do it yourself horse obstacles

DIY Horse Obstacles: Enhancing Your Training Sessions at Home

by | Jul 23, 2023 | Blog

Knocking up some bespoke horse training kit right in the comfort of your own property has a ton of upsides for both you and your horse buddy. Not just a penny-saver, it also hands you the power to tweak and tailor-make gear to accommodate your horse’s specific needs. With a dash of imagination and some good old elbow grease, you can churn out a plethora of tools that’ll keep your horse on its toes while fostering a deeper bond between the two of you.

Getting the Ball Rolling

Making a DIY horse training kit warrants understanding the types of tasks that will tickle your horse’s fancy. It’s pretty crucial to mull over your horse’s current capabilities and stamina to steer clear of overly complex or taxing tasks. Starting off with basic ground poles and cavalettis, which you can whip up using wood or PVC pipes, could be a solid plan. If you’re a newbie to this, you can repurpose something like this Rubbermaid bucket, fill it up with sand, and voila, you’ve got a multi-use base for your poles.

Assembling Your Gear

Building the gear can be a kick and something to pat yourself on the back for. Here’s a couple of thoughts:

Ground Poles and Cavalettis

Ground poles are a cinch and a good way to dip your toes into DIY horse training gear. Just lay down some 2x4s or PVC pipes in a pattern on the ground. In contrast, cavalettis, slightly raised poles, push your horse’s agility and coordination. You can’t go wrong with something durable and weather-friendly like these PVC pipes for this sort of kit.

Barrels and Cones

Tossing in barrels and cones adds a dash of spice to your course, nudging your horse to tackle a mix of gear. Repurposed 55-gallon drums usually come by pretty easy at local recycling centers, or you could pick a more durable and reusable option like this Steel Barrels. Traffic cones are usually a dime a dozen at hardware stores or you could snag them online.

Water and Trench Equipment

Water and trench gear are a hoot for your horse, especially when the temperature rises. A basic kiddy pool could be a budget-friendly, durable, and movable water feature. For trench gear, you could dig a small pit in your yard or repurpose an old wooden pallet and fill it with soil.

But don’t forget, safety should be at the forefront. Always give your homemade gear a once-over for any sharp bits or potential dangers before letting your horse at it.

Armed with these ideas, you’re all set to sprinkle a bunch of entertaining DIY elements into your horse training sessions. From ground poles to water elements, the sky’s the limit to how you can mix up and enrich your horse’s training experience. Keep your eyes peeled for part two of this guide, where we’ll delve into how to roll out these elements to your horse and seamlessly blend them into your training schedule.

Getting Your Horse Acquainted with the Gear

Rolling out new gear can be a thrill yet tough task for your horse. It’s wise to take it slow, letting your horse get to know each new piece at their own speed. Lead your horse to the gear and let them take a whiff – this can help alleviate tension and boost confidence. Reward your horse with positive reinforcement, like treats or soothing strokes, when they show curiosity or bravery.

Related: The Best Calming Supplements for Horses

Blending Gear into Training Routines

Once your horse has got to know the new pieces, it’s time to blend them into your training routine. This should be done step by step, pushing but not overtaxing your horse. Begin by working one or two pieces of gear into your regular routine, then gradually dial up the quantity and complexity as your horse’s confidence and abilities ramp up.

Making the Most of Obstacle Courses

An obstacle course is a fantastic way to shake up your training routines and enhance your horse’s agility, responsiveness, and trust. A basic course could involve ground poles and cones, slowly rolling out more complex elements like barrels, water gear, or trenches as your horse gains confidence. Throw in a mix of straight and curved paths, different distances between elements, and varying heights and widths to keep the training lively.

Simulating Competitions

If you’re getting ready for a competition, your homemade gear can be used to mimic competition conditions. This helps your horse get accustomed to the kind of challenges they’ll face and boosts their confidence and ability to navigate them. It’s smart to think about getting professional help to ensure your course meets competition standards, especially for higher-level events.

Upkeep and Safety

Your DIY horse training gear is an investment in your horse’s growth, so keeping it in good shape is key. Regularly check each piece of gear for signs of wear and tear and replace any damaged parts pronto. Use weather-resistant materials, like this weather resistant tape, to shield your gear from weather-related damage.

Safety should always be your main concern. Never leave your horse alone with unfamiliar gear and always keep an eye on training sessions. Before each session, give each piece of gear a look for potential dangers, such as sharp corners or loose parts.


Cooking up and using DIY horse training gear at home can be a gratifying way to mix up your training routines, challenge your horse, and deepen your bond. It’s important to start slow, put safety first, and enjoy exploring new challenges with your horse.

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Emily Wilson</a>

Emily Wilson

I'm from the very heart of Kentucky, you know, the place folks think of when they talk about horse love. Had the luck of growing up smack dab in the middle of some of the most awesome horse spots you'd ever see. Can't imagine starting my day any other way than being in that homely barn, waist-deep in horse stuff. My routine? It's a bit of everything really - taking care of the horses, bonding with them, you name it.

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