Obstacle Courses – Great Ride Idea and you can Make Your Own!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 | Filed under Handy Tips

This is a repost.

I wanted to tell you about homemade Obstacle Courses again because I was reminded yesterday about how much fun one can have by using imagination.  You see, at the Prisoner Gentled Mustang Auction, they had a very rudimentary obstacle course made up of whatever they had.  And, to be honest, it was GREAT!

They used swimming pool worms hanging from above and the sides like a car wash brush.  They had hundreds of plastic water bottles strewn into a wood frame for the horses to walk through, there were plastic flag banners – used to mark garage sales or lemonade stands – flapping everywhere, they had quarter-barrels hollowed out for stepping contests, there were old torn-out wood fence posts as intricate turning pattern and cavalettis… It was amazing the use of ‘found objects’ for this course.

So, I was inspired to repost this so that all of us could look around our houses with a new found perspective!  I hope you enjoy…

ORIGINALLY POSTED 9/30/2010  (many photos by Mary Hamilton)

I received an email last week which showed the results of an Obstacle Course Fund Raiser for BHFER.

Lots of people showed up for the Obstacle Course Fundraiser!


What a terrific idea!  OMGolly!  If someone around here had the gumption to create an obstacle course, I’d pay to ride it!  If you build it, they will come!  I love this idea!  So, I voraciously read the email.  Actually, I skimmed it and looked at all the photos.  I’ve attached several here.

Eager Participants!

Evidently, as a fund raiser, it was a huge success.   There were 70 participants and everyone looked very happy.  I’d pay to do that.  For sure.  Especially if there were raffle prizes or booby prizes or goofy prizes.  Best fall.  Best jump into the water.  Best balk.  Best refusal.  Best equine expression caught on film…

Water Crossing

I kinda get the impression that this place had some ready-made obstacles.  The bridges and underpasses look fairly high-tech.  So, I’m guessing that it might have been fairly easy to set up since most of it looked to be already there.

Balloons hang off of this lovely structure

So, perhaps that is part of it.  Find a venue that either already has that stuff available, or has good structure to make obstacles out of what they already have.

But the bottom line is that everyone has to be safe and have fun… oh, and you have to have a good map!

A good Map!


I got to thinking… I think VB might really have a good time doing obstacles.  After all, she destroys enough things that her pasture IS an obstacle course.  And, it might give her something to think about instead of her juvenile delinquent ideas she forms daily.

This is not VB but whoever it is, their ears are UP!

So, I started to do research.


I found one person who had a great article on making your own obstacles.  However, it was a bit too serious for me.  I don’t have anyone around here who is handy and available, so the thought of me picking up a power tool or a bag of concrete made me search some more.  However, if you want to know about serious obstacle building, click here.  They speak about the below but they have way more involved descriptions.  So, if you want permanent structure, click on that link.  It was really helpful.  For us today, I just inserted photos I liked under the types of obstacles the article mentions…

Water crossing

Ribbon ride through curtains

Log crossing

Log Crossing (Beanie Barbaro is trying his best…)

Debris field

Not really a debris field but scary…

Tire course



Of course, if those above photos inspired you to create your own course just by their name and the image that pops into your head, Yay!  Go for it!

For me, I have a water crossing outside my barn aisle every winter.  The horses are pretty good at sloshing through that.  But, for me to dig something larger would be a bit much.

I have thought about getting that restaurant refrigerator clear plastic vertical strips they have draped in front of the open doors of the walk-in to keep the flies out.  Do you know what I mean?  Well, if you hung that across your barn doors in the Summer to keep the flies out, the horses would be trained by Fall, me thinks…

Kinda like my walk-in idea!

It’s funny.  My horses jump over logs all the time in their pastures.  I have no idea why this is such a novel idea on the trail.

I really like the idea of a debris field.  Easy to create…  ;)

And, the local Waste Management facility has Tire Thursdays… so I could just stop people on the way in and probably get as many tires as I wanted.

Bridges, well, I’m scared of bridges.  Always have been.  My poor horses don’t stand a chance having me on their back while crossing a bridge.

I think if I had barrels, I’d have to do something special like have a fake clown popping out of one.  Or maybe I’d create a STOMP like drum machine on one.  Dunno.  Barrels are a plenty around here so the sky is the limit!


OK, well, someone actually thought about this and created a do it yourself for obstacles.  Her name is Mary Hamilton and she is a Mounted Police woman.  If you go to her website, she spends much time desensitizing horses.  You can purchase her CD as well.

Here is a link to her article and I’ll simplify it here.


The first thing is to find a safe area… preferably an arena.  It is also a good idea to find a safe place within that arena to retreat if your horse becomes overwhelmed.

Hopefully, your arena has few distractions, the footing is safe and has good traction.


You can see by this photo, Mary has put together some pool noodles and balloons on 4×4 posts.    Or, if you are creative, you could make a PVC arch or square and attach these noodles so you could walk through them.


She made a tire crossing by just laying out tires and poles at uneven distances (shown above).  This is great for the horse to learn to watch where he is going.

Tires are also good as a base to put a plywood board on top.  It could act as a bridge, especially if you painted it wild colors.


Mary was able to create this large obstacle with barrels (shown above).  I’m sure it is easy but I wouldn’t know how to do it.  Maybe show this photo to your Hubby…

For me, I like this photo where you can’t even discern how many things are there because there are so many!  I see everything but the kitchen sink in this one.  Bravo!


Now, this big ball is not a household item but it does look like fun!

And a good time was had by all!

I’m sure you have some idea of your own?!

THIS JUST IN FROM A READER:  My hubby glued several sheets of plywood together for our bridge, which we just laid on the ground (same sound and effect), string gate between two old jump standards, a dozen or so swim noodles hanging in a row from a tree branch, several highway cones, and an old garden flag duct taped to a broom handle-  you had to pick it up from sticking out of the top of one of the cones, race down to the end of the line and stick it in the top of the last cone.  Oh yeah, and a plastic garbage bag full of empty diet (sugar- free means no bees) soda cans that we either dragged behind our horse or had someone shake while we walked by.  We’d break off huge branches and have the horses drag those around, too.  We had SO much fun with that playground

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

August Bucket Fund is for the NEW AND FINAL GROUP JUST DROPPED OFF IN THE KILLPEN ON SATURDAY – THEY ARE NOT SAFE:  32 weanlings/orphans, 3 yearlings and 6 mare pairs who are still in the killpen in Fallon.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

8 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    Wow. I’m guessing you didn’t actually read the post. At the very top it says, “I received an email last week which showed the results of an Obstacle Course Fund Raiser for BHFER.”
    I didn’t write this post, BHFER wrote about their fundraiser and I reprinted it – to give it more exposure.
    I had no idea who took the photos.
    However, I did ADD to the top of my reprint, your request for Mary Hamilton to be photo credited.
    In the future, you might want to ask before you bite.

  2. Kelly

    You really need to provide credits on those photos. While I appreciate that you did mention Mary Hamilton, several of “your” photos are actually hers. Please add credit captions where appropriate.

  3. Pingback: cool screensavers

  4. Jan

    Hi Dawn, the water obstacle and some of the others in the photos look like they are part of a Horse Driving Trials course. Here in the UK its often possible to hire such a course for quite a small sum when they are not in use, and would be an ideal venue for an obstacle course day.

  5. Betty


    Love obstacles course. Where did you get that big ball? Thanks Betty

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *