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Four Beat Canter

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  • Four Beat Canter

    I'm doing some personal research about gaits, and I have a technical question about the Four Beat canter.

    The foot falls of a true three beat canter look like this:

    Left lead- RH : LH-RF : LF
    Right lead- LH : RH-LF : RF

    In the four beat canter, the diagonal pair of inside hind and outside fore, don't hit the ground at the same time as they do in the true canter.

    What I'm looking into, is that there are apparently two different kinds of four beat canters.

    Here are the two different four beat canters using the Left Lead as an example:

    1) RH : LH lands just before the RF : LF

    2) RH : RF lands just before the LH : LF

    Do these two different four beat canters have different names?

    And what are the typical reasons why a horse might do one type or the other?

  • #2
    I'm not sure as to why a horse might have each incorrect type of canter. It could be bad training or simply bad gaits to start with.

    The second exemple is called lateral canter though. I think because each lateral pair of feet move together. (RH/RF and LH/LF)
    Via SillyHorse: "Honey, if you paid that much for a 'clinic', you are the gold plated sucker."
    The self-proclaimed old-thread-reader.

    Comment


    • #3
      In my limited experience, I have found that Option 1 tends to come about as an evasion from the horse. When the rider is trying to collect, and instead of engaging more, the horse slows down it's tempo until it becomes a four beat canter.

      While on the other hand, Option 2 is usually a fault in the horse's basic paces. That is a lateral canter, and in this canter, there is minimal jump in the canter.

      Now don't quote me on this, because this is only from personal experience.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Eventer90210 View Post
        I'm not sure as to why a horse might have each incorrect type of canter. It could be bad training or simply bad gaits to start with.

        The second exemple is called lateral canter though. I think because each lateral pair of feet move together. (RH/RF and LH/LF)
        Thank you!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Xpression View Post
          In my limited experience, I have found that Option 1 tends to come about as an evasion from the horse. When the rider is trying to collect, and instead of engaging more, the horse slows down it's tempo until it becomes a four beat canter.

          While on the other hand, Option 2 is usually a fault in the horse's basic paces. That is a lateral canter, and in this canter, there is minimal jump in the canter.

          Now don't quote me on this, because this is only from personal experience.
          I'm hoping someone may confirm this, because this is exactly the type of information I am looking for.

          Thank you!

          Comment


          • #6
            Option 1 is the footfall for a "gallop"

            IMO, option 2 is what happens when the horse is improperly ridden in collection, gets slow, but not balanced, too heavy in front still, and not quick enough behind. Think QH lope.

            Sometimes you see young horses with super forward and uphill canters that technically are doing type 1 four beating. Also #1 happens in the canter pirouettes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Lateral canters are common in gaited horses- they gait in four beats...so a three beat canter is hard on their brains. My big SSH mare has a very lateral canter- push her ON and Go ON Maggie and she'll trust herself and do it...but those first few strides it's like sitting on a horse with oars instead of legs

              Option one is from bad training .

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NorCalDressage View Post
                Option 1 is the footfall for a "gallop"

                IMO, option 2 is what happens when the horse is improperly ridden in collection, gets slow, but not balanced, too heavy in front still, and not quick enough behind. Think QH lope.

                Sometimes you see young horses with super forward and uphill canters that technically are doing type 1 four beating. Also #1 happens in the canter pirouettes.
                So what happens if the horse is doing the footfalls for a gallop, but is moving at a 'working/collected' canter pace?

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK, I'll put my hand up here...

                  My horse developed a lateral canter after he tied up very badly and ended up with damaged muscles in his hindquarters, and it's been a bugger to eradicate.

                  He's sound, but weak behind, and I think the lateral canter is just easier for him, especially as we ask for more collection. I have to focus very hard to keep him really straight.

                  We can be going fabulously at home, then go to a show where we are both more stressed, lose that focus, and up it pops. And we get (quite rightly) hammered for it on our gait scores.

                  I'm learning that absolute straightness is the key. Hard work though. I've never had a horse I've had to think so hard on! Totally worth it if I get it right.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    http://nicholnl.wcp.muohio.edu/Dingo...deContent.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Option 1 is also what you see in the canter pirouette.

                      The only time I have personally seen Option 2 is in a dressage show warm-up. It always looked to me like the horse was troting behind and cantering in front. (Ive seen this at least tqice this year and always very begineer type situations - begineer rider and trainer)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Option number 2 lateral canter is what my horse came with off the track. I don't know if it was his natural gait (leaning towards this) or if it's something he learned at the track (tension related maybe?). It took a LOT of time and learning on my part as a rider to fix it, but it is gone now. It took a lot of strength on his part to hold together a good 3 beat canter. The lateral canter still shows up when he's had some time off and loses strength, or once in a while if he's tired or tense, but otherwise his canter work is great.
                        Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
                        Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
                        My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NorCalDressage View Post
                          Option 1 is the footfall for a "gallop"

                          IMO, option 2 is what happens when the horse is improperly ridden in collection, gets slow, but not balanced, too heavy in front still, and not quick enough behind. Think QH lope.

                          Sometimes you see young horses with super forward and uphill canters that technically are doing type 1 four beating. Also #1 happens in the canter pirouettes.


                          Paul Belasik talks about the old masters using a four beat canter to develope these things. With the modern day focus on gaits it's almost always considered incorrect. Of course, I would think, not too many of us would know how to use it without really confusing or taking the chance of ruining the natural canter.
                          Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NorCalDressage View Post
                            Option 1 is the footfall for a "gallop"

                            IMO, option 2 is what happens when the horse is improperly ridden in collection, gets slow, but not balanced, too heavy in front still, and not quick enough behind. Think QH lope.

                            Sometimes you see young horses with super forward and uphill canters that technically are doing type 1 four beating. Also #1 happens in the canter pirouettes.


                            Paul Belasik talks about the old masters using a four beat canter to develope these things. With the modern day focus on gaits it's almost always considered incorrect. Of course, I would think, not too many of us would know how to use it without really confusing or taking the chance of ruining the natural canter.
                            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GallantGesture View Post
                              Option number 2 lateral canter is what my horse came with off the track. I don't know if it was his natural gait (leaning towards this) or if it's something he learned at the track (tension related maybe?). It took a LOT of time and learning on my part as a rider to fix it, but it is gone now. It took a lot of strength on his part to hold together a good 3 beat canter. The lateral canter still shows up when he's had some time off and loses strength, or once in a while if he's tired or tense, but otherwise his canter work is great.
                              No I'm unclear of what a lateral canter is - I was thinking of a lateral canter as: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jD-7qRHSCw but the footfalls are not like option 2???

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                You can get a 4 beat canter when the footfall in front is delayed by extra time spent off the ground whilst turning in a pirouette.
                                Also,when the horse has DAP in the trot,where the front foot lands marginally after the diagonal hind,that DAP will still be evident in the canter,where the inside hind and outside fore leg are actually still in the trot sequence.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thank everyone for all the good info.

                                  One of my interests on this subject, is using observations at the canter of either the inside hind, or outside fore leg landing on the ground before the other, and considering that as an indicator of possible causes of lameness.

                                  Anyone have any interesting lameness stories that caused a horse to canter in four beats with the inside-hind/outside-fore foot falls tending to land on either the fore or hind first?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    On the H/J thread, the video of Rhumba was offered as an example of a lateral canter, which is:

                                    2) RH : RF lands just before the LH : LF

                                    Rhumba:
                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaKaLwvIOCg

                                    It appears that Rhumba's canter is:

                                    RH : RF : Brief Moment of Suspension : LH : LF


                                    A four beat canter, which has the same footfalls as a gallop but without the speed, is essentially a canter with minimal jump. This is my new horse, who has suffered through a lot of bad rides, and now has a tendency to go four beat. (Sorry the video is such bad quality, I took it on my phone, sitting on the arena ledge):

                                    http://www.youtube.com/user/FaceOfTh.../0/a5ghITvnnHU

                                    His footfalls are:

                                    1) RH : LH lands just before the RF : LF

                                    I'm tempted to say that it looks as of his RH and LF do not leave the ground enough to have a true moment of suspension, and that is what causes the four beat.


                                    Your thoughts?

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Xpression View Post
                                      On the H/J thread, the video of Rhumba was offered as an example of a lateral canter, which is:

                                      2) RH : RF lands just before the LH : LF

                                      Rhumba:
                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaKaLwvIOCg

                                      It appears that Rhumba's canter is:

                                      RH : RF : Brief Moment of Suspension : LH : LF


                                      A four beat canter, which has the same footfalls as a gallop but without the speed, is essentially a canter with minimal jump. This is my new horse, who has suffered through a lot of bad rides, and now has a tendency to go four beat. (Sorry the video is such bad quality, I took it on my phone, sitting on the arena ledge):

                                      http://www.youtube.com/user/FaceOfTh.../0/a5ghITvnnHU

                                      His footfalls are:

                                      1) RH : LH lands just before the RF : LF

                                      I'm tempted to say that it looks as of his RH and LF do not leave the ground enough to have a true moment of suspension, and that is what causes the four beat.


                                      Your thoughts?
                                      If your horse jogs sound and there are no suspicions of lameness.

                                      Then, as others had suggested over in the HJ version of this thread, I'd say a horse who four beats with the hind landing first may possibly be doing so due to a lack of impulsion or improper training.

                                      This is what I see with the western pleasure horses that are backed off the bridle too much when training them to lope.

                                      Just an idea, but perhaps working him more forwards with a very light contact, and giving more to him with more elastic shoulders, elbows and hands.

                                      I think I'd rather see him moving more like a hunter first, working on developing impulsion and the purity of the gate, and then bring him more into the bridle after he understands what forward means first.
                                      Last edited by alterhorse; Aug. 2, 2011, 08:55 PM.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Xpression View Post
                                        On the H/J thread, the video of Rhumba was offered as an example of a lateral canter, which is:

                                        2) RH : RF lands just before the LH : LF

                                        Rhumba:
                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaKaLwvIOCg

                                        It appears that Rhumba's canter is:

                                        RH : RF : Brief Moment of Suspension : LH : LF


                                        A four beat canter, which has the same footfalls as a gallop but without the speed, is essentially a canter with minimal jump. This is my new horse, who has suffered through a lot of bad rides, and now has a tendency to go four beat. (Sorry the video is such bad quality, I took it on my phone, sitting on the arena ledge):

                                        http://www.youtube.com/user/FaceOfTh.../0/a5ghITvnnHU

                                        His footfalls are:

                                        1) RH : LH lands just before the RF : LF

                                        I'm tempted to say that it looks as of his RH and LF do not leave the ground enough to have a true moment of suspension, and that is what causes the four beat.


                                        Your thoughts?
                                        Well, I could definitely be wrong, but IMO, your horse is actually demonstrating type 2 (front touching before hind) canter footfalls, not 1.

                                        It's always tricky to tell, but I watched and freeze framed a few different moments, and rewatched many times and I see him putting down the LF down before the RH. IMO, for this horse, it looks to stem from a lack of impulsion. Lack of impulsion is why there is not enough jump in his canter.


                                        I think there can be several reasons why "type 1" occurs. It was found that the best scoring young horses were actually demonstrating this type of canter instead of a true 3 beat canter. I think it can be similar to DAP in trot. I also think that horses with super free shoulders can demonstrate this, maybe because of the freedom, the horse's "path" that the whole foreleg makes is longer, therefore it's touching the ground later. Just a thought though.

                                        Comment

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