Does your horse drift away from the Jug or other obstacles on the approach?
It could be that your horse does not like the looks of the obstacle and they trust their own judgment more than yours.
In this example we will use the Jug that sits on the table in Working Equitation, but the same applies to any object they drift away from.
Practice riding past the table in a straight line, gradually riding closer with each turn. Do not look at the table. Look at a focal point ahead of you on your line of travel.
As long as your horse is thinking about drifting away, do not try and ride closer. Build their confidence first, moving a few inches closer with each pass that they are comfortable on.
You may need this too, for now:
If your horse still wants to drift away, counterflex them so they are looking slightly away from the Jug. Although technically incorrect for a Working Equitation show, it will help you to keep control of the outside shoulder that is drifting away from the Jug.
There are many such corrections explained in the Working Equitation Mastery online program, which assist you in training for the technical requirements of Working Equitation. But they also are a fun way to gain control of all four corners of your horse for safety. While improving their skills for other disciplines.
Continue, with that counter-flexion, to ride the straight line that would take you past the obstacle. Do not push them towards the obstacle making them uncomfortable and justifying their concerns.
Don't stop until they are ready:
Until they are comfortable riding past the Jug/table, don't even suggest they stop at it.
And make sure it's not you:
The reason I started with having you watch a focal point ahead of you is because the drift can also happen if you are focusing on the Jug on your approach. This shifts your weight to the opposite side and encourages your horse to follow it and drift away.
Read Intentional Drift: Help For Horses That Avoid! for another exercise to help your horse be comfortable and build confidence with this obstacle. The exercise coming up will help you with any straight lines you need to ride past problem areas.
You CAN learn how to improve your horse's skills from online courses and tips such as these.
But only if you implement.
So when you read my articles write down the steps as a reminder for what you're going to try in your next ride.
Take them to the barn and try them out.
Come on back when you're done and let me know how it went.
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