The bridge should be made of wood and be of solid construction.
Minimum width: 1.2 metres (preferably 1.5 metres), minimum length: 4 metres.
The bridge will rise from flush or near flush with the ground on either end to a minimum height at centre of 20 cm, with a 1 metre slope on either end.
The Bridge must have transition markers.
Rails or other barriers if used, will be affixed to or positioned next to both sides of the bridge.
The rails or barriers will be a minimum of 90 cm and a maximum of 1.2 metres in height without projections or gaps less than 30 cm and must be constructed such that they can be quickly and easily removed without the use of tools.
The surface of the bridge must not be slippery.
In the EOH phase and the Speek phase the horse and rider must walk the bridge. This obstacle may be performed in both directions as separate obstacles on a course, as long as there are at least two obstacles between both instances. Riders will not dismount if any part of the bridge obstacle is knocked over. The rider will score a (zero) 0 (EOH) or a penalty will apply (Speed) and they will be asked to move onto the next obstacle.
The judge will consider rhythm, straightness, balance and confidence of the combination. The horse may stretch down their neck on approach and exit of this obstacle.
A score of 7 or less will be given for:
● Obstacle not performed straight
● Loss of rhythm
A score of 5 or less will be given for:
● Breaking gait
● Tripping on the obstacle
● Touching the sides of the obstacle (if present)
● Unbalanced or rushed performance
A score of (zero) 0 will be given for:
● Stepping off the side of the bridge
● Knocking any part of the obstacle over
● Refusal/ stopping
● Obstacle performed at wrong gait
Sally Thorne comments & tips from Waikora Equestrian Retreat
This is different to the western bridge in that no hesitation or excessive “look” is encouraged, but rather that the horse calmly and smoothly steps on the bridge, does not change pace at all and steps off still at the same pace.
If transition markers are present the horse MUST be in walk as his nose comes level with the markers (or just before) and MUST NOT trot till his hind quarters have cleared the end transition markers.
Horses not familiar with bridges or who approach and complete the bridge on the forehand tend to want to rush off. Practice asking for halts sometimes on the bridge or immediately after stepping off. Be careful not to rush your upward transition to the next obstacle in your training of the bridge.
If you don’t have a bridge you can practice over tarps.
Another excellent training aid is an old double mattress to walk up over and off calmly.