Horse & Pony Gaits Explained
Review the animations and graphics below to better understand the walk, trot, canter, and gallop.
The walk is a gait with four beats. It does not have a moment of suspension and it averages 4 mph.
The trot has two beats, averages 6 mph and has a moment of suspension. The legs move in diagonal pairs.
1st Beat: Left Fore Leg/Right Hind Leg
2nd Beat: Right Fore Leg/Left Hind Leg
The canter is a gait with three beats. It averages 8 mph and has a moment of suspension. A western canter is called a lope.
What Are Canter Leads?
When you canter, there’s always a leading front leg that stretches out further than the other leg. This is usually the inside leg if you’re riding in an arena. If you’re going around the arena in the right direction, your horse’s right front leg should lead at the canter.
Right Lead Canter
Left Lead Canter
The gallop has four beats, averages 15 mph and has a moment of suspension. A hand gallop isn’t actually a gallop, but a faster canter.
Right Lead Gallop
Left Lead Gallop
Visit other related learning pages with games and quizzes
Posting Trot Diagonals
As riders learn the mechanics of the trot and the up and down motion their seat makes in the saddle, they quickly learn that there is rhyme and reason of when to rise and fall.
The ABCs of Riding Arena Etiquette
Learn more about politely sharing a riding arena with other riders.