Slow Canter????


Total falls: 13
May 3, 2003
Ontario, Canada
Cricket and I have been having some problems. Her canter is too fast! She goes faster than any of the big horses, hey she is the fastest and she is only 13.3hh. I am getting a bit fed up of this. When she canters fast she has minimal balance and isn't as much fun to ride. I have only ever gotten her slow canter once, and I am not sure how that even happened, but when she did she suddenly had so much more balance and stopped cutting her corners. How do I get her into that slow canter???? She doesn't seem to understand when I ask her for it.


Apr 4, 2003
Oslo, Norway
I find that on very forward going (or unbalanced) horses the most important thing is to merely *suggest* canter transition, not asking for it outright. Just *think* canter as you're trotting calmy along, and merely whisper the aids softly. You are much more likely to get a calm canter.

It's very important that you don't lean forwards when doing this. Many people lean forward exactly as they ask for canter, and this won't exactly help. ;) Not saying you do that, though, but it's dead easy to do if you anticipate an increase in speed. (Which is exactly what you get if you lean.) By softly suggesting canter you don't actually know when the horse will transition on her own and that probably prevents leaning anyway :D
She might "need her head" for the transition, and pull the reins slightly - don't get pulled forward as a result.

Once you get the transition keep doing half halts every few strides, and transition to trot or walk as soon as she's losing her balance.

If she's too much on her forehand and stumbling along head over heels you could try walk-canter transitions, although it might only cause a more energetic departure and therefore faster canter, as you have to use more leg if she doesn't know canter from walk.

If she's young it might help to lunge her a bit, so that her own balance improves without a rider thrown into the equation.

Best of luck! Sorry the post got so long :eek:


New Member
Feb 5, 2003
I ride a few horses that rush their canters where I work, what I tend to do is get into a steady rythmitic (spelling?) trot first without even thinking about the canter.
Once the horse is going steady - gently ask for canter (same thing as OlavS said:anticipate an increase in speed and so will the horse) so try and be gentle when doing it then the horse doesnt seem to want to rush it.
If the horse anticipates it and starts rushing the trot and rushes into an unblanacned canter then I'd bring them back to trot and get that going again until I ask again.

Keep a really deep seat and dont lean forwards, the more seat in the saddle the more balance and contact you've got with the horse.
When you get the canter you need to collect it and shorten their stride so it will feel less rushed and more balanced, its a bit of a contradiction but you need to use your reins and half halts to slow them but at the same time keep your leg on so they dont fall out the canter!

When you said 'She doesn't seem to understand when I ask her for it' how are you asking her??

let us know how you get on and if she improves!!


New Member
Jan 13, 2002
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if your horse will do walk to canter instead of trot to canter this will bing his hocks further under him so he will star off in a more collectetd canter to begin with.


Apr 4, 2003
Oslo, Norway
Originally posted by Dreamchaser
Hmmmm.... I might try that, but that doesn't mean that she will just go into a fast canter after a few strides.
Remember - she'll go faster if you expect her to. So prepare to keep half halting when you get the canter transition. It's not the end of the world if you overdo the half halts and she slips back to trot either ;) just make sure you never make a quick transition back to canter. It *has* to be from a calm, balanced trot.

If she still can't balance herself I'd say you'll have to work on balance at canter, with or without a rider.
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