8,10, or 12 Foot Rails?
I recently had someone ask where to find 10 foot rails for building jumps. She said she was having a difficult time finding 10 foot rails, or something that could be used as 10 foot rails for her jumps. And it got me thinking I should share what I do, and why I do it the way I do.
Finding Affordable Horse Jump Rails
When you begin your search for jump rails, you may be thinking about buying them ready made. And while this may be a good option, if money is no concern, this is not the most cost effective way to getting some rails for your jumps. You can buy ready made rails painted white for around $30.00 a rail. This does NOT include the shipping cost. Your rails will need to be shipped to you freight, and this can get expensive. This is actually where the majority of the costs comes in.
To give you an example of what a painted rail will cost, lets look on Amazon. Yes, Amazon sells horse jump poles! First we have the cost of the poles, $228.00 for 6 poles. Then we add the freight cost, $217.00. So our total investment is $445.00 for 6 poles. This means the per rail cost is $74.17.
That is a LOT of money for 1 rail!
A much more affordable option would be to make your own rails. And this can be done for about $8.00 per rail, and that included the paint.
Home Depot Is My Best Friend
Go to Home Depot, in the outside garden section. Usually at the back of the store, this is where they keep the landscape timbers. Right now they cost around $4.00 per timber. The extra cost I am figuring in is for the sand paper, primer, and paint to paint the timbers and transform them into jump rails.
The only negative to buying landscape timbers is they only come in 8 foot lengths. Personally I don’t consider this a negative. If you are limited in space, the 8 foot timbers are great for making the most of the space you have. And if you and your horse get used to jumping 8 foot long jumps at home, just think how much easier it will be when you get to the show ring and find jumps that are 10 or 12 foot long. You will be training yourself to have a much better jumper by jumping the more compact jumps.
And honestly, there isn’t really that much difference. Just as an example, here I have an 8 foot long jump, and a 10 foot long jump:
Yes, there is some difference, but it isn’t that big of a deal, as far as I’m concerned. And the money you save makes the homemade jumps even more beautiful and better, because YOU built it!
A long time ago I wrote a series of blog posts showing you how to build your own set of horse jumps for around $350.00. And if you were to buy the same set of jumps it would cost you over $2000.00!
Affordable 10 foot Rails
But if you have your heart set on 10 or 12 foot long rails, you can DIY it, it will just take a little more time and a lot more work. First you need to find your future rails. Go to Home Depot, and in the lumber section find the Douglas fir 4 x 4 posts. They come in 8, 10, and 12 foot lengths. The 10 foot long posts will run about $12.00 per post.
Then you will need to figure out how to get them home (please tie them down) and then you will need a circular saw, a table for cutting, and a clamp. And you will cut the corners off of each post. This means 4 10 foot long cuts. This will turn your square post into an octagonal horse jump rail.
And once you have cut the wood, then you need to sand, prime and paint the rails as well. The larger pieces of wood will entail more time, and there is also the power tool competency aspect too. It isn’t easy. My husband does this for me, and he has cut a lot of rails for me. Even so, mistakes happen.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t make 10 foot rails. I’m just letting you know there is a lot more work involved.
Ready Made VS Homemade Jump Rails
Going back to the example I started with, buying 6 painted rails off of Amazon will cost $445.00 shipped to your home. However, if you were to make your own 10 foot octagonal rails, it would cost you $108.00. And if you want to get even more frugal, like me, you can make your own 8 foot long rails and the total cost will be $48.00. Does it make sense now why I choose to use landscaping timbers? $48.00 is a tenth of the cost of the ready made rails.
And if you are running a barn, or you are a serious jumper with serious goals, your money will go a lot further with the 8 foot rails. For an investment of $445.00 you could build 55 rails. That would be enough rails for a complete course of jumps for a traditional Grand Prix course!
I don’t know about you, but I like the 55 rails much better than the pre-made 6. And from my experience, you can never have too many rails for horse jumps.
Don’t Forget The Standards
So now that we have the rail portion of our jumps figured out, you just need to tackle building the standards. Not sure where to start? I recommend going back to my series of building a $2000 set of jumps, especially building the standards.
Hopefully this will help you on your journey to making an incredible set of your own horse jumps.