As well as the traditional wooden jump stands that hold poles in place with jump cups, you can now buy modern ones made of synthetic materials that are safe, versatile and light.
These consist of a vertical piece of timber, squared off and usually drilled with holes to take the cups. It is supported by a base of either two, three or four ‘feet’ of wood or, more elaborately, by vertical slats of wood forming a wing.
Some stands need holes for the cups; others have none and the cups can he slid up and down the upright. Cups should be fixed on the landing side of the jump, or else to the inside of the stand. They must never be fixed to the approach side of the jump in case the pony knocks the pole and pulls over the stand as well.
The cups should be shallow enough so that the poles fall if definitely hit, but not so shallow that they are dislodged at the slightest touch and unmounted friends are forever having to put the jump together again.
Modern polythene and polystyrene jump stands, such as Bloks and Tri-Jumps, are a safe alternative to cavalletti. They are shaped so you can use them in various ways, and you can stack them on top of one another to make different patterns and heights of jump. Light enough to move easily yet stable and secure in use, they are weather resistant without needing to be painted or coated with preservative.
Portajumps, popularly referred to as ‘wheelies’, are cheap, easily moved stands consisting simply of a single vertical piece of timber with a one-piece, welded cup. The base is a car tyre on its side, which is very sturdy. By tilting the stand slightly you can roll it around to Where you want it, so they are excellent for children to set up Without adult help. They are used by many Pony Club branches.
Poles should be round, never square, as these could injure the pony. They are either painted in bright colours striped with white, or unpainted, when they are known as ‘rustic’. Unpainted ones need coating with wood preservative or they do not last long.
Poles rest on the cups and are never fixed to the stands, which would be dangerous. Buy the thickest poles you can find, within reason ponies respect them better and they do not fly about when knocked down, as flimsy ones do.
The expensive-looking jumps you see at major competitions can be re-created – with a few basic materials and a little imagination – for your own course.
Safe and sound
Whatever you use to make your jump stands, cups and tillers, always think about their safety. Never use square poles – which can easily hurt a pony – and avoid flimsy-looking hurdles which fly about when knocked down.
Be particularly careful about the kind of fillers you use. Don’t use anything that your pony could trip over or get his foot caught in. In general, it’s best to avoid improvised metal items – especially corrugated iron or old railings – as sharp or jagged edges are extremely dangerous.
Less obvious hazards include baler twine which can tangle in a pony’s legs, rough, splintered timber, and nails sticking out of old pieces of wood.