Build Your Own Wing Standards For Horse Jumps
If you are building your own horse jumps at home, you will eventually feel the need to build wing standards. Or, maybe it’s just me. But I like to challenge myself, and see just what it is that I can build. And a jump with a pair of wings really looks like what you will encounter in the show ring. I think that is why I wanted to see if I could make my own wings.
Building wing standards does take more time than just schooling, or stick standards, but the end result is just so beautiful. And I think it adds to the fact that you built it yourself. A major additional satisfier knowing that you built this.
Straight pickets is probably the easiest wing to build, in my opinion. There are only 90 degree angles, and straight lines needed to build these standards. They are a little more expensive to build because of the 4 x 4 posts that create the main upright section of the standard. The standards I will be building are 4 foot tall with a maximum jumping height of 44”. They are approximately 32” wide, so they will help you to create a substantial looking jump. You don’t have to build them this wide, you can alter the 2×4 sections to be shorter if you like to shrink the width of the standards.
What You Will Need
- (2) 4 x 4 x 8’
- (2) 2 x 4 x 8’
- (6) 1 x 4 x 8’
- (2) 2 x 6 x 8’
- 3” decking screws
- 2” decking screws
- Primer paint (if painting)
- Paint or stain
What You Will Do
Start with your 4 x 4’s and cut them down to 48”, or 4 foot long. This should give you 4 -4 foot long piece of wood. I find it easiest to mark all 4 sides of the wood, and using the circular saw follow the lines while cutting. You want to cut carefully, to make sure you are following the lines so your cut will go through evenly. I say this because the circular saw blade is not deep enough to cut through the 4 x 4 in one cut. It will take 3 turns, and 3 cuts to get through the 4” thick wood. So be sure your cuts are even, and straight and you will have no problems.
Once you have the 4×4’s cut, grab your tape measure. You are going to mark on 2 of the 4 x 4’s where you want the holes to go for your jump cups. You only need to mark 2 of the 4×4 posts. The other posts will not hold jump cups. That is unless you want them too. You could drill holes for the other side as well, but it isn’t necessary.
Determine the spacing you want for your cups. For these standards, my holes are every 4 inches. I decided to do every 4 inches because hunter jumps don’t have a lot of rails. So I don’t need a lot of holes in my standards. But it is up to you. You can drill the holes as close together as you like.
When drilling the holes, try to keep them in the center of the 4 x 4, because you want to make sure your jump cups will fit. If you are using the fancy Dapple Equine cups, this isn’t as big of deal. But for the less expensive cups, you want to keep your holes as close to the center of the post as you can.
Now you will cut the 2 x 4’s to 30”, if you want to duplicate the look I am creating here. Or, you can choose to have the 2 x 4’s be shorter, it’s up to you. But I would keep the 2 x 4 sections at least 20” wide. The wider your standard, the more substantial it will be, thus mimicking what a true hunter would jump in the field. A substantial jump is easier for the horse.
Next you will be cutting the 1 x 4” wood. I cut mine 40” long for this set of standards. And you will need 14 pieces total for both standards. I chose mine to be 40” because that is what I had already cut.
And finally, you will need to cut the feet. This is where the 2 x 6” wood comes in. For the feet, you will cut the 2 x 6 wood 24” long. DO NOT skimp on this part! The wider the base of support, the more stable your standards will be. And you want these large wings to have stability! You will need 4 pieces of 2 x 6 wood 24” long.
Once you have it cut, then you can cut the top corners of the wood off to round the upper corners, and remove the sharp edge. This is personal preference honestly, but I like the way it looks, which is why I choose to do it.
Now that you have all of your wood cut out, it is time to sand everything smooth. For the finer pine wood, I like to use 100 grit sand paper. It does take more sand paper, but the result is really worth it. Your wood will be smooth, and beautiful!
Ok, now all of your wood is sanded, it is time to stain (or paint) all of the pieces. Yes, you could assemble everything, and it will be ok, but it will be really difficult to get all of the wood painted, or stained completely, and you will have to spend even more time painting! So even though it is really tempting to assemble your jump, wait. DO your painting first.
For this set of standards, I chose to stain them. I had planned on painting, but the more I thought about it, I really thought it would look beautiful stained. And I could see the completed jump in my head, I love when that happens!
After your wood pieces are all stained, or painted, NOW you can assemble them! Taking one of your 4 x 4 posts with holes and one without, you will be attaching the 30” pieces of 2 x 4’s. Determine where you want your 2 x 4 cross sections to be, and lie them on top of the posts. It is crucial to have everything be level at this step. Make sure your posts are equal, and where you will be attaching the 2 x 4’s, be sure they are level and equal.
You may find when you attach the 2 x 4’s, they cover a hole that you drilled for your jump cup. If this bothers you, you could drill through the 2 x 4, so you are able to use that hole as well. I just cover it up, I am not too worried about being short a hole. I typical will do it at the 40” drill hole on the top of the standard. And for the bottom 2 x 4, I place it just underneath the first hole I drilled which is at 12”.
After you have secured your 2 x 4’s, now you will attach the pickets. Play with your spacing, and when you are happy with how the pickets are laying, and they are straight, predrill a hole at the top and bottom of the picket where you will attach it to the 2 x 4. Predrilling is very important, otherwise you risk splitting your picket wood! And after all the work you have done so far, it would really suck to split a picket. Predrilling the wood prevents this from happening.
Now you can secure your pickets to the frame of your standard. I like to have my pickets meet up with the posts of the standard. I do it this way because then you can’t see the jump cups. It makes the jump appear more finished, and look seamless.
You are almost done, all that is left to do is attach the feet to the base of your standard. For each standard you will need (2) 2 x 6 pieces that you have cut down to 24” and attach to the outside of each post. For this standard I used 3 ½” decking screws. Typically I have used 3” screws, but Home Depot had the 3 ½ ones on sale, so I bought these. I have never had a problem using decking screws on my standards. Some people choose to use bolts, and you can do that. But I have always used at least 3” long screws, and I have never had a standard break with these screws. For each foot, I attach 3 screws.
Now you can set up your standards, and admire your hard work!
Now let me break down the total cost of this set of wings that I built…
- (2) 4 x 4 x 8’ $24.00
- (1) 2 x 6 x 8’ $7.25
- (2) 2 x 4 x 8’ $7.70
- (2) 1 x 4 x 8’ $3.60 (I had a lot of left over pieces, so these were free)
- Sandpaper $.95
- Screws $5.00
- Stain (Free)
Total cost for this set of wing standards: $48.50! If I were to buy these ready made, it would have cost me at least $250.00. However, I haven’t been able to find a pair of wings like this, so they would have needed to be custom created which would have probably cost me over $250.00. I call this a win! A pair of wings for less than $50.00 is a good deal.
The straight picket wing is the easiest wing standard to build. There are many variations to this that you can do. You could have the pickets at an angle, or get larger in the center. If you want to change things up, all you have to do is change how you cut the 2 x 4 center pieces. If you want to have the standard be at an angle, you simply cut the 2 x 4 at a 45-degree angle on each end and attach. The bottom piece will still be straight.
You can make slight alterations to this design, and have completely different wing standards. Even by simply changing the length of the 2 x 4 in the center will completely change the look of your wing.
I choose to make my wings in this fashion, rather than attaching the 2 x 4 in the center of the 4 x 4 posts. I have found the wings to be sturdier by attaching the 2 x 4’s on top of the posts, rather than in the center. And it’s a lot easier too! And I also like the look of having the jump cups being hidden. But you can build wing standards any way you like. That is what is so cool about building your own horse jumps, you can do what is right for you, and your horse!
So far, we have built a pair of picket wing standards, and tall flower boxes. Next I will be sharing with you painting the rails (poles) and also making a gate. And once all of those pieces are done, we will be assembling the jump, so you can see it in all of it’s glory! And I have also been documenting this entire process on my YouTube channel, The Budget Equestrian. So if you like to see the process in video format, please subscribe to my channel and hit the bell icon so you can be notified of when I have uploaded a new video.