Build a Safe, Sturdy Base for Coop, Ramp Jumps

Detailed instructions to help you build coop and ramp jumps for a schooling cross-country course.
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Detailed instructions to help you build coop and ramp jumps for a schooling cross-country course.

A strong, stable framework like the structure shown here is a safe beginning for two types of solid, inviting cross-country jumps: a coop (shaped like an inverted 'V') and a ramp (a flat ascending surface angled away from the horse and rider).

When building a ramp, you'll use a single section of the wedge-shaped base shown in the diagram. For a coop, construct two wedge-shaped bases and fasten their vertical sides face to face.

jump base

The slanting surfaces of either jump can be comprised of any solid, flat, non-splintering material. In building the schooling cross-country course I describe in the October 2005 issue of Practical Horseman, my friends and I used "found" materials such as discarded wooden doors and still-solid sections of old wooden floating docks to form ramps and coops. These flat materials were securely fastened to frames that could withstand a hard bump from a horse. They were made even easier to jump by very visible ground lines, such as timbers, actually anchored into the ground.

The framework illustrated in this diagram was designed (and drawn) by Jeff Colburn, owner of Precision Carpentry in Lake Chautauqua, N.Y., and the kingpin of our jump-building crew.

To see more of the Novice and Training level jumps we built from free or almost-free materials such as old tires, plastic juice barrels, stumps, and Amish barn beams, check out our story in the October 2005 Practical Horseman. As well as tips on where to find low- or no-cost jump-building materials, you'll find resources there for information to help you be sure your course is safe.