You may not know it if you’ve never taking time off from riding, but sitting the canter well is an art that we riders have to maintain.

Posting the trot is like riding a bike—once you learn it, your body remembers how to do it even if you don’t do it for years. But the canter seat? That’s another matter. You get good at it only if you do it…over and over…and over again.

The three-beat rhythm of the canter can feel amazing, even rather relaxing, once you and your horse get into it and establish steadiness and balance. Just think, “One, two, buckle-my-shoe…” as you go.

But every horse is different and while some canters are like rocking chairs, others are more like rollercoasters. Some horses keep it steady while others speed up or slow down.

The best riders maintain their seats, glued to the saddle and following the horse’s movement with their hips, regardless. “Going with” the horse seamlessly is an important (and glorious!) element of riding well. But you have to go on a journey to get there!

So how do you learn how to sit the canter well, regardless of whether you’re riding Lovely Lucy the Lesson Pony or Rollicking Rocky the Racehorse?

First, focus on riding the canter with equal weight in both stirrups and going with the rhythm. This will help you move forward with a stronger, more balanced position.

Next step, once you’re strong enough: ride without stirrups. If your usual mount is green or tends to get fast or unpredictable at the canter, find a reliable, quiet mount with a steady canter rhythm to practice on.

Do you tend to slide in the saddle to one side or the other? That’s a lack of centeredness and balance. You need to fix that.

But how?

Tune in to our next blog for more detailed instructions and safe practice tips!

Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1416369