The choice between vinyl and wood horse jumps is important. Ideally, your jumps are an investment that will be around for years to come, so you want a choice that you are happy with. When it is time to decide between wood and vinyl, the choice is pretty straightforward. Wood horse jumps are a superior product.
The maintenance-free aspect of vinyl may be appealing to you, but it is important that you understand exactly what that means. Sure, vinyl comes with that glossy coat that doesn’t need repainting. The problem is, when vinyl breaks, which it does, it cannot be fixed. The jumps themselves are flimsier than wood, so horses show them less respect. When hit, they are more likely to splinter and break than wood. Once broken, there is no tacking them back together with a nail. They are done.
Vinyl is also much lighter weight than wood horse jumps. You may initially think this is an advantage when you think about moving and setting courses, but it really is not. Lightweight components are easy to knock over, and even blow over as you are cantering down the line. The ease that these fences are knocked over means your horse quickly learns he does not need to respect them. This leads to the development of sloppy, careless jumping form. The combination of careless jumping and ease of breakage can lead to nasty accidents.
Even with safety issues set aside, vinyl does not create as professional of an appearance as wood. Sure, in the displays, the shiny white jumps look great in the arena. In real life, however, vinyl fences need to be anchored with sandbags. They are not sturdy enough on their own. This creates a shabby appearance when compared to the crisp look of wood jumps.