Canter: a three-beat gait of a horse or other quadruped between a trot and a gallop.
Nearly every sweeping image of horse gliding across the earth in a fluid motion is capturing that horse mid-canter. The canter is a smooth, graceful movement. The horse's hooves meet the ground in a steady beat more akin to floating than pounding. The image is breathtaking as the mighty steed's power and majesty is on full display.
For the horse back rider, the canter can be a challenging rhythm to master. The speed alone can cause the body to tense and the hands to clench around the reigns with rigidity. Although the horse may be yearning to run with seamless, free-flowing ease, the ride is halted and stiff. The horse struggles to maintain his cadence with an anxious rider at ill-ease on the saddle.
With the right rider, a rider experienced and comfortable on the horse's back, makes for a beautiful image of the unity between man and animal. As the horse moves, the advanced equestrian relaxes into the saddle, their body moving in perfect synchronization to the pace of the horse. The shoulders are loose. The sit bones glide up and down with an effortless lightness. The hands rest comfortably as the reigns slide easily against the horse's mane. The whole motion looks effortless. The meeting of the majestic horse with the delicate frame of his rider is a glorious sight to behold.
This is the only way the canter can look beautiful. The horse must be strong and mighty; the rider relaxed and at ease. As the two travel along in unison, the canter, three powerful, rhythmic beats, is an experience and a sight of wonder.
It isn't ironic or a coincidence that God made the canter to be this way - three beats, majestic, powerful and only beautiful when it is done with a relaxed and comfortable unity. That is precisely how God has intended man to ride along the trail of life with Christ as the Mighty One. Men and women, you and I, are to be the at-ease rider. Like the canter, to ride with God through this life with beauty worthy of an illustration is to relax into the saddle placed along His back. It is to connect with three essential beats, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God's canter is more majestic than the horses and more challenging to master. Riding with God requires a trust that surpasses understanding and a willingness to release the hands and let Christ's movement take the lead. The rider will look pained and anxious with hands taut and shoulders tight. The movement won't look fluid, beautiful or enjoyable with a face filled with fear and a back stiff scared as the speed increases. Balance will be challenged but it need not the throw the rider off the course or separate him from God's security.
A canter at the speed, pace and gait of Christ can be the most glorious, enjoyable and peaceful ride imaginable. The saddle of the Lord is secure. His feet will never fail. All that is required to enjoy His ride and master His canter is to sit back and relax. Simply trust and obey the gait of the Mighty and Powerful God.