If you've been tasked with landscaping a cross country course for your local three day event, bulk firewood can be utilised to create a roll top obstacle. It's much more cost effective to make your own roll top than it is to buy one. Here's how to do it.

Sourcing suitable timber

When you are gathering materials for a series of cross country fences, a good source of timber is to buy bulk firewood from a reputable supplier.  Alternatively, you could look around at tree service companies who may have surplus logs and branches available that you could obtain cheaply or for free.

Choosing a site for your fence

Before moving the timber, you need to decide where to put the fence. Take advantage of the natural topography of your land but try to consider the longevity of the timber too.

If your climate is humid, try to site the fence out of the sun and under the shelter of trees. You will need to treat the wood with preservative to prevent it from rotting. Avoid using latex paint or sealant, as this will seal any damp into the wood, causing it to rot from the inside out.

In dry climates, the wood will last longer, although you may want to add a termite preventative treatment to discourage the insects from setting up home in your jump and eating it.

Building a roll top fence

In order to prevent rot, to make the wood last longer and to prevent it shifting in the event that a horse hits the obstacle, don't just place the timber on the ground.

Place two pieces of treated wood underneath the main log at either end to give it some height and keep it clear of the ground. It doesn't matter if the log is slightly higher at one end, as cross country fences are supposed to look natural and to present a visual challenge to horse and rider.

Use a handsaw to remove all protruding branches or stumps from the main log. This is really important to prevent injury to horses as they jump over the fence. Use a hand plane to smooth over all rough areas.

To keep the log in place on the plinths, use rope bound in a figure of eight and fastened with a quick release knot.

In conclusion

You can build a great roll top fence for your cross country course by following the guidelines given above, using bulk firewood.