I watched a few hunter hack classes at a recent national show. Hunter hack is an English class that consists of 2 fences to be jumped individually by each entrant, then rail work by the entire class. It is always the same . . . some horses shy away from the first jump or just flat refuse to jump it. The shows always have flowers, brightly colored rails, trees at the side of the standards or any combination of these. Some of the horses have either not seen these before or if they have only at the shows.
The fix is easy. Go to a dollar store & buy some artificial flowers. You can drill holes in the ground rail and put flowers in each hole. Or you can push the flower stems into the dirt just behind the ground rail but in front of the bottom rail. Your horse may still shy away from the flowers for a short time at home, but he will get used to them. Then when at the show, flowers are not such a big deal to him anymore.
Also, paint a few of your rails any color other than white. This doesn’t have to be an expensive task. You can use some left over house, wall or barn paint. Maybe your neighbor has some paint that they would like to get rid of. You can paint the rail all one color or put stripes on it. Use your imagination.
The end effect is to get your horse use to something that you would see at the show. This fix is good for the hunter or jumper classes also. Don’t wait until the next show & wonder why he keeps shying away from the jump.