My Horse! (Did you know horses trot in duple meter and canter in triple meter?)
This post will be short and sweet, like your kids when they’re sleepy and want to cuddle before the over-tired meltdown period begins. Or like the horse in the song, snuggling up into a lovely grassy knoll.
The song “My Horse” is super cool because the rhythm of the song actually changes with the rhythm of a horse’s gate. The fast part of the song, “So fast so fast my horse can go…” is written in triple meter, which mimics how a horse canters in a 3-beat pattern. The slow part, “And when he needs a little rest, we find that trotting is the best…” is in a duple meter or a 2-beat pattern, just like a horse’s trot!
(For a more thorough explanation of duple and triple meters, check out the Go Mommy post.)
Horses and dogs (and actually all other 4-legged creatures) have different gates that are distinguishable by how fast the animal is moving and when their legs hit the ground at different times.
When a horse trots, 1 front leg and 1 back leg hit the ground at the same time. This produces a bouncy 2-beat pattern as they move. See how the rider below is bouncing up and down? This horse is demonstrating duple meter excellently for us. Great job, friend! So, in the song “My Horse,” we sing about trotting in duple meter. Logical!
When a horse canters, it speeds up from a trot and strikes the ground in a 3 beat pattern. It pushes off the ground with one hind leg, then strikes the ground with the other hind leg and the diagonal front leg together, and then the last front leg hits. Then there’s a period where the horse is suspended in the air and all 4 legs are off the ground. (This sounds confusing, but if you watch the gif and count “1-2-3, 1-2-3” in your head it helps.) SO we sing about going fast on a horse in triple meter, which mimics the canter! Woohoo! So cool!
When you’re doing this song at home with your kids, you’re setting them up to be excellent equestrians one day!? Actually, feeling the difference between duple and triple meter in the same song is a really clear way to understand both. And it’s just super cool that this mimics how horses move in real life! For older kids, encourage them to try cantering and trotting on their own. For the little ones, pick them up so they can feel you bouncing around to the different beats.
Now go get those sleepy cuddles before nap time. Au revoir!