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How to DIY Your Own Creative Show-Jumping Style Horse Jumps

Quality horse jumps, poles, and standards can cost many thousands of dollars. For a casual rider or a beginning riding stable, the cost of purchasing a set of jumps can be prohibitive.

In this post we will be talking about several ways to build attractive, unique, horse jumps without spending a small fortune!

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Countless tutorials show you online how to build your own jump standards – the basic building blocks of a typical arena type set of jumps. In this post, we’ll be discussing how to take these basic horse jumps made with polls and jump standards into a unique, expensive looking, cross country and showjumping style jump that both look impressive and prepare horses and riders for the exciting jumps found in the show ring.

cf horses jumps
Generic poles and standards are great for training, but to be ready to compete, horses and riders should be familiar with exciting looking jumps that often spook horses and intimidate riders initially.


Paper mache can be shaped into a truly limitless number of figures, shapes, and textures. Paper mache generally has a reputation for  being fragile or water-soluble, but thanks to modern materials there are many options for using paper mache to create durable, weatherproof 3-D figures and jumps.

When making paper mache showjump features, there are three important things to remember to make them safe and durable:

  1. Include a Soft Fill: Hollow figures will be susceptible to being crushed by a rider- while very solidly filled jump features may hurt a horse or rider! A great way to create a jump feature somewhere in the middle is to use expanding foam insulation to support your creation without adding weight. The final jump feature will be durable, lightweight, but, like a riding helmet, will compress slightly and absorb force under impact.
  2. Pick an outer-surface that’s easy to repair: standard paper mache has an exterior surface of paper and paste. Because you can expect your paper mache show jump feature to get a lot of wear and tear with time, you’ll want to create an exterior that’s easy to repair without any special tools. Duct tape in custom colors is a great way to ensure repairs are quick, easy, and waterproof.
  3. Waterproof, waterproof, waterproof. If your jumps will spend time outside, spend time waterproofing. Multiple coats of polyurethane are the best way to ensure longevity for your exciting new showjumps. An ultra-heavy-duty sealant that is water and UV resistant- like deck sealing compound- is likely to work best. An additional effective way to waterproof is to use wood, plastic, or foam blocks to elevate your jump decoration up off the ground. Lifting your paper mache creation up off the wet ground and allowing room for air to circulate underneath will significantly prolong life.

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