How to build horse cavaletti jumps

Written by tiernan mckay
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How to build horse cavaletti jumps
Most horses that jump as this level began over cavaletti. (horse & rider jumping a barrier image by Clarence Alford from

Cavaletti jumps are wooden poles set between two X-shaped pieces of wood. They can be raised or lowered to three different heights based on your specific needs. Regardless of your riding discipline, cavaletti are an effective training tool for both rider and horse. They can be used to train horses to jump, regulate pace, follow a specific path or engage their entire bodies while working at a particular gait. Cavaletti are relatively easy to construct.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 10 cm x 10 cm x 2.4 m (4 inches x 4 inches x 8 feet) treated wood posts
  • 2 10 cm (4 inch) long 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) diameter steel carriage bolts with nuts and washers
  • 2 20 cm (8 inch) long 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) diameter steel carriage bolts with nuts and washers
  • Hand saw or power circular saw
  • Power drill with 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) wood drill bit
  • Wood chisel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Pencil, ruler and square for measuring

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  1. 1

    Cut the wood to the desired length. Using your saw, divide one of the 10 cm x 10 cm x 2.4 m (4 inches x 4 inches x 8 feet) posts into four sections, each measuring 60 cm (2 feet). These pieces will create the ends of the cavaletti.

  2. 2

    Mark the wood pieces. Take each 60 cm (2 foot) section and mark the middle. Then, take two wood pieces and place one on top of the other, lining up the centre marks. With your pencil, mark the width of the top piece onto the bottom piece and vice versa.

  3. 3

    Cut into the marked wood pieces. Use the saw and cut halfway through each at the width marks. Most cuts will be about 4.7 cm (1 7/8 inches) deep, based on the typical thickness of a post.

  4. 4

    Chisel and connect. With your chisel and rubber mallet, remove the wood between the cuts you just made, making a notch in each piece. Using all four pieces, attach two pieces together at the notch, and connect them solidly with the mallet.

  5. 5

    Drill and secure. Using the drill and 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) bit, find the centre of each x and make a hole all the way through. Place the carriage bolt through the centre and secure with a washer and nut.

  6. 6

    Create the cavaletti centre. Using the second 2.4 m (8 foot) post, which is uncut at this point, measure the width.

  7. 7

    Draw a line that corresponds to the width measurement from each end of the post, marking the centre of the line with a hash mark.

  8. 8

    Drill a hole at that hash mark. Mirror this step on the other end of the pole, making sure the holes are on the same side.

  9. 9

    Assemble the cavaletti. Stand the two x's up and set the post in the centre of each, making sure the ends are flush. Draw a hash mark where the hole in the long post hits the x, on each end. Take the post away and drill where these hash marks were placed.

  10. 10

    Complete the cavaletti. Secure the post onto the x's by placing the carriage bolts through the holes in the post and then through the holes in each x. Add a washer and a nut to complete your cavaletti.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to use wood properly treated to withstand the elements. Cedar is good choice for wood.
  • Always take the proper safety precautions when using a saw and drill. Protective eye wear is recommended.

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