Techniques to Avoid
Avoiding the following mistakes will help ensure that your horse continues to enjoy jousting:
Do not transfer the force of the strike to your horses mouth.
At the moment of contact with the oncoming jouster, you must have a loose rein. Assuming good targeting by your opponent, you will be physically struck and you must not let the force of your opponents blow travel to your horses mouth.
This means that you cannot use a riding technique which uses your horses mouth for balance.
If you come off, let go of the reins
It is always a possibility that one of the competitors will come off after a strike, even when using foam tipped lances. In the event that you come off your horse, make sure that you let go of the horses reins immediately. Do not hang on.
Do not strike your horse with the lance.
There is no quicker way to ruin a horse for jousting than to hit them with the lance. If you find that your own lance is coming close to your horses head, check your lance positioning per the vertical and lateral technique animations.
One common error made by novice jousters is to lower the lance straight ahead (on the right side of the horse) and then attempt to rotate the lance towards the opponent (who is on the left side) once the lance is lowered -- make sure you are not doing this. It vastly increases the likelihood of hitting your horse in the head with the lance. It also vastly increases the likelihood of following your opponent laterally as they pass, driving the shaft of the lance into them instead of breaking the tip of the lance. If you are practicing with foam lances and find that you are breaking cardboard tubes, make sure you are not rotating the lance towards your opponent in this fashion.
Do not strike your opponents' horse with the lance.
If you aren't sure that your targeting is "on" and you can control the follow-through then don't make the strike. Your goal as a jouster is to present a proper target to your opponent, and to put you lance precisely where your opponent should be offering a target in return. If you aren't confident that you are on track to do this, abort the pass honorably. It is much more honorable to end a single pass with an intact lance than to strike a horse with the lance.