When a pony canters, it goes faster than if it were trotting and slower than a gallop. This means that you don't need to rise out of the saddle as you do when galloping. Rather, you stay sitting up straight. When the pony leads with its left leg, the order of the legs touching the ground in the canter is as follows: right rear leg, left rear leg and left front leg. This movement means that you will feel a rocking motion as you canter [source: Sport Polo]. Executing a good canter is something a pony needs to learn, as it requires good balance. Before a pony can canter it must trot [source: Eldridge].
Here's how to bring your pony to a canter:
- Ride your pony at a trot.
- Exert pressure with your legs and give a mild kick with your heels. This will speed up the pony.
- Relax your hands while you hold onto the reins. This will allow the pony to nod its head up and down as it canters. Your hands should move back and forth as your pony's head moves up and down.
- Keep your back straight but flexible.
- Allow your hips to move with the pony [source: Sport Polo].
- Return to a trot if you feel that your pony's canter is becoming irregular and unbalanced.
- Allow the pony to slow down. Ponies shouldn't trot quickly after a canter [source: Eldridge].
While you and your pony are still learning how to canter, let your pony canter for short periods, interspersed with slow trotting [source: Eldridge].