Ideas for Painting Horse Jumps

Competition horse jumps are usually painted in bright colors.
Competition horse jumps are usually painted in bright colors. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Horse jumps are painted partly to protect the wood and partly to make every jump look different. This is more challenging for the horse, and also helps the rider remember the correct course around a set of jumps during a competition. Classic show jumps consist of two jumps: "standards" (supports) and two or more poles or other fillers. The wings are normally painted in one color only while the jump poles are traditionally painted in wide strips of white alternating with another color. This helps the rider aim at the jump, as they can ride toward a specific section of color.

Painting Jumps

To paint classic horse jumps, you will need white paint and at least one colored paint, suitable for outside use. Paint the jump wings in a single color, using two coats of paint, or alternatively paint in the frame in a color and the inside support bars in white. Divide the jump poles up into sections using masking tape, and paint the white sections first. Wait until the white paint is completely dry before painting the colored sections. Painting jumps is a good way to use up part-full cans of paint; you could also look for odd small cans of paint on sale at your local store.

Traditional Color Schemes

Traditional jumps are painted in a color scheme of white and one or more other colors. A typical jump might consist of a pair of standards painted green, with three poles painted in colored stripes. Two poles sit on cups between the standards to make up the jump, and the third lies on the ground to give the horse an "eye line." This ground pole should be a pale color so it can be easily seen. The whole jump can be coordinated (i.e., green and white), or you could use green standards with a mixture of different colored poles.

Helpful Color Schemes

It is possible to paint your jumps to make them easier for a young or inexperienced horse. Many horses prefer to jump poles rather than solid fillers made of planks, as they do not like not being able to see daylight through the jump. To encourage your horse to jump a solid filler, use standards painted in a dark color and a filler painted a pale color. This makes the jump look more inviting. You can also paint a triangle, the same width as the filler, rising to a point in the middle of the jump. This will "point" the horse over the jump and encourage it to jump in the center.

Fun Color Schemes

Once your horse has had some practice at jumping, you can use unusual color schemes to make it look at the obstacles. Popular themes are fillers painted with spots, stars or checkers, and poles painted with narrow stripes. You could try painting a filler made of planks so that it looks like a wall, a landscape, a row of trees or even the front of a house. For a complicated design, trace it out on paper first and keep the shapes bold and simple.

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