Cantering Tips
    Are you having trouble getting your horse to canter? Do you get the wrong lead often? Don't worry, it happens to everyone! Just read this page and solve all of your cantering problems!
Asking Your Horse to Canter

First of all, let's look at the correct way to pick up the canter:
*Place your inside leg (the one closest to the middle of the arena) by the girth.
*Place your outside leg (the one by the fence) behing the girth.
*Squeeze with your inside rein. Your horse should turn his head slightly to the middle.
*Squeeze with your outside leg (the one behind the girth).
Make sure that you are only squeezing with your outside leg!
Get Moving!

Before you ask for the canter, your horse should be moving at a brisk pace. If your horse is trotting lazily, it will take more time for him to get the energy to canter. Gather up your reins, sit deeply, have good posture, and get him moving! Then, ask for the canter.
Lead Confusion

How do you tell if your horse is on the correct lead? Well, if your horse has the correct lead, his inside leg should go out further than his outside leg. In other words, the leg closest to the middle of the arena should go out further.

When you are on the correct lead, the canter will feel smooth. If you are on the wrong lead, the canter may feel unbalanced and awkward.

Some riders can tell which lead they are on by feel. But, if you can't, just glance down at the inside leg (leg closest to the middle) and see if it is going out further than the outside leg (leg by the fence). Only glance down with your eyes, don't lean forward.
Have the Wrong Lead?

If you are the wrong lead, (the leg closest to the fence [outside leg] is going out further) immediately bring your horse back to a trot. If you are close to a corner of the arena, ask your horse to canter (see above) as you go around the corner. If you are not near a corner, do a large circle so that your horse will bend his body and ask for the correct lead. Once he picks up the correct lead, return to riding around the arena. Pat your horse so that he is on the correct lead.

Still Have it Wrong?

Are you
still getting the wrong lead?  Lunge your horse on a lunge line. If he picks up the correct lead, the problem is probably the rider. Maybe you are ridng unbalanced. Sign up for lessons with an instructor who can help.

Sometimes, this will work. As you ride into a corner, pull with your outside (by the fence) rein to make your horse turn his head. Then, pull with the inside (by the middle) rien and make your horse turn his head again. Then, ask for the canter. Doing this will unbalance your horse and he will usually start off with the inside leg. Try this exercise several times until your horse gets the correct lead every time. Then, go back to the correct way of asking to canter (see above).

Another Tip

When you are trotting, look at the outside leg (by the fence). When your horse's outside leg goes under him, ask for the canter. When your horse's outside leg goes under, he is just about ready to push off of his outside hind leg. This is the leg that influences his canter.
All Info above re-wrote Young Rider
Just Can't Get Going?

Can you pick up the canter? If you normally ride with a whip or spurs, you may be relying on your whip or spurs too much. Start riding without a whip or spurs.

On the other hand, maybe your horse is just a slow poke. Don't let him ignore your leg! If everything else fails, you may need to start riding with a whip or spurs. Just make sure that you don't rely on them too much! Always try to use your leg first and then use whip/spurs as a last resort.