If you’ve ever watched a polo chukker or just happened by while the Denver Polo Club folks are riding, chances are you’ve seen them posting the canter. They do that pretty much all the time.

We eventing, hunter-jumper and dressage riders—not to mention Western riders—almost never do this, though! (We sit, we ride light seat or we’re in full half seat, out of the saddle.)

But learning to post the canter has some great benefits. It helps with balance, rhythm and developing an independent seat, and it’s not rocket science why those things are hugely helpful for any rider!

If you can post the canter, you’ll become a stronger, more tuned-in rider. You can also use it as a tool to stabilize your horse’s speed without using the reins.

Unlike posting the trot, the canter motion doesn’t toss you out of the saddle. This exercise is all about rhythm. It’s still 1-2-1-2, but slower.

The canter is a three-beat rhythm, though! So you may be wondering, how to get a 1-2 post out of it. Well, try it! You’ll figure it out.

Remember, the canter rhythm is like ba-da-dum, ba-da-dum, ba-da-dum. Think “One, two, buckle-my-shoe.” Just divide that song rhythm into twos and you’ll find a post that feels longer and slower than a posting trot. It swings along easily.

There isn’t one proper leg to rise with akin to the trot diagonal—just pick a beat to rise on and then stay consistent.

As you learn to post the canter, your balance and strength will improve as well as your awareness of your horse’s strides. For certain horses, this exercise can also help a lot with establishing and maintaining consistent rhythm.

A note: while polo players post the canter almost all the time, generally in the English disciplines we don’t do this at shows. Simply use it as a training exercise during your schooling rides.