Definition: A counter canter is a lope in the outside lead. That is, I ask my horse to lope in the right lead if we are in a left circle.
Although almost all reining trainers now use the counter canter as a training tool, I remember a time when almost no one did. And, though most trainers now use the counter canter to school lead changes, there was a time when many trainers didn’t school lead changes at all – they just rode horses that naturally changed. Fortunately for me, I never was of that mind set and my mentor, Vern Sapergia, taught me how to train a horse to change leads.
“Those reiners have the option of picking another futurity prospect if a horse is not a natural lead changer,” he said. “We don’t. We may have only one or two in our barn so we better have a lead change program.” That's when I started counter cantering my horses.