When designing a course, whether for competition or schooling, you want a wide range of fences. The basis of your course can be traditional standards and rails, but it makes sense to add walls, a rolltop, and a gate if possible. In addition, you can add interest to the plain jumps by adding flower boxes and other types of filler to the ground line.
While the planning process is an exciting time to get your creative juices flowing, the first item on your agenda is to decide what materials you want your jumps to be made from. Some companies advertise their vinyl jumps as being the best choice. They brag about the low maintenance aspect of these fences.
It is true that vinyl fences are low maintenance. The reason for this is because when they are damaged, there is no way to fix them. You have to get rid of the broken jump and replace it with another. Given the cost of vinyl jumps, this can quickly add up.
Wood horse jumps are much more durable than vinyl fencing, and, if they are damaged, they can often be repaired rather than replaced. Probably the greatest benefit of using wood jumps is the fact that they just are not damaged as often.
Vinyl jumps are flimsy and lightweight. While their lightweight status may seem like a benefit, it is actually a huge drawback. Sure, it is a little easier to move the fences around when you are resetting the course, but how often do you actually do that? You more than make up for it by the fact that lightweight vinyl rails come down much more easily than wooden rails.
If you don’t have a dedicated ring person, you can expect to spend a good bit of each ride resetting your rails. Horses are smart, and quickly learn they do not need to respect the flimsy vinyl rails. This can lead to your horse developing bad habits such as hanging his legs or even running through the fence. Better to have sturdy wood horse jumps that stay up to light pressure and only come down when hit.