We’ve talked about the basic terms in canter, but another concept beginners to horse riding need to know is that of the ‘disunited canter.’
What is this, why does it happen and how do you correct it?
How to Tell When Your Horse’s Canter is Disunited
Once you’ve been cantering for a while you’ll have a feel for the correct lead and the gait’s proper footfall sequence.
Some horses exhibit another footfall sequence when cantering, known as ‘disunited.’ The front legs are cantering to a different lead from the back legs. Sitting on a horse in disunited canter feels very awkward.
What is the Reason for Disunited Canter and What Can You Do?
Here are two possible reasons for this problem.
Sore Back or Hindquarters
A common reason is soreness or stiffness in the back and/or hind end. The horse is trying to tell you that cantering on one particular lead is painful for him, and he compensates for this by continuing to canter on his ‘good’ lead behind.
If you suspect this is the reason, have your horse checked out by an equine chiropractor. This will help sort out any back and hind end issues your horse may have. Your job will then be to ensure the way you ride supples your horse and makes it easy for him to carry you and canter correctly.
Another reason for disunited canter may be incorrect application of the aids. Your inside leg may be too far back while your outside one is not far back enough, or you may be unbalanced in the saddle.
For beginners horse riding the correct way takes time and practice, so check that you’re giving the horse the best chance of cantering ‘true’ by reviewing the aids you use to ask him.
We should always ask ourselves what we can do to help the horse perform before blaming him for any ‘issues.’ Sometimes the answer is really easy!