Updated: Nov 4, 2022
One of my prerequisites to cantering under saddle is that the horse must be able to canter on the lunge line or at least be able to canter calmly and relaxed in the round pen with the saddle on.
Why do you ask? Well first of all, horses are not accustomed to cantering in a small circle, let alone a small circle with a rider on their back. The horse doesn’t have the muscle development or the balance to properly carry themselves in such a small area at a higher rate of speed.
Not properly preparing your horse to canter before experiencing it undersaddle with a rider can have dire consequences and many first rides at the canter go awry because of lack of preparation.
I for one do not care to “ride out the buck” on a cantering horse nor do I want either of us to have that experience.
Therefore I prep each horse by teaching them to canter relaxed on the lunge line.
This allows me to have a much more emotionally confident and physically capable horse when we begin the canter under saddle.
Correct preparation allows for greater success with no bad experiences.