Thank you Vaquero...it's a 3 beat gait. I was watching a Morgan show video-cast. Of the 5 in the class, one was definitely 4 beating the lope and using it's head and neck to lift the front feet off the ground. She must have come from out west some place. I was happy to see it got last place. No one should be rewarding that 'lame' lope.
Well, there should absolutely be three distinct footfalls in the canter. But I have never seen a canter done right that would synch with a waltz.
If the horse is in a three beat gait, in three-four time, something is really wrong. If what you HEAR is four beats, the canter is not right.
So, the three beat SOUND is right...but there is a pause for the 'first-beat' hind foot to come forward after the 'last beat' leading front leg hits the ground. That pause is what makes a canter four-time, not three-time.
The pause is the suspension time. A poor canter with a four-beat sound takes the suspension out of a canter, so there is always a foot on the ground.
Listen sometime to Sousa's Black Horse Troop, he makes use of the 'three sound' by using a triplet figure in a two-four time march. The triplet figure gives the mental picture of a cantering horse, but it is not done in a three meter, it is done in a four meter.
This dressage musical kur video is pretty nice. The composer does the same thing, getting a three-figure (triplet) to get the canter 'sound' but the piece is not in three-four time, it is in four-four time (skip ahead to about 4.40 in the video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uc19U_wjIA
In a walk or a gallop, each of the four feet hits the ground independently, then the pattern repeats. So, listening to the walk or the gallop, you hear 4 distinct footfalls before the pattern repeats. Therefore, a walk and gallop are 4 beat gaits. "Beat" meaning the beat (i.e. the sound) of the hoof striking the ground.
In a trot, the feet hit the ground as diagonal pairs, right front simultaneous with left rear, then left front simultaneously with right rear, then the pattern repeats. So, listening to the trot, you hear 2 distinct footfalls before the pattern repeats. Therefore, a trot is a 2 beat gait.
In a canter/lope, the feet hit the ground as two independent feet and one diagonal pair. On the left lead, it's right hind, then left hind and right front simultaneously, then left front, then the pattern repeats. So, listening to the lope, you hear 3 distinct footfalls before the pattern repeats. Therefore, a lope is a 3 beat gait.
In a trope or 4 beat canter, the diagonal pair that should hit the ground simultaneously instead hit independently, thus if you are listening you hear 4 distinct footfalls before the pattern repeats.
The "pause" in the sound of the footfalls isn't a "beat," it's simply a moment of suspension. It's not a "beat" because you can't hear it. (When you define it in the way I did.)
One thing I learned as a teacher is that you've got to say it in whatever way makes it make sense in your own head. An explanation that makes perfect sense to one person may seem completely senseless to another. The "musical" explanation obviously makes perfect sense to some folks but my reaction to it is more like, "Wha..?" and "Why are you making this so hard?"
For anyone musical, you have to learn to count a 'pause' as a 'beat' as well as a noise (note, footfall, drumbeat, etc). Until you do, reading music makes no sense at all. That's probably why we musical types are so insistent about the pause of suspension being counted as a beat.
Beginner music students practice saying 'rest' out loud (to mark a pause in the music), while tapping a foot along to the music. Then, they learn to say 'rest' in their heads while tapping their foot. It takes a while before most music students can quit tapping a foot to mark the rests and keep time physically with the conductor.
Try this: walk along, singing "Three Blind Mice" to yourself.
"Three" is your left foot. "Blind" is your right foot. "Mice" is left again. "Pause" is your right foot. Then, again, "Three" is left, "Blind" right, "Mice" left, "Pause" right...
"See" is your left foot, "How they" right, "Run" left, "Pause" right...
If you don't count the pause as a beat, the music gets all screwed up
(And a canter won't be the right tempo for Three Blind Mice, I'm not trying to compare it to a canter.)
Well, I was lost at "musical beat", but I'm sending this thread to my coworker who I yak horses to all day long and in turn yaks about music to me.
I remember when I was younger I went to my friends barn who rode wp, and my first and only day there; the trainer made her fillys lips bleed, and when I was petting a geldings face, told me how would I appreciate it if my face was pet? Yeah, I started riding at an English barn after that because my 10 year old self equated that barn to all western.
Fillabeana, I'm about as musical as a rock but I remember my instructor coming back from Germany in the early '70's with a new exercise that involved playing a piece of music and selecting the gait that matched the beat, and sure enough she used the waltz for canter, Blue Danube, roughly this part http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3oHmVhviO8 .
and Katarine, that video is truely awesome in its degree of WRONG. I showed DH and told him that was a lope, he told me I lied.
That video is a perfect example of what I saw winning at the show. And the abuse I took exception to was yanking and spurring if the horse "sped up". Shameful to take an animal as proud and majestic as THE HORSE and do that to them. Shameful!
Gotta love open shows. It is great to read your stories because this is what im living now. My daughter is showing on an open circuit with her friend so I decide to take Henry to one. Henry is a great trail/cow horse and I have shown alot on the ranch horse circuit so he mobes like a ranch horse. But while showing in the trail class, Henry nailed the pattern and another horse in the class fell down while trying to side pass over the pole and reared at the back and refused to walk over the bridge. Now on the way out the ring with my blue ribbon a trainer stopped me to let me know she was taking horses on. I ask if she had any horses in the trail class and she said yes number 123, that was the horse that fell down and showed out. Really you want to claim that? We went on to win the western pleasure class with our normal lope that you can actually move cows with and beat the hop along horses, why because it is a relaxed correct pretty lope. I wouldnt have it any other way. Now thats not to say i wont lose next time. When I got Henry he was a basket case from all the yanking and spurring. He couldnt go three feet at the lope without stopping and going backwards like a lunatic. It was sad. He is only six and he has had the life worked out of him. Our vet says that his legs bowed from over work so when i got him he had a yr off and then started back lightly and he rides like a pro. If people had compassion anymore they would not treat animals like they do.
I'm so busy.....I don't know if I found a rope or lost my horse.
Alright put your big girl panties on and deal with it!
My husband first started taking me to open shows about 10 years ago. He isn't a horse person (he helps fund my passion, helps with the rescue when necessary, takes me to shows, and he pets noses. That's about it). He watched the warm up and came over to me to ask what the heck was wrong with half the horses, they were crippled and shouldn't be there. I just sighed. And watched some of the crippled moving horses beat us.
But I have insisted on doing it right, and sometimes we beat those horses. I remember who the good judges are and watch for shows they're at.