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Gryhrs
Jul. 12, 2012, 08:52 PM
We are going to build a ditch and would appreciate your help. We would like two ditches end to end - an "intro to ditches" ditch and another more training / prelim size. Need help determining dimensions. We also would welcome any building ideas or building material suggestions. Thanks!

Judysmom
Jul. 12, 2012, 09:26 PM
One of the farms I xc school at has a half ditch as their "intro to ditches" ditch. The half ditch is really useful, one side is unreveted and more of a slope into the ditch, and the opposite side is a normal reveted ledge (not sure if I explained this well, sorry!). It's great because it's less scary- less "ditchy" for the young horses and its easy for the horse to walk into the ditch and step out. I think its only about 6-8 inches deep too.

Rabtfarm
Jul. 12, 2012, 09:37 PM
I was able to build one in a weekend with some 6x8 x 12 foot PT posts...it is really 3 jumps in one: the easiest ditch is just like Judysmom described. It is 12' wide. It then becomes a BN ditch, revetted on both sides, a bit deeper. 12 feet wide too. It then has a wider(attached to the outside of both sides of the BN ditch) and deeper ditch for a 12 foot Novice/Training level ditch. The PT posts are about $50 each, and I used 12 of them but it makes for a solid long lasting ditch. The entire ditch then extends about 36 feet with all three efforts in a line.
I used 1" galvanized pipe to lock the stacked PT posts together and posts to set the unit and keep it from collapsing together. PM for pictures.

Gryhrs
Jul. 12, 2012, 10:40 PM
thanks! how deep? Raptfarm you havr a pm.

MeghanDACVA
Jul. 12, 2012, 10:41 PM
Here are the dimensions guidelines for ditches (and other jumps) from the USEA: http://useventing.com/sites/default/files/XC_Guidelines_Frangible_Pin_5_7_2012.pdf

We went to one of Dan Stark's clinic's a few years ago and his "hint" was to build the ditch structure (like a table jump you are going to turn upside down on its top) outside of the ditch then dig a ditch/hole to place the structure in and back fill it. Easy, once it makes sense in your head.

Rabtfarm
Jul. 12, 2012, 10:47 PM
Hi Meghan,

That means the angle of spread is 60 degrees, which is how I built my three levels of difficulty ditch...upside down coop type jump. Too bad you cannot post pix here.

baxtersmom
Jul. 12, 2012, 11:09 PM
We went to one of Dan Stark's clinic's a few years ago and his "hint" was to build the ditch structure (like a table jump you are going to turn upside down on its top) outside of the ditch then dig a ditch/hole to place the structure in and back fill it. Easy, once it makes sense in your head.

This is how we built ours, and it is EASY and FAST. :yes: There were instructions in the USEA magazine a couple summers ago -- worth asking someone to dig the issue out for you if you don't have it.

groom
Jul. 13, 2012, 02:47 AM
Ditches do not need depth. They just need the appearance of depth, so all you really need for a Starter-Novice ditch is the top rails, and then scoop out 6-12" of earth between them. This is easily accomplished with (2) 8" x 12'+ poles, fastened together with 4 x 6 crossmembers like you would for a portable skid frame. Build it at least 2'6" outside dimention - 3' will usually work better. With 8" poles the "hole" inside is only 2'4" if at 3' outside measurement.

For Prelim-Training, the same style construction work, at 4'6 to 5' outside, and scoop out 12-18" between. At these levels it is about what is related to the ditch anyway.

This style of skid frame ditch is cheap and virtually portable. The dished out hole between is easily repaired if you wish to relocate them.

Round poles as described are optimal, but otherwise, you can use 6 x 6 with heavily rounded over top edges. (saw a 45 x 1 1/2 and then sand it round) If 6x constuction, you might want to double the timbers (vertically) for a wider ditch (4-5') to give a more impressive appearance.

Gryhrs
Jul. 13, 2012, 08:11 AM
Here are the dimensions guidelines for ditches (and other jumps) from the USEA: http://useventing.com/sites/default/files/XC_Guidelines_Frangible_Pin_5_7_2012.pdf

Easy, once it makes sense in your head.

Easy....as in "oh I'll just wallpaper the bathroom this afternoon" ?? And then 2 weeks later I'm cursing Martha Stewart ....easy??? :) But I do love the table idea.

Thanks all for the help. The area where we want to build is pretty well drained but do we need to do any extra gravel or anything to help with drainage??

retreadeventer
Jul. 13, 2012, 10:16 AM
Hahahaha! I'm with you Gryhs!!! me too.
I have a drainage near a water source and periodically I go out and look at it and take a shovel, and have thoughts of doing something professional-looking to it, then think the better of it, and leave it the way it is! :)

deltawave
Jul. 13, 2012, 11:17 AM
I had the excavators scoop out a little 6" depression in my riding area, finished digging it square by hand and "revetted" it myself with pressure-treated 2 x 6s with those garden stakes that allow you to place boards in them to form raised beds. It has stood up very well over several years.

They need not be deep, just ditchy-looking. Ditches deep enough to seriously injure a horse are a HUGE pet peeve of mine--what on EARTH is the point? The question can be asked with an 8" deep one as well as a 3' deep one. :sigh: Another topic . . . ;)

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 13, 2012, 11:31 AM
other key thing is location. I hate the ditches that are built smack in a flat field. It isn't natural. If you have a natural swale in the land...that is where you should build the ditch. leaving it natural, then slight revetted on one side then progressing to revetted on both sides is a great introduction.

They do not need to be deep...and putting a dark base in can give a great illusion of depth.

Robin@DHH
Jul. 13, 2012, 12:03 PM
Bornfree, if you build a ditch in a swale, sooner or later
you will have a heavy rain and the swale ditch will become
a whole lot deeper than you originally planned. Ask me
how I know <g>.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 13, 2012, 12:13 PM
Bornfree, if you build a ditch in a swale, sooner or later
you will have a heavy rain and the swale ditch will become
a whole lot deeper than you originally planned. Ask me
how I know <g>.


True...but that is where most xc coures (and good designers) build them for a reason. It is where a horse naturally expects to see one and they will more easily understand the question......as opposed to a "hole" in the middle of their field (which is much much scarier).

VCT
Jul. 13, 2012, 12:26 PM
We built one recently... dug out approximately the right size with our tractor to about 6-8 inches. We used treated 4x6 posts for the "frame" and lined the ditch with landscape paper. Then we put gravel on top. Sometime soon I will get small half-round logs (log ripped in half length-wise) from my neighbors sawmill to put on top of the 4x6's on the long sides of the ditch.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=469553936403529&l=313fc064d4
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=469554209736835&l=338ba1078a

It took me and my hubby one afternoon to build it.

Gryhrs
Jul. 13, 2012, 01:25 PM
have thoughts of doing something professional-looking to it, then think the better of it, and leave it the way it is! :)

Sister from another mister:) ps...hope you are recovering nicely

Bornfree - you read my mind. I was scoping out the location this morning. Hole in the middle of the field is exactly where I think ours would need to be. The other option is a downhill approach to it from one side - which seems scary to me. Since Rolex is not on my radar - I'm not sure this would be a good choice either. No swales (had to google this - wasn't sure what a swale was :) on our property so not an option.

VCT - great pics - you have my utmost admiration for accomplishing that in one afternoon!

JP60
Jul. 13, 2012, 01:38 PM
I love this thread, it does inspire me to consider making a ditch. As a side note, I did make a "fake" ditch using poles and dark tarp. When I put it out my guy took a long hard look and was a little bugged eyed. I rode up to it, gave him time to accept this "hole" then we came around to trot the "ditch". Smart guy that he was, he just extented his trot, never jumped. Now he just steps into it or now and then stops and licks the tarp (did I say smart?) I think I'll need the real deal to convince him to actually work to get over it :-)

mg
Jul. 13, 2012, 01:59 PM
I love this thread, it does inspire me to consider making a ditch. As a side note, I did make a "fake" ditch using poles and dark tarp. When I put it out my guy took a long hard look and was a little bugged eyed. I rode up to it, gave him time to accept this "hole" then we came around to trot the "ditch". Smart guy that he was, he just extented his trot, never jumped. Now he just steps into it or now and then stops and licks the tarp (did I say smart?) I think I'll need the real deal to convince him to actually work to get over it :-)

I did the same thing when trying to get some schooling work done over the winter. I ended up placing a third pole diagonally across the two poles designating the "ditch" front and back, so my horse had to jump over it.

LAZ
Jul. 14, 2012, 01:23 AM
Gryhrse--I have some pics on my FB page of my ditches that are built like Groom specifies. They're pretty easy with minimal equipment needed.

Except this summer. You might need a jackhammer this summer....God I hope it rains soon!

Gryhrs
Jul. 14, 2012, 08:27 AM
Thanks Laz! True about jackhammer.

Anyone ever use a very heavy landscape "felt" to line the bottom of the ditch? It is dark so would give the illusion of making the ditch deeper.

RiverBendPol
Jul. 14, 2012, 02:29 PM
Whatever you do, don't give it raised edges...I fell onto a ditch that I think had 2x4's on edge all the way around the top edge of the ditch. The landing on that 2x4 broke my tibia and gave me a thigh bruise that still hurts to touch...the fall happened in April of 2010....

smay
Jul. 14, 2012, 02:34 PM
I've used the lanscape felt to make training ditches and it's great. Makes a deep-looking spooky ditch that doesn't even NEED depth to mimic a hole in the ground. SO it's a great way to introduce ditches to greenies or those who have proclaimed their dislike for ditches! You just lay your logs across the fabric parallel and make it as wide as you like.

Gryhrs
Jul. 14, 2012, 03:19 PM
Whatever you do, don't give it raised edges...I fell onto a ditch that I think had 2x4's on edge all the way around the top edge of the ditch. The landing on that 2x4 broke my tibia and gave me a thigh bruise that still hurts to touch...the fall happened in April of 2010....

Yikes! Been there - tibial plateau fracture. Not fun! Good to know...thanks.....goal is to have absolutely flush with the ground.

Thanks Smay - nice to have empirical evidence:)

Nancy!
Jul. 15, 2012, 02:52 PM
I have built two ditches on my property. The first one was about 16 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide about 2 feet deep. The second one is one railway deep and about 2 feet wide. This is my beginner ditch.

I built the second one by hand and the first we used the tractor to dig. Both only took a few hours.

I am noticing that in Alberta more ditches are now being "marked" with white edges and are not flush with the ground. I think this gives the horses an idea that something is coming up and they don't seem as surprised as they were at the older unmarked ditches.

Nancy!

groom
Jul. 15, 2012, 05:42 PM
Yikes! Been there - tibial plateau fracture. Not fun! Good to know...thanks.....goal is to have absolutely flush with the ground.

Thanks Smay - nice to have empirical evidence:)



I disagree. Ditches need a raised groundline. I am sorry you fell off and hurt yourself, but I don't think eliminating ground lines on ditches is the solution.

Gryhrs
Jul. 15, 2012, 07:24 PM
Groom- I broke my leg jumping a green bean thru a grid. Nothing to do with ditch.

I agree with you that ground line is important but I think flush with the ground along the lines of VCT's photos.