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If there is anyone that can talk about hot horses on a hack, it is me.  My horse Shandy was a complete nightmare on hacks.  He would attem...

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

How To Stop Your Horse Bucking In Canter

I had a huge problem with cantering my horse a few months ago.  Shandy was almost galloping off and bucking with me in a very unbalanced way.  I have finally have figured out how to get my horse's canter to be balanced and how to stop him bucking and running off in canter. 

Why It Happens

When horses run off or buck in canter it is usually due to two things, they are not strong enough and are unbalanced.  These two problems are linked, so you usually won't get one without the other.  When your horse is not strong enough to carry himself into canter correctly (engage with back lifted and hind legs pushing) he will transition into canter in an unbalanced manner.  

The problem is, you can only strengthen your horse so much without cantering BUT allowing your horse to cant in the wrong way will not help.  I have found that my horse Shandy would completely run off in canter, bucking occasionally and then struggle to come back to trot.  This caused him to run off in trot extremely fast as well.  

I am pretty lucky that my yard owner is very experienced in training horses.  She has broken in and trained (to the point of perfection) many stallions.  She rides western BUT western and English training styles are way more similar than you may think.  Anyway, she taught me how to balance Shandy's canter, which I can now share with you.  

Transitions Are Everything

There is no point in cantering your horse if the canter transition isn't balanced.  Working on the initial canter transition will fix your problems.  You should ask for canter and then immediately ask for a canter to walk transition.  You want to repeat this exercise until your horse is going into canter smoothly and is coming back to walk by 'sitting up' (you will feel it when the transition is correct) without trotting or being hard to stop.  

You can then add two canter strides to this exercise to see if he is more balanced or still struggles.  Remember to only allow balanced strides, going back to walk when you feel the canter is not correct.    

Half Halting to a balanced canter

Now that you have the transitions working well you can actually start cantering a little.  So, building on the above exercise you will add 5 strides.  After the first two strides, half halt your horse.  You do this by giving your halt or down transition aids before squeezing forward again.  Canter for two more strides and then go back to walk.  

You can then slowly build up the number of strides as long as they are balanced and he is listening to your half halts.  You can also start transitioning down to trot instead of canter by half halting before the transition.  


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.