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How to Build Cavaletti

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  • How to Build Cavaletti

    Has anyone built their own? Ideally, I'd like to buy them already made up and delivered to me, but I'm not sure I can find anyone locally to do it.

    I'd like the traditional cavaletti that can be turned for three heights built sturdily enough not to need replacing every year.

  • #2
    Dover sells cavaletti that provide multiple height options. The look like plastic blocks. They are actually very cool and work perfectly - and they are immune to the weather, etc..
    Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon


    • #3
      I built a set following the directions here:

      Very easy and inexpensive. Painted them white, they look very good. My only additional recommendation would be locking washers on the bolts to keep the ends from moving as the wood dries over time.


      • #4
        PM Risk-Averse Rider - she has plans. At the very least she can tell you where she got them.
        Chronicles of the $700 Pony
        The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
        www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


        • #5
          I know this doesn't answer your question, but I've got the PolyPro Large cavaletti, at the bottom of this page - http://www.dressagearena.net/pages/stackers.html - and I love them. They're tall enough that I can set up little jumps for my youngsters. We used the Quick Cavaletti at the 2006 USDF Convention, with no success; they didn't hold up well.
          spriesersporthorse.com | farm on Facebook | me on Facebook | blog


          • #6
            If you build them (nice because they are heavier/solid/inspire clear steps with the horse) get octagonal posts (or round) or plain the squareness off to make them safer, especially if you are going to use them higher than the lowest setting.
            I.D.E.A. yoda


            • #7
              i am trying to print or save the diagram shown above from Texas Horseman's. it keeps crashing my computer

              does anyone have any other diagrams or can someone send me a copy that isn't corrupt?

              many thanks!


              • #8
                I recently printed those plans and presented them to my husband. I also printed the pictures of the adjustable height ones shown here. Then I picked up a bunch of landscape ties on sale at Home Depot last weekend. His plan to make them adjustable is to not notch out at the overlap, and not only drill the off center hole to make one position higher then the other, but to drill several holes so they can be bolted together at different points. Not sure how it's going to work yet. He said something about using math... I promptly forgot that kind of math after high school.


                • #9
                  i *think* a regular even sided "X" will result in 3 different heights depending on which way you turn them.

                  i have no clue how to make stuff but it seems like it should be fairly easy (famous last words!)

                  my biggest question would be how the heck do i cut the notch? i see how tocut the side part of it but what about the base of the notch ? how do you do that?


                  • #10
                    the are easy to make you make get two 2x2 and cut them into 4 the x then add another thin wooden pole can buy a simple 8ft 4inched rounded stock pole and you place it in the .
                    X just above the center of the cross so when its low its tiny when yo turn over it its higher


                    • #11

                      if i dont put notch - how do you keep them from rotating out of "x"-ness?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mbm View Post

                        if i dont put notch - how do you keep them from rotating out of "x"-ness?
                        My guess would be serious wrench-work! We didn't get around to making ours this weekend, but this "out of "x"-ness has me worried too


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by magienoire View Post
                          I built a set following the directions here:

                          Very easy and inexpensive. Painted them white, they look very good. My only additional recommendation would be locking washers on the bolts to keep the ends from moving as the wood dries over time.
                          My father & I made four of these last year using these plans. We used 2x4 lumber for the x's, which worked (made them lighter) but think the original plan would've been more sturdy. We did make them with regular square 4x4s, which wasn't a preference, but what we had.

                          They get a lot of use at our barn. We painted them white, and they've even appeared in a couple of eq classes at our shows. You do get 3 different heights, depending on how you set them on the ground.

                          I have the directions in a word document - PM me with your email and I'll send it to you.
                          A proud friend of bar.ka.


                          • #14
                            anyone know what the weight difference would be between using 4x4 lumber and 2x4? mine will have to be removed from the arena each time so weight is a consideration.


                            • #15
                              I just *had* to resurrect this thread- I made my first set of cavaletti today (go me!!) and I have discovered that you don't necessarily have to notch the center of the "x" if you use 2 screws that are somewhat askew (plus a few drops of wood glue) and you're good to go!

                              I LOVE my new cavaletti and can't wait to drag them to the barn and send my poor unsuspecting horses over them!


                              • #16
                                My dear Dad made me a set of X ended cavallettis. They were great! He did notch the centers of the "X" and ran a bolt right through the notched part. He used 4x4 lumber which made the whole thing sturdier. He trimmed the bottoms of each X so they would have a flat spot to rest on no matter which way they were turned. I recall he had a table saw back then. Maybe that made it easier?

                                He also planed off the edges of the 4x4 rail, making it hexagonal for safety. Then the rail was bolted into one angle of the X, through one of the 4x4's. Very sturdy! Yes to the locking washers. As the wood dries out, you will periodically have to tighten the bolts.

                                I could use them as a gymnastic trot pole line, or turn them for small jumps, or stack (!) them on the days I was feeling particularly daring.

                                God bless my Dad! Making those cavallettis was a labor of love and quite a feat of engineering. He had little to go by except having seen the set my first riding teacher had, and a diagram that de Vargha sketched for him.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                  anyone know what the weight difference would be between using 4x4 lumber and 2x4? mine will have to be removed from the arena each time so weight is a consideration.
                                  I used 2 2x4's bolted together for the cross piece on mine. It's a bit lighter indeed. Not a huge difference, but it could meant he difference between easily movable and a struggle.

                                  It really, really helps to have a table saw. That's how I made my cutouts for the Xs. I used a spade bit for the holes to put the bolts through to connect the Xs, and the cross piece to them as well. Once you get going, it goes pretty fast.

                                  The most tedious part is marking and cutting out the cutouts for the Xs. But, I made 6 of them in less than 8 hours, total, though that was spread over a couple of days. Part of the slowdown was it taking long enough between 2 sets of them that I forgot what the settings were on the table saw to set the blocks for the width.

                                  But the cost savings is VERY well worth it for many. If you don't have the tools already, the cost goes up, obviously. I already had the tools, so only had to buy lumber and bolts.

                                  Edited to add - the 4x4's that I got had the edges "rounded" off already. It was a difference in 4x4s between Lowes and Home Depot, though I don't recall who had the rounded 4x4s. Having used the 2x4's for the cross piece, that makes for non-sharply-cornered edges already, so I didn't need to take off any.
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                  • #18
                                    Adapted From CAVALETTI by Peter Lichtner-Hoyer (nice book – check on line or at libraries)

                                    CAVALETTI CONSTRUCTION
                                    For basic work, you need 6 cavaletti. Cavaletti must be fixed in place, not loose poles.
                                    To build 6:
                                    24 screws for joining 2” x 4”
                                    12 bolts or screws for joining 2 2” x 4” Xs
                                    12 6" spikes to fasten poles to Xs
                                    6 poles - 4" x 10' or 8’
                                    12 pieces - 2" x 4" x 8'
                                    From each: Cut 4 pc. 11” long Cut the remaining length in half (2 pc. about 25 5/8”)
                                    To make ½ of an X:
                                    Lay one 25 ¾” piece flat.
                                    Stack one 11” piece on each end leaving 3 ½” space in the middle (this is your notch for joining the X)
                                    (Use a 2” x 4” to measure the space snugly) glue and screw.
                                    Round off the corners of ends if desired.

                                    Sandwich two of these together face to face in an X with the notches meeting (bolt but DO NOT GLUE if you want to dismantle later)

                                    Set the pole in the X and spike into one of the glued/screwed sides. (Use bolts if you want to be able to dismantle) Done

                                    At the highest height should be about 16 inches to the top of the pole, when set at lowest, about 5 inches - the pole just off the ground. Middle setting (half height) are the most used.

                                    CAVALETTI SPACING
                                    Intervals between cavaletti should measure:
                                    walk - 5 - 5 ½ feet
                                    trot - 4 - 4 ½ feet
                                    canter - 20 feet (about 6-7 human paces)

                                    Never set cavaletti so tight a horse must place a foot in a new cavaletti space with each walk step. Young horses cannot maintain rhythm and balance under a rider if they have no time to make corrections. Cavaletti should support the horse psychologically by providing it with better information and building its trust. For the less able horse, the difficulty of separating even four cavaletti placed too closely together can result in leg injuries and a damaged sense of trust in the rider, resulting in a frustrated and sour horse.


                                    • #19

                                      i have started work on mine and hopefully this week i will be able to get 6 complete (that is the goal anyway).

                                      I have 2.5 done now and it seems fairly straightforward once started!

                                      i am soooo excited to have them!