Three Beats

The first sign that something is amiss in Henryland is when the quality of his canter goes down the tubes. Normally his canter is his best gait, but as I’ve now learned, as soon as it starts to feel stiff and/or it starts wanting to have 4 beats instead of 3, we have a problem. Typically an SI problem.


This was exactly the issue that prompted me to have his SI done a couple weeks ago. Over the past month or so his canter had gone from stiff to occasionally losing the rhythm to pretty consistently four-beat. No bueno. Looked gross, felt even worse. It makes perfect sense when you think about it… sore SI, no longer wants to sit and push. But mostly I know that his canter is not naturally like that, so as soon as we lose that 3-beat purity, it’s a big red flag. Granted, on a naturally tense horse, it’s sometimes hard to tell which is “sore” stiffness and which is “tense” stiffness.

This week I’ve finally bumped his workload back up to normal, which means adding the canter back in. The difference is night and day; Henry magically has 3 beats again. When I get my new jump saddle (oh hey btw, I did a thing yesterday) I can’t wait to jump him again and see how he feels.

Although on one particularly wild day this past weekend we did jump over a natural ditch in the field a few times and then go for a quick gallop, because you can put the eventer in a dressage saddle for a month, but you can’t really take the eventer spirit away. The lady bits were mostly unscathed, so #noregrets.

Henry still has a couple more weeks of his “lighter” summer schedule before we start ramping back up again to prepare for the fall. Conditioning rides will get longer, lessons will start happening again with some regular frequency, and we have a ride-a-test/jumper rounds weekend on the calendar before I go to Germany. We’re only 2 weeks away from opening date for the first fall show. Finally! Hopefully now he’s back to feeling 100% and ready to cart my butt around some fancy Training courses.

17 thoughts on “Three Beats

  1. yay i can finally post again and follow along (Week from hell is DONE). I am glad he is feeling better and glad you found a saddle!! Poor Henry would probably enjoy jumping again. #dressagesucks he says πŸ™‚

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  2. A friend of mine literally just went through the same thing- crappy canter, meant the SI needed injecting, and magically the canter feels like a million bucks again.

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  3. Yep, that damn canter is a pretty good barometer for anything funny going on….a few weeks ago we took a couple lesson horses to a Jr/YR clinic and out of the blue during that clinic one of the horses suddenly had a 4-beat canter to the left. No other sign of off-ness. Fast forward a few weeks ahead and turns out she has an abscess (thanks, non-stop rain!) πŸ˜› Glad H is feeling better!!!

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  4. Yay fall season! Can’t wait to see you guys rock some more Training badassery. πŸ™‚

    So funny about 4-beating. It’s really a different indicator on every horse. With Pig it used to always mean tension, but now it’s pretty regularly because he’s too collected for his level of strength. He’s never really figured out how to lift his front end out of the way in the collected canter (because I haven’t figured out how to keep his squirrely ass straight? What? No? Surely not…lol). That super collected canter without a lifted front end looks like a 4-beat. The difference is which foot is causing it. If his front leg his hitting before the diagonal hind, then it’s collection based. If his hind is hitting before his front? He’s broken. Turns out it’s a pretty common issue in dressage, and a regular training phase for some horses. Kinda interesting.

    Glad he’s feeling better!

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  5. Please forgive my ignorance but is the SI problem he has a problem that can’t be fixed? Knock-on-wood, I haven’t had a horse with SI issues (or at least that I know of). Is it something that once it goes wonky its wonky forever?

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