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Get Creative with Horse Obstacles: Low-Cost DIY Ideas for Training Fun

Horse riding is a popular and enjoyable activity for many people, but it is not without its challenges. Obstacles can be a great way to add some extra excitement to your riding routine and help to improve your horse’s training.

Here, we’ll introduce you to the world of horse obstacles, discuss their importance, and provide some low-cost ways to create them.

Importance of Horse Obstacles

Horse obstacles are objects or structures put in place to challenge the horse and rider during training, promoting new skills. By introducing different obstacles to a horse’s training routine, you can improve their athleticism, balance, coordination, and mental focus.

Equally, horse obstacles help improve the rider’s skills, such as improving balance and developing a more personal relationship with their horse.

The Low-cost Ways to Create Horse Obstacles

Creating horse obstacles can be done easily without breaking the bank. There are several low-cost ways to create your own horse obstacles, whether it be with different textures, colors, sounds, or materials.

One simple way to create horse obstacles is to utilize things around the house or barn. For example, you can use logs, hay bales, and tires, which can be stacked horizontally, vertically, or both.

You can use different sized boxes with different objects, like bottles, cones, and balls, which can be knocked over or manipulated. You can also use tarps, blankets, and sheets of different colors and textures, allowing your horse to experience new sounds and textures under their feet.

DIY Horse Obstacles

One of the most exciting parts of creating horse obstacles is making your own. There are lots of simple techniques and materials that you can use to create horse obstacles.

PVC pipes, plywood, and poles are all great materials that can be found at your local hardware store. You can create jumps and tunnels with these materials easily.

Safety Considerations When Creating Horse Obstacles

It’s important to remember safety when it comes to obstacles. Safety is a critical factor to remember when creating horse obstacles because it can help avoid any accidents and prevent injuries to both horse and rider.

The first thing to consider is the terrain where you plan to set up your obstacle. Choose a flat, even surface that is free of hazards like rocks and holes.

Also, ensure that the horse obstacles are installed firmly into the ground so they don’t move when the horse interacts with them. Horse Obstacle #1: The Grocery Bag

One obstacle that is easily made and can be quite useful is the grocery bag.

A discarded grocery bag is a cost-effective and straightforward way to create an obstacle that allows your horse to experience new textures and sounds.

Desensitization Using Grocery Bags

The first step is to desensitize your horse to the grocery bag. Start by walking your horse over the bag.

Next, practice getting your horse to walk over the bag and pick it up. Gradually, your horse will become more comfortable with the bag, allowing you to move on to other experiences.

Different Ways to Use Plastic Bags

Once your horse is comfortable with the bag, you can start expanding your training by adding other items inside the bag. For example, you can place noisy items such as water bottles filled with pebbles, rattles, and other metallic objects inside the bag.

This will take the desensitization exercise to the next level.

Using Paper Bags for Scared Horses

If your horse is particularly nervous, you can use paper bags instead of plastic. The paper bag may make less noise than plastic, which can be less intimidating to your horse.

Ramp-Up Options for Grocery Bag Obstacle

As your horse becomes more stable, it’s time to add some ramp-up options. For example, placing the bag on a broad black plastic sheet, or laying out several bags in a row for your horse to walk on, will increase the difficulty of the challenge.


Horse obstacles are a great way to challenge your horse and add some new excitement to your training routine. By introducing different obstacles, you can help improve your horse’s athleticism, coordination, and mental focus.

They also help develop your skills as a rider, which is critical in building a strong bond with your horse. Inexpensive and easy to create, horse obstacles can be made using materials you have around the home or at your hardware store.

However, it is important to consider safety when creating horse obstacles, both for your own safety and that of your horse. By following these guidelines outlined above, you can create and safely use horse obstacles to enhance your horse training.

3) Horse Obstacle #2: The Used Tire

When it comes to horse obstacles, there are few as versatile and readily available as the used tire. Not only are they often free to acquire, but they can be used in a variety of patterns and settings to challenge your horse’s physical ability and mental focus.

Acquiring Free Tires

One of the best things about using tires as horse obstacles is that they are easy to come by. Many tire stores will give away old tires for free, provided they are being used for non-commercial purposes.

Additionally, many people have old tires lying around their homes that they would be happy to donate to your obstacle course.

Different Patterns Using Tires

Once you have your tires, there are several patterns you can create to challenge your horse. One common pattern is the step-up, where the horse must step up onto the tire and then back down again.

This helps to improve balance and coordination. Another pattern is the back-through, where the horse must walk through a row of tires with their front legs, and then pivot and walk back through with their hind legs.

This pattern helps to improve hindquarter control and coordination. Another popular pattern is the tire bridge.

In this obstacle, you lay out a series of tires in a straight line and stack them on top of each other to create a bridge. The horse must walk across the bridge, which challenges their mental focus and balance.

Safety Considerations When Using Tires

While tires are great for obstacle courses, they do come with their own unique safety considerations. You should always inspect the tires closely before using them, looking for any signs of damage or weakness.

Additionally, consider the type of tire you are using. Smooth tires can be slippery and may pose a risk to your horse’s hooves.

To mitigate this risk, try adding texture to the tire surface, such as sand, rubber matting, or even duct tape. 4) Horse Obstacle #3: Crepe Paper Streamers

Another versatile and low-cost horse obstacle is crepe paper streamers.

They are readily available at party stores or online on platforms such as Amazon, and they can be used in a variety of ways to challenge your horse’s mental focus and coordination.

Versatility of Crepe Paper Streamers

Crepe paper streamers are versatile because they are lightweight, easy to maneuver and can be incorporated in various obstacle setups, both indoors or outdoors. Their bright colors make them an ideal tool for teaching young horses to associate different colors with obstacles.

Different Uses of Streamers

One common way to incorporate streamers into an obstacle course is to hang them vertically from a horizontal pole, creating a wall of dangling streamers. As the horse walks forward, they have to navigate around the streamers without knocking them down, which improves their mental focus and coordination.

You can also tie streamers between poles to create a zig-zag pattern. The horse must navigate through the streamers without touching them, thus improving its steering and balance.

Finally, streamers can be used as ribbons to be stepped over, as flags to be approached from different sides, or even to trace an obstacle course.

Acquiring Streamers

Crepe paper streamers are widely available in party stores, and they come in different colors and sizes. For larger courses, you could purchase rolls of crepe paper streamers online with Amazon and other online stores, at a lower price than in retail outlets.


Horse obstacles are an incredible tool for improving your horse’s riding ability, balance, coordination, and mental focus. They provide a source of excitement and challenge for both horse and rider.

Using simple, low-cost materials, such as tires and streamers, you can create a wide variety of obstacles to keep your training routine fresh and exciting. With the right safety considerations in mind, you can use these obstacles to enhance your horse’s body control and coordination.

So have fun and get creative with your obstacle course!

5) Horse Obstacle #4: Dollar Store Pool Toys

If you’re looking for an affordable way to mix up your horse training routine, consider using dollar store pool toys as obstacles. They are easy to acquire, offer a variety of options, and can be used in many ways to challenge your horse’s skills.

Variety of Pool Toy Options

Dollar stores carry an amazing array of pool toys, making it easy to create a unique obstacle course. You can find items such as pool noodles, beach balls, foam toys, inflatable rings, and more.

Each of these items offers different sizes, shapes, and textures, making them ideal for a range of training exercises that will help challenge your horse.

Different Uses of Pool Toys

One popular method of incorporating pool toys into your training is to use them for sacking out exercises. For example, the pool noodles can be used to help your horse learn to tolerate handling around their legs without kicking out.

You can also use pool toys for maneuvering exercises. For example, you can use beach balls as a target for your horse to move towards or away from as part of training response.

Another way to use pool toys is to hang them from various objects, such as poles, to challenge your horse’s mental focus and coordination.

Acquiring Pool Toys

Pool toys are available at most dollar stores and other discount retailer outlets, making them an affordable option. You can also purchase them in bulk online to save money on training obstacles.

6) Horse Obstacle #5: DIY Water Obstacle

Water obstacles are excellent for testing a horse’s ability, as they force the horse to be strong and conscious of balance, control, and coordination. However, creating an affordable water obstacle can be challenging.

Below we provide some ideas on how to create an affordable water obstacle yourself.

Challenges with Finding Water Obstacles

Water obstacles can be tricky because they require a large amount of water, which can be hard to judge in terms of depth and temperature. To complicate matters further, horse owners also need to consider the safety measures that need to be put in place.

Creating a Water Puddle for Training

One cost-effective way to incorporate water into your horse training program is to create a water puddle obstacle. It is easy to set up and can be done in a variety of spaces.

All you need is a tarp or a pool liner, some rocks, and a hose. Start by placing the tarp or liner on the ground.

Then, place rocks around the perimeter to help hold the liner in place. You can use a hose to fill the liner slowly with water, or you can wait for rainwater to accumulate in the liner.

The water puddle obstacle can be used to train horses to step into water, become comfortable with the sensation of water, and learn to move through a space of water confidently.

Safety Considerations When Creating Water Obstacles

When it comes to safety around water obstacles, several precautions need to be taken. First, ensure that the obstacle is set up on level ground, preventing your horse from slipping or falling.

Also, ensure that the water depth is suitable for your horse. Too shallow or too deep can cause problems for your horse.

Additionally, ensure that the water is clean and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or bacteria that could be harmful when ingested. Moreover, ensure you build a reasonable size obstacle for your horse to maneuver in, not too large, neither too small.

You also need to be careful with the type of surface around the water obstacle as it can become slippery and dangerous for both the horse and rider.


The world of horse obstacles is vast and varied, opening up many avenues for horse training. By using a mix of low-cost materials like tires and pool toys and finding affordable ways to create water obstacles, you can add diversity and new challenges to your horse’s routine.

Equally important, always keep safety in mind when considering horse obstacles, ensuring both horse and rider remain well-protected throughout every activity. In conclusion, horse obstacles are an excellent way to improve your horse’s riding skills while adding fun and excitement to your training routine.

You can create affordable obstacles using everyday items like tires, streamers, and pool toys, and you can even create your own water obstacle using a tarp or pool liner and rocks. Safety is paramount when creating obstacles, and horse owners must take all necessary precautions to protect their horses and themselves.

The takeaways from the article are that horse obstacles can be fun, challenging, and rewarding, and they provide a great way to expand your horse’s skillset and bond with your horse.

Frequently Asked Questions:


What are horse obstacles, and why are they important?

Horse obstacles are objects or structures put in place to challenge the horse and rider during training, promoting new skills.

By introducing different obstacles to a horse’s training routine, you can improve their athleticism, balance, coordination, and mental focus. Equally, horse obstacles help improve the rider’s skills, such as improving balance and developing a more personal relationship with their horse.

2. How can I create low-cost horse obstacles?

Creating horse obstacles can be inexpensive and straightforward. You can use items around the household or obtain materials like streamers, pool toys, and tires from low-cost stores.

3. What are some safety considerations when creating or using horse obstacles?

Horse owners must take the necessary safety precautions when creating and using horse obstacles, including and not limited to terrain, installation, and material considerations. Additionally, concerns around the horse’s safety, which includes protecting them from injuries and traumas they may experience.

4. How can I create water obstacles safely?

Creating a water obstacle can be done safely if appropriate guidance is followed. This includes ensuring that the location is level ground, and the water should keep at an agreeable level, neither too shallow nor too deep, and always considering bacterial and chemical contamination.

5. Can horse obstacles be fun for both horse and rider?

Horse obstacles can be fun and challenging for both horse and rider. Through such exercises, the bond and skillset between the rider and the horse are expanded and improved, making the activity fun and enriching.

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