Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Gallop on a Horse

In an appropriate setting, riding a fast horse can be great fun. Galloping is faster than trotting or cantering. Therefore, if you cannot yet trot or canter on a horse with confidence, don't try to gallop. When you do attempt a gallop, it's important to build up the speed gradually or you could find it hard to control your horse. Always start with a trot, proceed to a canter and then break into a gallop [source: Biggs]. Here are some pointers about how to gallop on a horse.

  • Lean forward once you are in a canter, with your body slightly raised from the saddle. Use the pressure of your legs to make the horse go faster at a steady rate.
  • Use your knees to support you as you ride. Don't balance yourself by pulling the reins and don't be tempted to go too fast.
  • Hold the reins in both hands in the bridge configuration. This means holding the reins in one hand between your thumb and forefinger. Let a short length of the reins go across the horse's neck, and hold the reins in the thumb and forefinger of your other hand. Your hands could lie on the neck of the horse. Holding the reins in this way will give you more control over the horse.
  • Use the reins to get the horse to slow down, when it's time to stop. Return to a sitting position in the saddle. If you want to stop but the horse doesn't want to do so, simply remain sitting straight in the saddle and steer the horse in smaller and smaller circles. The horse will go slower and slower in order to keep its balance and you will be able to come to a stop [source: Equine World].