During the Working Equitation Ease of Handling phase the Bridge Crossing is performed at the walk in all Levels. The course designer may require the bridge to be crossed in both directions.
Training for the bridge is pretty well understood by most riders. In most cases simply rewarding he horse with support every time they try will build his confidence. For a horse that is unready to walk the length of the bridge, ask him to cross perpendicular to the length, then diagonally, then lengthwise.
Another horse ridden across the bridge in front of a young horse will also provide the confidence needed for him to give it a try. Some horses are troubled by the hollow sound that the bridge makes, in those cases it may be beneficial to simply start with a piece of plywood or heavy board laying directly on the ground.
In competition, the appearance of the bridge will be different than at home. This is the primary challenge of the bridge crossing. It isn’t the bridge itself, but the decorations or ornaments that surround the bridge. An important tip on training for the bridge crossing would be; Change the appearance of your training bridge frequently.
Feature photo by Leslie Martien photo, Haras Cup 2014