By nature, the canter is the gait in which the horse runs away from danger. In dressage, the canter is used to show controlled exercises such as the canter change.
Canter is a three beat gait but it also has a moment in which all 4 legs of the horse are in the air. There is a left- and a right-canter. In the right canter, the right pair of legs comes further forward while in the left canter, the left pair of legs comes more forward.
In the right canter the legs are lifted and put down in the following order:
- Left hind leg
- The diagonal pair: right hind leg + left front leg at the same time
- Right front leg
- All legs in the air