1. The canter is a
pace of "three time", where at canter to the right, for instance, the footfalls follow one another as follows: left hind, left diagonal (simultaneously left fore and right hind), right fore, followed by a movement of suspension with all four feet in the air before the next stride begins.
2. The canter always with light, cadenced and regular strides, should be moved into without hesitation.
3. The quality of the canter is judged by the general impression, the regularity and
lightness of the three time pace
originated in the acceptance of the bridle with a supple poll and in the engagement of the hindquarters with an active hock action and by the ability of maintaining the same rhythm and a natural balance even after a transition from one canter to another. The horse should always remain straight on straight lines.
4. The following canters are recognised: working canter, collected canter, medium canter and extended canter. (Classical dressage recognises the school canter.)
4.1 Collected Canter. The horse remaining on the bit moves
forward with his neck raised and arched. The collected canter is marked by the lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters: i.e., is characterised by supple, free and mobile shoulders and very active quarters. The horse's strides are shorter than at the other canters but he is lighter and more mobile.
4.2 Working Canter. This is a pace between the collected and
the medium canter in which a horse, not yet trained and ready for collected movements, shows himself properly balanced and remaining on the bit, goes forward with even, light and cadenced strides and good hock action. The expression "good hock action" does not mean that collection is a required quality of the working canter. It only underlines the importance of an impulsion originated from the activity of the hindquarters.
4.3 Medium Canter. This is a pace between the working and the extended canter. The
horse goes forward with free, balanced and
moderately extended strides and an obvious impulsion from the hindquarters. The rider allows the horse remaining on the bit to carry his head a little more in front of the vertical than at the collected and working canter and allows him at the same time to lower his head and neck slightly. The strides should be long and as even as possible and the whole movement balanced and unconstrained.
4.4 Extended Canter. The horse covers as much ground as possible. Maintaining the same
rhythm he lengthens his strides to
the utmost without losing any of his calmness and lightness as a result of great impulsion from the hindquarters. The rider allows the horse remaining on the bit without leaning on it to lower and extend his head and neck; the tip of his nose pointing more or less forward.
4.5 The cadence in the transitions from medium canter as well as from extended canter to collected canter should be maintained.