Cranford High Hopes is with me for development for February. I started him under saddle a few years ago, but he has since not been ridden or worked with.
He arrived 4 days before this video was filmed. I did a groundwork refresher the day after he arrived, then he had a day off, and then had another groundwork session to put the tools in place to be able to relax him. Groundwork is not lungeing. In fact, chasing a horse in circles would add to their anxiety rather than ‘run off their excess energy’.If you want to see some examples of what true groundwork is there are other videos on the Heartfelt Horsemanship channel, as well as a video on why we don’t recommend lungeing.
High Hopes did well overall, with only a few moments losing focus. Focus needs to be worked on in order to grow, so I didn’t have high expectations of how long he can hold focus for on his first ride back. This is also why I keep early sessions shorter and build the length as the horses’ focus grows.
I mention his very exuberant licks and chews on the video and I believe this is directly linked to how long it has been since he has had to focus. Massive releases like this are normally only present in horses that have a high level of anxiety or are very checked out. High Hopes is neither of these things, so I was confused by it initially, but I think we will see them for the first week or so while his focus grows. I will update on this aspect as we continue with his refresher course.