Let’s Make Squishy Rails

Have you ever seen or used squishy rails, or soft poles for your jumping? Have you ever heard of them? These things are so cool! I first learned about them from the barn I was riding at for my lessons.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

My trainer had me go over these squishy rails, a lot. I think this was more to protect the feel of the horse I was riding, but it did make it easier to go over these rails. And this is why I wanted to have my own. I want to have Ethan be my jumper, and he has never been over a jump. Yes, he has gone over some trot poles, but not with me on his back.

So I thought it would be fun to make some squishy rails to use.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

And I looked at buying some, but they are very challenging to find. In fact the only place I could find them for sale was in the United Kingdom. They are called flexy jump poles and they cost 178 British pounds, which is equivalent to about $232.00. And that does not include the shipping, and I don’t even know if they ship to the United States.

And my husband and I got a new mattress, which meant I had no use for a huge mattress topper made of foam and I didn’t want to throw it way. That’s one thing about me, instead of throwing something away, I am always looking at how I can repurpose something, so I can use it related to horses.

And that is what I did with this. The opportunity presented itself for me to make my own squishy rails, and a liver pool without investing a lot of money.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

So first I needed to find the covering for the foam. I wanted to have different colors than just blue, so I found affordable tarps on Amazon. The tarps were less expensive on Amazon than the were in a local store, so Amazon was the way to go for me.

I found a red tarp for 10.99 and a yellow tarp for 10.99 and they were shipped in two days, thanks to Amazon Prime.

I also bought a high temperature glue gun and Gorilla Glue sticks to attach the tarps to the foam. I did buy clamps too, but I didn’t end up using them.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

Then I cut out the foam. I cut the foam 3-ish inches wide, and I did it the length of the foam. Each rail is about 75 inches long, because we have a king sized bed. So while they are only 6 feet long, they will serve their purpose.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

And the foam was relatively easy to cut. It’s memory foam, so as I would cut, the foam would squish down. And what made it even easier, was that the foam had rows and rows of holes, So I just had to cut from hole to hole. I didn’t measure because the pieces did not have to be exact. They will be covered with the tarp material, so they did not have to be perfect.

I just counted out how many rails I would be making (6) and then I knew I wanted them to be thicker, so I cut out 12 pieces. Each pole will have two pieces of foam, glued together as the center of the pole.

Soft Memory Foam = Squishy Rails

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

Since each squishy rail used two pieces of foam, I had to figure out a way to secure the foam pieces together. I used what I had, using gorilla glue wood glue. I really like this glue because as it dries, it expands. My goal was to get the glue to adhere the two pieces of foam together. And by stacking the ‘poles’ on top of each other and placing some books on top with the hope of having the glue expand into the two pieces of foam I am gluing together.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

I left the foam alone for the day, and let the glue set up for over 24 hours. Even though I really wanted to get the poles done today, I refrained. It’s probably a good thing I did this in the basement. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

And after the glue had ample time to adhere the two pieces of foam together, I brought in my tarps to cover the foam poles.

And then I just rolled the foam in the tarp and used adhesive to seal the pole, along with a few drops of gorilla glue, and also E6000 glue for added security. Then I allowed the glue to dry over night before taking the poles outside.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

Putting The Squishy Rails To Use

Because of the work it took to make these squishy poles, I don’t leave them out in the arena all the time. I don’t plan on making these again, and I want to take care of them. So when I am done using them, they go into my jump storage room, because I want them to last.

Where To Use Squishy Rails

Once you have the squishy rails made, there are so many things you can do with them!

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

  • If you are just getting your horse used to jumps, they work great for ground poles.
  • You can also use them as fill for your jumps.
  • And you can use them to channel the direction your horse goes to a jump.
  • And they are really helpful for flat work too. You can set up a corner for your horse.
  • Or use them as obstacles for a trail course.

Regardless of how you plan on using them, using them is the key. If you have them but don’t use them, they won’t help! And if you only have an outdoor space to use them, be sure to put them away so your horse doesn’t destroy them.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

My horses seemed to think I made a new toy for them to play with.

The Total Cost

For me to make these poles, my total investment was $34.97. And I was able to make 6 poles. I already had the foam, and it was just going to get thrown away if I didn’t use it. I don’t even remember how much it cost when I bought it 3 or 4 years ago. But if you can find someone who is giving away a foam mattress topper, you can get the bulk of the material you need very affordably.

How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises

For $35.00 I made 6 poles. Which if I were to buy these ready made, it would have cost $500.00 for this set. I think I did good. I made them myself for about 95% less than it would have cost me to buy them, and then wait to have them shipped to me. And if you would like to make your own squishy rails, or flexy foam poles, I have provided some affiliate links within this blog post, in case you need to buy the stuff to make these poles.


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.

    4 replies to "How To Make Soft Poles For Jumping Exercises"

    • alice

      why didnt you just use pool noodles? MUCH cheaper, come in pretty colors. none of the work.

      • Lisa

        I had used soft poles like these when I was taking riding lessons, and I found them to extremely helpful during my lessons. And I didn’t want to buy them for $70+ dollars for every set of 3. And since I enjoy seeing if I can make different things like this I decided to make them.
        I am really happy that I did, they are a fun tool to use with my horses.

        If pool noodles work for you, I would use them. But for me, I am very happy that I made these soft rails.

    • Lay

      Hello. I love soft poles, they are a wonderful way to train horses/riders without putting too much strain on the horses. I am thinking of making soft poles, following your technique. Did your poles withstand the test of time? Is the glue stiff holding the tarp around? Any need for stitching> Any additional advice, things you wish you had done differently? Thank you for any feedback.

      • Lisa

        Hi! 🙂
        I have to say they are holding up really well, better than I thought they would! I am happy to report that all of the soft poles are still intact, and still in use today 🙂 The glue is still in place, no pulling or ripping, and no tears in the tarp material.

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