Sorry to be a party pooper here; but it is very easy to construct unsafe and dangerous "home-made" fences. A lot of the photos posted on this forum of home made fences and backyard jumping frankly terrify me.
So before you start scrounging around for materials to build home made jumps, please keep a couple of things in mind:
- jumps need clear ground lines in order for the horse to correctly judge height and distance. A single rail is *never* a safe fence unless you're an advanced rider on a made horse with excellent control over pace, balance and direction.
- jumps need to have substance and depth for the same reason. If you've built a 2' vertical, and added ground lines on both sides, now fill in the airy vertical with brush, a barrel, the mounting block, something to make it appear substantial.
- jump materials need to be heavy enough to fall straight down when struck, not fly up and interfere with the horse, catch a hind leg or strike him as he attempts to land. Broom handles are a bad idea for this reason, as is PVC pipe.
- if you use barrels or anything else that can roll, make sure they're chocked or held in place with a rail.
- without a jump standard and cup, most homemade fences should only be jumped in one direction; the direction in which the rail will fall but not pull down what's holding it up and create a hazard. Learn to tell which way a fence is "set" by a quick glance, and don't jump it in the wrong direction.
What makes a good, safe homemade fence? Hay bales. Logs. Landscape timbers. Spare fence rails. Barrels, if chocked or secured. GROUND LINES.
And one last pet peeve/safety concern: If you've never jumped your horse before, the *worst* thing to do is set up a single airy vertical without standards. Start with trot poles, and add a little pyramid of poles at the end, then change the pyramid to a crossrail, then a vertical.