Building a Bridge

This was a quick little project this week. Wendy wanted me to build her a bridge. Not a bridge in the typical sense, but a bridge for the horses to walk across when doing the obstacle course. This would be our own bridge for practice and rehearsal, but it might also be used at some of the horse shows we go to, so it needs to be somewhat portable.

Framing the bridge

After some discussion, we decided that the bridge would be 32 inches in width by 4 feet in length.

I had some leftover 2×6 which I could use for the frame so the height of the bridge would be about 7 inches – the 2×6 plus the thickness of the boards on top.

I cut the 2×6’s to length and made the frame as shown in the photo. Given that the horses would be walking over this, I wanted it to be good and sturdy, so I used three (3) rails to support the top boards with cross braces in between.

I had to purchase some 5/4 pressure treated deck boards for the top. I cut each of them to 32 inches in length on my table saw.

The frame was assembled and squared up with the help of four corner clamps and two longer clamps. I used 3 inch screws to hold it all together. Two of the pieces of 5/4 inch decking were used for the ends.

After assembling the frame in the shop, we carried it upstairs to the garage before adding the top boards, which would add considerable weight.

Finished

The top boards were attached using 1 1/2 inch wood screws. I also drilled a couple of holes in each side rail with a 3/8 inch bit and inserted a 24 inch piece of nylon rope through the holes.

I tied knots in the ends of the ropes and sealed them with a torch. They should last a long time.

The finished bridge is heavy (it needs to be), but 2 people can lift it and carry it with the use of the rope handles on the sides. It should fit in my truck bed if we need to take it to a horse show.

I didn’t add anything else, but there is always the option to add handrails to the sides of the bridge. These would be mostly decorative so I would probably make them so they are easily detachable. PVC pipe would be a good material for this.

All in all, this was a straight-forward project that took only a couple of hours of actual work. It should keep the horses occupied for years to come.

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