Cantering Help: My Horse Can’t Canter

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Question: Julie,

I have just gotten another horse that I have fallen in love with!!! She is a Fox Walker (Tennese Walker Fox Troter) Buckskin…. I have been working hard on my balance as well as her and to teach her what I need and want her to do. She has been responding well other than no matter what I do I can NOT get her to canter. Even when I see her out in the field she does that shuffle trot. I am not sure what I am doing wrong or if she is just not a canter horse.

Sounds funny, I know, but she always acts like she is ready to go and then when I start to let her loose I feel like I am skating across the field instead of doing even a distant lope! I have no clue what to do but I am ready for some tips!

Tyrayl

Answer: Tyrayl,

Many gaited horses have difficulty with the canter. Although some gaited horses are five gaited, meaning they can walk-trot-canter in addition to their other gaits, some are not and only possess the ability to gait. If he is not able to canter out in the field on his own, it is unlikely that he could do it under saddle. As the saying goes, that dog don’t hunt.

While an experienced trainer may be able to draw the canter out of your horse, it is probably not worth it to send him to a trainer. Many gaited horse trainers do not allow their horses to canter, even if they are so inclined, in order to emphasize the other gaits and ‘set’ the horse in its gaits. I would suggest you be happy with the gaits that your horse has (that’s why you got a gaited horse to begin with, right?) and forget about the canter. Or get a Quarter Horse 😉 You can’t have everything! She sounds like a great horse—enjoy!

JG

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