in a large circle to help balance and slow the canter down.
is too much work, then take the quick way out and spend the money and buy one that already does it. Thats why the really good
ones are expensive, they've had the breeding and the training to get there.
I have taught many gaited horses, to canter. From the young to the old and the older ones are
not easy to do, but if you do it right, they will learn to canter and yes over time they will get better and better. In the
process you and your trainer if not familiar with the gaited horse, will feel some odd things in the saddle because these
horses will trip as they are learning, cross canter, bunny hop, pace canter and do all sorts of funny things while you are
teaching them. In the beginning it may even make you want to be sick, but over time with practice and building of their muscles
it will get better, that is one of the reasons, why you want to teach them to do it well in the roundpen, so you dont get
sea sick in the saddle.
Look at the videos below and see how each horse naturally carries itself in gait and at the canter.
all gaited horses canter the same, some are more upright and have the rocking horse canter, and some are flatter and have
a nice canter but it is not what they call the rocking horse canter and although comfortable, it feels totally different.
If you want that rocking horse canter, you need a horse that is built upright, these horses are usually narrow, higher
headed and more lanky looking. When you take a quick look these horse look like they are all leg. The horses that have this
canter will naturally canter like this in the roundpen, once the horse is relaxed, watch his canter, if he raises up with
ease and can go slow, then you will be able to get the canter under saddle. If the horse is low headed and flatter, he will
have a flatter canter, no matter how hard you try.