Improving the Walk and Canter

A horse sometimes gets into the habit of moving its front and back leg on the same side at the same time, thus developing a two-beat pace rather than taking four individual footsteps. This is known as a ‘lateral’ walk.

To correct this, you need to keep the horse in front of your leg. You also need to encourage him slightly sideways. To visualise what you are aiming for, you are trying to place the inside hind leg between the two front legs. This should prevent any further lateral walking and recreate the four-beat rhythm.

The overall aim is to prevent your horse learning to develop a lateral walk in the first instance. You should manage this if you ride slightly in a shoulder fore position. This will also improve the suppleness of a young or stiff horse.

You can assist further by turning your own shoulders in slightly and this will help the horse to follow you. This, in conjunction with accurate use of the reins for a slightly enhanced inside bend, should fix any problems of a lateral walk.

The Canter

 One of the basics for a correct canter is to ensure your horse stays relatively straight. The more relaxed you and your horse are, the easier this becomes. It is important to keep him soft in his outline and active with your leg.

Once again, rhythm is important and with the canter, you are looking for a clear three-beat rhythm. This is helped if your horse has an active hind leg, pushing him forward. It is important that the horse does not lean on the rider’s hand.

The choice of saddle that Gary uses for dressage is the Black Country Dante Dressage.

Said Gary: “I have recently been involved in new saddle designs, coming up with ideas and providing feedback on latest developments and innovations with Black Country Saddles.

“The saddles are just fantastic and as soon as you sit in one they are really comfortable. The leather is soft and supple from day one.”

For more information contact Black Country Saddles on 01543 578 243 or visit