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How wide a bridge?

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    How wide a bridge?

    I'd like to make a bridge over a small ditch/runnoff. (my horse could jump it, but he won't.) I may have access to some leftover wood that was a bridge over a footpath but the boards look about 3 feet wide. Is that wide enough for a horse?

    No - I would want it a minimum of 4 foot, better 6 foot or more.

    Compare the 4 ft to the normal sized dutch (horse) door - that's usually 4 foot wide. Not much clearance for the horse - and wouldn't you want a little wiggle room if horse spooked while you were on bridge?
    Now in Kentucky


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      “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." And more so for women who try to control other women's choices


        Wood bridges have some disadvantages... it is slippery when wet, and boards break. Have you considered a metal or concrete culvert covered with dirt? It could be more narrow without making the horse so 'looky' at it.


          Depends. If it is just a muddy area you want to cross and the drop-off into the mud is only a few inches, then 3 ft is probably OK. I have crossed some 'bridges' over mucky areas that were only 2 ft wide.

          If the drop-off is over about 6 inches, then I personally would feel safer with 4+ feet of width. And if the drop-off is more than 2 feet, I would want rails on the sides. But I'm a bit of a safety fusspot.

          "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
          - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


            three feet wide is not fun on a horse.


            Done it lots, yet it's not great fun. If they booger or act like an air head, you are going to fall off the bridge.


              Originally posted by katarine View Post
              three feet wide is not fun on a horse.


              Done it lots, yet it's not great fun. If they booger or act like an air head, you are going to fall off the bridge.
              yeah, but an extra foot is not really keeping you up when horse gets an a-hole moment either.
              Unless of course you have rails.

              But I hope it's not deep...

              (I am thinking about a family friend..she would ride her eventer across a rather unstable footbridge to desensitize him for the Xcountry courses she might encounter My dad thought she was nuts, since the bridge was, well, not stable...not for a 1200 pound WB...)


                My DH made a bridge for training out of old rail ties. I think it is about 6 feet wide...which feels wide enough when riding over it, but narrow when leading a spooky horse!
                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                  Some narrow little bridges we've traveled. I've never seen rails on one of our bridges...we've had green horses fall off of them and when you're riding a green horse over you just keep your eyes forward and up and think happy calm thoughts.

                  There is sound on these so beware. Lots of happy clip clopping but then loud talking-in the first one there is a scuffle at the end which turned out to be my husband falling off the bridge when his horse tried to reach out for a bite of grass and fell it was just swampy mud off the sides. Horse got dirty, DH didn't come off, no harm done. Spooked my horse though.


                  Second was a crazy set of "bridges" put up over the swampy areas of a trail-my daughter was a little concerned that it wasn't meant for horses but it was, as much as most horse bridges are in Montana. There had been a forest fire in that area, hence all the down/dead trees...

                  Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Stephen R. Covey


           I used to ride across that. I'm actually surprised it's still there, and eventually I found a way that didn't involve crossing it. It had a ten foot drop, and the rails are just the wrong height for a rider's feet. I also remember worrying about how stout it was.
                    Three feet across would be fine for something less than a foot or so off the ground, or even 18", they can step down from that and be OK. It's just sort of a question as to how klutzy the horse is, does he keep track of himself or is he the type to start to fuss and then bang into the fence (or fall off your bridge).
                    Stout-wise, a horse keeps most of its weight on the forehand, I think it's 60% or better, so your lumber has to be thick enough and your supports underneath have to be thick enough and close enough together to support a PSI value of say 1000 lb horse x 60% / 2 horse feet that are about 36 sq inches or 600lbs/72sq inches which is roughly 8 or 9 PSI. (Check my math, I'm forever dropping a decimal place.) People are on average 180/48sq inches, or 3-4 PSI, that's why I worried about the footbridge. Vehicles are much heavier, but for some reason rolling weight is traveling fast enough that the surface won't always give way - Lord help you if you stop though.
                    You don't want to use something that the horse will break through, that's Not Good. So none of those 1x6 deck boards they sell nowadays. Not unless the joisting is really close. My horse used to walk across the deck at home all the time, but it was designed in a Japanese look, all 2x4 on edge so exceptionally stout.

                    (Sorry that got so convoluted in the middle there)
                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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