How can you tell if it's not a three beat canter? I'm pretty confused by this statement as I just thought canters were always three beat? I'm sorry if that sounds dumb :(
Hey, that’s no problem at all. The canter is supposed to be three beats, but there ends up being variations on that.
This type of four beat canter is because the horse does not have the strength to lift its hind legs as high as it can with its front:
compare that to this pic of Valegro. If you drew a line from hoof to hoof, it would be essentially parallel to the ground, so they’ll land at the same time.
It requires a lot more muscle to do that, rather than give the rider what it wants by making an uphill, expressive canter, but cheating and putting down that hind leg before it getstoo tricky.
The other problem is the horse cheating and throwing down the forelegs quickly so it doesn’t have to power through (aka, Arthur’s favourite move lol). In that type, you’ll see the outside hind land just before the inside hind. It’s not as dramatic as those first 2 pics of the other type of four beat canter, because no one is breeding for that, whereas they are rewarding that exaggerated canter and continuing to breed for it.
So here is the second type of four beat canter:
And lastly, these days you’ll find it in the canter pirouettes bc they are expected to be so tight.
but as this article points out, there are collected and uphill four beat canters were the foreleg lands first, and there are ones bc the horse is just plain ole on the forehand.
First FEI Medium Tour start at the WADYRA Easter Dressage Training Day!
This weekend was definitely an eye-opening experience to moving up a grade. We’ve been at FEI Small Tour for 2 years now and have relaxed into the level so this was a bit of a jump!
Our first test was a bit lack lustre - I rode it in my snaffle and with no spurs which, considering the environment, was a little risky. The test lacked the positive tension we needed for those extra marks and for the clarity and precision in each movement.
The second test was an entirely different story. We donned with spurs and the double bridle and Marb really lifted his game. Our piaffe was there, we got 6/7 of our 1x (he got a little bogged in the surface and I lagged on my last aid), his trot half-passes were forward and flowing. The pirouettes could have been tighter (which was an over correction by me), his passage more balanced and under, his extended trots a little more uphill, and his canter half-pass more accurate, but all of that is things his rider can fix. Overall I was very happy with how he performed.
This is the first step in what looks to be an exciting few months ahead, and I can’t wait to share our journey with you.