As an equine lover, you already know how much of a joy it is to have your own horses. Just being around horses can be such a passion for us, and riding, grooming and training our horses brings us so much happiness.
If you’re a more advanced rider, then you may be becoming more interested in equestrian events such as dressage and horse jumping.
Horse jumping is a great way to test the skill of both the rider and the horse, and can be a wonderful way to not only train your horse around a challenging course with obstacles, but also to build a stronger bond with your horse.
The only problem for beginners new to horse jumping is how expensive the equipment is. Buying horse jumps can be very costly, which can sway some people away from trying out the sport for themselves.
If you’re passionate about horses, and want to try this one for yourself, then why not build your own horse jumps? With this guide, we will tell you exactly how to build your own jumps to get you started in your horse jumping career!
Why You Need Your Own Jumps
Horse jumps are essential in training your horse how to jump. They are also a means of creating a sense of trust between the horse and the rider.
In addition, when riding your horse out on trails or in the wild, you may come across obstacles in your way, and you will need to be able to tackle these with your horse, without any problems. Horse jumps are a great way of improving your horse’s skills and your own.
Perks Of Building Your Own Horse Jumps
When you purchase all of the things you need for horse jumps online or from a store, it can actually end up costing you thousands of dollars, which a lot of us don’t have just lying around for our equestrian hobby.
So, instead, you’ll want to make your own which will cut down the costs massively, and you can save those bucks for buying other stuff like new tack, riding boots or to put towards purchasing yet another horse!
Building Your Own Jumps
The good news is that building your own horse jumps is not that difficult a task. All you will need is some tools, a few basic carpentry skills and a little bit of practice and patience. Trust us on this one, once you’ve built horse jumps once, you’ll be a pro in the business!
Most of the components of building a horse jump are super simple. For example, building a gate is so easy to do. All you’ll need is two 2×4’s, and a few 1×3” or 1×4” wood, and some wood screws of about 1 ½ inches. Knock them all together and you have yourself a gate! It really is that easy! Okay, so what about building the standards? Let us show you how!
How To Build The Standards
When it comes to building the standards, there is a little more work needed, but we’ll show you how and you’ll realize that it truly is not that difficult at all. Just make sure you can get all of the supplies at your local store or Home Depot.
We recommend that you buy landscaping timbers, as these are cheap at around $5.00 each, and are 8 foot long. Then, you can cut these in half to be left with two 4 foot tall standards. This will give you the perfect beginner’s starting point for your horse jumping journey!
So, you’ll need to head on down to Home Depot to find the timber that you are going to use. The Red Landscape timber is usually the cheapest and the best value for money, so that’s perfect for this project.
Like we mentioned before, you’ll want to have the standards cut to the height that you want them, and then you can start cutting the holes for your jump cups.
To do this, we recommend that you take a tape measure and start at the bottom, at about 12 inches. However, you can start wherever you like or whatever works best for you. We just like to say that 12 inches is a great place to start for beginners when it comes to horse jumping.
Then, with the tape measure, you’ll need to mark off every 3 to 5 inches, but this again is also up to you. Wherever you mark is where you are going to drill the holes, so keep this in mind when deciding where to mark as you could be drilling a whole lot of holes!
With the holes all marked out, it’s time to start drilling! For the best results, you’ll want to use a spade bit, and you’ll need a drill.
You can use one of the smaller rechargeable drills, but you’re going to be doing a lot of drilling, so it might be worth using an 18-volt plug in drill instead. Make sure it’s at least 18 volts or you’re going to spend forever drilling those holes!
If yours is more, then great, but if yours is less volts then be prepared to spend a lot of time on these holes.
After you’ve finished drilling, it’s time to start sanding the wood. This is a fun part compared to the incessant drilling you just went through, but it also makes the jumps look more professional and as if you bought them instead of spending time laboring over them!
Don’t Skimp On Materials For The Feet
The next part is to focus on the feet or the bases of the jumps. This is a part that you will not want to skimp out on the materials. The base is what is going to give your standards strength and sturdiness, and will keep them stable. The last thing you want is flimsy jumps in your arena.
To create the bases for your standards, you’ll need to use a 2 x 4” or 2 x 6” lumber as the feet for the jumps. You’re going to want to have feet for the standards at least 16 inches long as this will give the standards extra stability.
We would say that the longer the better, but if your standards are going to be much taller, then it’s better to have at least 18 inch long feet or longer.
In addition, if you’re going to make the jumps taller, you will need to have taller, wider feet to give the jumps that extra stability and structure. For the purpose of this guide, we’re going to go with 4 ft standards for beginners, so we’d recommend using 20 inch long feet to help you out and create super stable jumps.
Therefore, you’re going to need four pieces of 2 x 4 cut at 20 inches long for each and every standard. So, for a pair of standards, you’ll need eight 20 inch pieces of wood, so eight pieces per pair of standards.
Another handy tip we can give you is that once you have cut the wood, you’ll want to cut the corner off the top on just one side. This will make sure that there are no harsh corners for you to hit when riding or walking around your arena. It also gives the feet of your jumps a much more clean cut and professional looking appearance.
Once all of the pieces are cut, it’s time to attach the 20 inch pieces of wood (the feet) to the standard. To do this, you’ll first need to ensure that you are at the bottom of the standard. If you can see the holes that you drilled, then you’re not at the bottom of the standard, and you’ll need to flip it over upright so you can get at the base.
Once you’re at the base, start by attaching the pieces of wood like a pinwheel to the base. We recommend that you use 3 inch decking screws or bolts to attach the wooden pieces and create the feet.
You’ll want to ensure that you use something strong, as you don’t want the base of your jumps to give out anytime soon, so make sure that it’s all secure.
After all of the feet are attached to the standard, you can turn it back upright to the right way around. Then, use this time to check that the 4 pieces are attached properly, and that the standard is standing upright at a 90 degree angle, and not wonky in any way.
Once they’re all in the correct position, you’ll want to make doubly sure that the standard is secure. To do this, attach another screw into each piece of wood in the pinwheel formation so that each piece is connected to the next.
So, if that’s unclear…the first screws were to attach the feet to the standard, then the second round of screws is to attach the feet to each other to make sure that they do not move in any way.
After this step is done, you’ll have yourself some homemade schooling standards ready to get you started on your jumping journey.
After The Standards Are Built
Now that you’ve got your standards, you’ll need to take some time to sand them down and make them look professional grade. Sanding will not only make them look clean cut and impressive, but this will also make your standards last longer against outdoor conditions.
How To Caulk Horse Jump Standards
Once you’ve built your standards and sanded them down, you can start caulking them to fill in any gaps and prime the standards.
The best products for this will be latex painters caulk such as DAP Alex Painter’s Acrylic Latex Caulk. You’ll also want to use caulk on the parts where the feet meet the standards as there are often gaps in those places. This can remove any spaces or gaps between any pieces of wood on your standard.
Then, once you’re finished caulking, and you’ve waited for it to dry, you can start thinking about priming and painting your homemade jumps!
How To Prime Your Horse Jumps
Before you start painting your horse jumps, you’ll need to prime them. This will ensure that the paint lasts and sticks to the standards. We recommend the Kilz 2 Latex Primer and make sure you cover all aspects of the jump.
You should also paint two coats of primer on the jumps, but make sure that you let each coat dry completely before you start the second coat.
You’ll also want to let the standards dry out entirely before you think about painting on top of the primer. It’s best to leave it dry overnight, and check in the morning to see if it is completely dried out before moving on to the next step.
How To Paint Horse Jumps
If your primer is dry, then it is time to start painting your standards! You can use whatever color you choose, and use a paintbrush and a can of paint if you prefer to, however, you may want to use spray paint instead.
Spray paint is a much simpler method of painting the jumps and has some great results. It’s also much quicker to spray paint, and far less hassle than using a brush to get in all the corners and hard to reach places.
Spray paint is perfect for the standards, but you may want to use a brush to paint your rails and gates. The most important thing with painting the jumps is leaving time for them to dry! This will ensure that the paint is cured, but just be prepared for your perfect paint job to be ruined after a few sessions jumping with your horse.
You can use whatever paint you want, or whichever ones you have lying around in your garage, but just be sure that the paint is intended for exteriors as it will last longer outdoors.
Choosing Your Rails
Okay, so you’ve built the standards for your horse jump, but that’s just the first hurdle to overcome (pardon the pun)! The next step is to start making your rails, which is what your horse will actually jump over.
Now, you’ll first need to choose the rails you want to use. We recommend sticking to the landscaping timbers as your rails, as these are cost effective and relatively easy to find in local stores such as Home Depot.
You’re going to want to look for landscaping timbers, which are about 8 feet long and just over 3 ½ inches around. These pieces of wood do have flatter sides to them, but they are still pretty round, so are perfect for using as rails for your horse jumps.
You can of course purchase rails yourself, but these will be far more costly. If you want to keep the expenses down, then follow this guide.
These pieces of timber are usually around $4 to $5, which is much better than forking out hundreds of dollars on rails from equestrian retailers. Once you’ve purchased them, they’re not quite ready for use. Instead, it is better to sand them down, and then caulk any gaps in the wood to make them nice and smooth.
Then, you can prime and paint them in whichever paint you like, just make sure that the primer is dry before moving onto paint, and leave time in between coats for the paint to dry before you start on your finishing coat.
Adding Finishing Touches
If you really want your horse jumps to be the envy of all of your local equine lovers, then you may want to add some finishing touches to the jumps by making flower boxes. Flower boxes will make your horse jumps look just like the pros, and add fill to make the jump look fuller and more inviting for your horse to jump over.
You’ve already got all of your tools out, you may as well go all out and make some flower boxes too! To do this, you’ll need three pieces of wood, and they’ll have to be 2 x 6 x 8 feet long. Once you’ve cut or purchased the wood, you’ll need to sand them down, and cut each of the three pieces into 4 foot sections.
To make the boxes, stand two pieces on the ground, and attach another piece of wood on top. After building two boxes, drill holes into the top board where you will be able to place artificial flowers. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on expensive flowers for the flower boxes, instead, just go to Wal-Mart or find some cheap alternatives online.
Usually, each pack of fake flowers will cost less than a dollar, so you can just stock up, buy enough to fill the boxes, and you’re probably going to spend less than $20 on kitting out the whole flower box.
You can reuse the ½” spade drill bit to drill the holes for the flower boxes, and you’ll probably want to drill about 16 holes in total to fit enough bunches in to make the boxes really pop.
After you have drilled the holes, you are going to need to sand the boxes down to make them smooth, before priming them for paint, so that they match the color scheme you have used for the rest of the jumps.
You may also want to make raised rails as they are simple and cheap to make. You’ll only need some more landscaping timber cut into 3-4 foot sections, with a 2 x 4 piece of wood. You’ll then want to cut the 2 x 4 into pieces of 6 inches long, and pre-drill 2 holes through them.
Once you’ve drilled the holes, simply attach them to the bottom of the landscaping timber that you have cut into 3-4 foot long sections. Screw the pieces together, sand it all down, and once again…prime and paint!
You can also use the raised rails for flowers, all you need to do is just drill some holes on the top of the timber to slide the artificial bunches into place.
Time To Paint
Now, by this point, you will have made your standards, the rails, possibly some flower boxes, and some raised rails too. Once all of these have been sanded, primed and left with ample time to dry, it’s time to get your paint on! Don’t worry, we’re nearly at the finish line!
So, it’s time to paint. The most vital aspect of the painting process is finding the right paint for your horse jumps. Your horse jumps will likely be left outdoors come rain or shine, so you’ll need the paint to be long lasting and will withstand multiple uses.
This is why we recommend something strong, protective and professional such as Rust-Oleum Professional Enamel Oil-Based Paint. However, any oil based paint will do better than some sort of latex because it simply lasts much longer.
So, whatever color or style you choose, just make sure that it is oil-based, so it will not come off as easily or chip like other types of paint.
You’ll also have to remember to use exterior paint that is designed for the outdoor conditions! Even if your jumps are going to be kept in an indoor arena, an exterior paint will be far more long lasting than other styles of paint.
Don’t forget to leave a lot of time in between priming and painting to ensure that the primer is properly dried and cured before painting. This will make sure that the paint adheres well to your homemade horse jumps.
In addition, the same rules apply for painting the jumps, you will need to leave space in between coats for the paint to dry and cure entirely before you do a finishing coat.
It’s best to stick to brighter colors, such as whites, blues and reds, and it could be nice if you painted your rails in a striped pattern like professional horse jumps. That way, no one will ever know that you made your horse jumps yourself!
Finally, it’s time to assemble your horse jump! All you need now is the jump cups, which you can buy for around $25-$35 a pair, but will last ages! These can be found online or in local Equestrian equipment stores to keep your rails in place when jumping.
To assemble your horse jump, all you need to do is fit your jump cuts, and place the rails on the top. If you made flower boxes, then simply place them just ahead of the jump, with the raised rails just in front of the flower boxes. Then, you’re ready to start jumping!
Now that you know how to make your own horse jumps, you can make more, and have an arena full of jumps, or add more rails and filler items to the jumps you have made. The possibilities are endless, so have some fun with it and happy jumping!