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Building a ditch

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  • Building a ditch

    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!

  • #2
    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.
    Unrepentant carb eater

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    • #3
      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.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        thanks! how deep? Raptfarm you havr a pm.

        Comment


        • #5
          Here are the dimensions guidelines for ditches (and other jumps) from the USEA: http://useventing.com/sites/default/...n_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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
              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. 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.

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              • #8
                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.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                  Here are the dimensions guidelines for ditches (and other jumps) from the USEA: http://useventing.com/sites/default/...n_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??

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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!
                    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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. Another topic . . .
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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>.
                          Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                          Elmwood, Wisconsin

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                            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).
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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?fb...9&l=313fc064d4
                              http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...5&l=338ba1078a

                              It took me and my hubby one afternoon to build it.
                              2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                                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!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  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 :-)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JP60 View Post
                                    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.
                                    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        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.

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