British Equine Collectors' Forum

For All British Model Horse Collectors

Making Jumps and Other Accessories

The jumps and accessories described below can all be made quite easily and inexpensively with a few basic tools and materials. You can get a vast array of ideas for jumps from horse books and magazines. Almost anything can be adapted and made for use with model horses, but to start with, keep things simple as these can be just as useful as more elaborate set-ups. A guide of where to obtain materials can be found at the end of this page.

You will need:

  • Craft KnifeSaw - a hand-held coping or fret saw
  • Drill - hand or electric with as small a bit as possible
  • Sandpaper - fine grade
  • Glue - wood glue such as Evo-Stik is ideal
  • Paint - model paints: acrylics are best for wood, use matt for undercoat and gloss for topcoat
  • Dowel - for poles, etc.
  • Wooden strips - width and thickness depends on scale
  • Cocktail Sticks


  • This must be a primary consideration, and there are many points to consider:  Follow all safety precautions and read All label instructions, information and warnings.
  • Tie back Long hair.....don't wear loose or baggy clothing.....Keep pets and small children away from where you are working.
  • Remember never to eat, drink or smoke whilst you are working.
  • Use Protective Eyewear!!  ALWAYS Wear goggles or safety glasses when using knifes, sandpaper and dremels.
  • When cutting or sawing try to hold it in a vice, and NOT your hand.  If it has to be in your hand, wrap your hand in a thick cloth or wear protective gloves, and always cut away from yourself.
  • A mask to filter out dust is a very good idea.  Dust can cause irritation to the throat and lungs if inhaled may also be harmful. 
  • Always work in a well-ventilated area, and avoid breathing any fumes. 
  • When sawing or sanding, hold the item over a sheet of newspaper and bin the waste as soon as you have finished.
  • Any paints containing cadmium (e.g. Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Naples Yellow) or lead (e.g. Flake White) are poisonous, so don't suck your paintbrushes!  If you're airbrushing it is best to avoid these colours altogether unless you have a filtered air-booth to paint in.
  • Try using barrier cream or gloves on your hands before using any kind of epoxy filer and never put any kind of filer near your eyes or mouth. Some of the substances could possibly be cancerous.
  • Most kinds of glue used for making accessories can cause bad blisters on the eyes if they have any contact with them, so don't let dried glue stay on your hands, always wash it off.
  • If using a power-tool for sanding, don't use it for long periods of time, take a rest every 5 minutes or so as several customisers have suffered serious circulation and long term nerve problems as a result of this.
  • Always wash your hands very well when you?ve finished.
  • Remember to wear your dust mask while doing all your sawing, filing and sanding and work somewhere well ventilated, preferably NOT a bedroom or a food preparation area.
  • Think Safety First - Take Care at All Times, Prevention is Best - and Have Fun!!

Show Jumps

The following is an idea for a simple jump wing. You will need a length of 12mm square moulding to make a pair of stands for Breyer Classic or Traditional sized horses.  Cut them to approximately 13cm long.  With a drill bit the same size as the cocktail sticks, make several holes down one side of each of the posts at regular intervals: these will be the jump cups so glue them in at a slight 'upwards' angle.  Next, use a sharp craft knife to cut a cocktail stick down into 1cm lengths, glue these into the drilled holes at a slight upward angle.  To help the post stand up, glue a flat piece of wood to the bottom.  When all the glue has dried, sand any rough edges gently and then paint.  Remember to undercoat first, as paint will soak into unprimed wood.

Poles can be very simply cut from a length of suitably sized doweling.  Sand the cut ends smooth before painting.  Planks can be made from various sizes of flat wood strips. Cut two small pieces for each end of the plank; glue them on well as these will support the plank in the cups. Gates can also be made from flat or square wood strips.

To make a simple hedge jump, you can use a flat green pan scourer for the hedge foliage. Using flat wood strips, make a frame as shown below. Fold the pan scourer in the middle and place it in the inside of the top rails and tuck both ends of the bottom edges inside the bottom rails and glue if necessary. The rails can be painted or left natural.


Cross-Country Jumps

Most can be made using dowel and thin wood, such as log piles, benches, coops, trakehners, etc. For a natural tree log - try using a small branch from a tree. Look at pictures in books and magazines for ideas. If you want to paint the jumps, use a mixture of matt browns and greens for a natural colour.

Other Accessories:

The Dressage Ring: Letter boards can be easily made from any flat scraps of wood, cut into squares and painted white. Glue a thin strip of wood on to the back to help make the board stand - see below. Transfer lettering is ideal for the letters themselves, available in most newsagents, post offices and craft/art shops. Arena boards can be made in much the same way, but with longer wood strips with a strut at each end.

Fencing: use square wood moulding or dowel. Cut two square upright posts to the height you require. For the rails, you can either use similar sized square moulding or dowel. The former can be glued onto the uprights directly but dowel will probably need to be morticed in some way. Make sure the two upright posts are level so they will stand or add a flat piece of wood to the bottom of each of the uprights.

Flags: Use cocktail sticks with a diamond-shaped piece of card wrapped and glued around each one. Remember - Red flags are on the Right & White flags are on the left.

Pot Plants & Other details: small terracotta pots can sometimes be found in craft shops and florists, or you can make pots by using the containers that rolls of film come in, cut approx 2/3cms off the top, paint with primer and then paint in whatever colours you like. To make the plants use either moss or small headed dried flowers, you can also buy small silk roses in bunches of 10 or 12 that are used in wedding decorations. If you search in toy, hobby or miniature railway shops you can also find small stablemate sized trees and bushes that can work well for Traditional sized pot plants, sometimes they also sell small fences. Some of these shops also sell backdrops and grass that are used for miniature railway set-ups. Just remember to try and keep the items in scale with the models your using. Companies like Breyer or Country Style Models also sell ready-made jumps, fences and plants.  


Picture shows a 1 /32 scale plastic Mule kit CM.
The Bridge is made from balsa wood and the 'rails' are made from wooden cocktail sticks. Bushes are 'clumps' of model railway greenery. The whole bridge is only 10cms long. 


Where to find....

Wood moulding/strips and dowelling: most DIY shops stock wood mouldings and doweling, but usually only in 2-3 metre lengths.  Some hobby and model shops stock smaller wooden strips of all widths and lengths and these would be more suitable for the smaller scaled jumps, etc.  The wood itself usually comes in a choice of hard or softwood.  Hardwoods are more expensive and not usually needed.  Even Balsa wood can be used but remember that even a light breeze can knock these over when you're photographing outside!

Paints - model paints are readily available from most hobby and craft shops. Use acrylics as opposed to enamels. You can use household paints, but please remember some may have a lead content, so will not be suitable for these items as they may be handled by children.

All tools are readily available form DIY or hobby shops if you cannot borrow what you need.

This information sheet was kindly produced by Pam and Dave Wakelam.  

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