Free Guide from Top Trainer Julie Goodnight
Download your FREE guide from top trainer Julie Goodnight to help you tackle your fear of the canter and become a better rider.
MyHorse Daily Editor Amy Herdy
Where did you learn how to ride a horse at the canter? Or do you canter your horse yet?
At the risk of sounding like a relic, when I first started riding horses as a kid in Kentucky, I rode with a cluster of other kids of various ages and sizes, and we didn’t do ground work. We made our way after school and on weekends to the horse park where we boarded our various horses and ponies in order to tack up as quickly as we could and raced out at a mad canter onto the infield of the track for a crazy game of pony tag.
One or two in the crowd had riding lessons from a local horse trainer to learn how to be a better rider, but the rest of us picked up tips on how to ride a horse from books, watching the grownups or each other. Or from hard knocks.
Julie Goodnight with horse friend Dually. | Photo by Heidi Nyland Melocco
We were seemingly made of rubber back then. Like Tigger, we’d get thrown and bounce back up. I remember one afternoon my friend Jeannie turned to me from atop her tall blue roan mare (named appropriately, “Blue”), and said, “Hey, wanna help me teach Blue
how to ride double?”
“Sure!” I replied, immediately climbing on behind Jeannie and the two of us taking off at a canter on Blue, who was not pleased with the arrangement and let us know by kicking up her heels enough to unseat us both.
We hit the ground, ping-ponged back up and onto Blue’s back, where we again set off at a canter, and again she promptly threw us off.
Other friends drew near and began shouting encouraging horse training and horse riding tips, like, “Grip harder with your legs!”
Knowing what I do now about natural horsemanship, I realize that our desperate clutching of poor Blue like a couple of mussels on the side of a ship only ramped up the mare’s anxiety.
And since we were more relentless than she was contrary, Blue eventually forgave our idiocy and agreed to carry both of us on her back, while we congratulated each other on our horse training skills.
Overcome Your Anxiety of the Canter
Would you like to know how to seamlessly cue the canter, and then how to ride a horse at the canter in a graceful way? Julie Goodnight's Tips for Riding a Horse: How to Ride a Horse at the Canter offers expert advice on how to relax in the saddle.
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