Training the Horse at the Tilt
When training the horse at the tilt, care must be taken to establish that riding next to the tilt is a calm, everyday experience. The rider needs to exude calm and confidence, and the horse should learn that working next to the tilt is a normal everyday activity which requires the horse to pay attention to the rider and listen for guidance. Heading down the tilt should not be automatic, nor is there any particular hurry -- it is not a race.
The ultimate goal of this training is a horse that:
The herd mentality
Horses aren't used to passing each other going opposite directions. Left to their own decision making, they usually will want to follow their instincts and pull a u-turn and run in the same direction as the other horse.
The perception of aggressive behavior
Another horse making a head-on charge can feel like a display of aggression. Riders can unwittingly reinforce this by tensing or flinching as the other horse passes, and horses who are perceiving aggression or danger will swerve when passing the oncoming horse.
Excercises (without a lance)
Let the herd mentality to work for you rather than against you. Assemble a small group of horses to work on joust training at the same time.
You can counteract the perception of aggressive behavior by making these passes routine and uneventful.
Next, have the horses doing the passes stop calmly at the far end of the tilt once the pass is complete.
Eventually, add stopping at the near end of the tilt also. The entire pattern should be:
Once your horse is comfortably and consistently doing this exercise at a walk, increase the gait to a trot and repeat the process.
Once the horse is consistently standing quietly at both ends of the tilt after passes at the trot, increase the gait to a canter and repeat the process.
Once you are cantering down the tilt, regularly go back to walking and trotting down the tilt as a routine part of your training. The horse should always look to you to establish the timing and the gait, and not assume that being positioned next to a tilt automatically means "canter" and "now".