Back Button

How to Make Pole Bending Bases

Lilly Taylor

Pole bending bases are the six low, round supports used to keep pole bending poles upright during their use. The horse and rider weave a pattern along a straight line of the vertical poles spaced 21 feet apart.

A barrel horse.

The bases must be able to keep the poles upright but be flexible enough to release the pole if a horse collides with it. The base should be low enough to not become a tripping hazard. The base must be smooth enough not to present a health threat to the horses’ lower legs and hooves.

  1. Purchase six rubber 4-quart size feed pans. Do not exceed a maximum diameter of 14 inches per pan. Select only those made of flexible rubber that can be drilled and will not shatter if impacted by a running horse’s hoof.

  2. Drill a hole in the center bottom of each pan with a 2 ½-inch hole drill bit. Drill two ½-inch holes 6 inches apart in the sidewall, near the middle of the wall, through which to anchor a handle.

  3. Tie a knot in one end of an 18-inch section of 3/8-inch nylon cord. Thread the cord from the inside of the pan to the outside, then over to the adjacent hole and back into the inside of the pan, leaving the excess outside to form a handle. Tie a knot in the other end of the cord to secure it in place. Do not trim excess cord from the knots as it will help adhere the concrete to the interior of the pan.

  4. Position a 4-inch section of 2 ½-inch PVC pipe flush with the hole in the bottom of a pan. Mount a 2-inch PVC cap onto an 18 inch piece of 2-by-2 inch board with a ½-inch screw through the top of the cap and into the board. Insert the mounted cap into the top end of the standing PVC pipe. Rest the ends of the cap board flush on the edges of the pan to hold the center pipe level and steady while filling in completely around the pipe with concrete.

  5. Mix the concrete according to the manufacturer’s directions and follow instructions for proper drying and curing procedures. Remove the cap board when the concrete is dry enough to hold the pipe in place, forming a collar through the pan and concrete into which the 6-foot long PVC 2-inch diameter pole will later be inserted. Use the same cap board to position each 4-inch PVC collar in the concrete in each pan.

  6. Turn the pan upside down for use when dry so that the concrete is covered by the rubber pan. Insert the 6 foot pole bending pole (2-inch diameter PVC) into the 2 ½-inch collar you have molded into the center of the pan. Remove the pole from the collar when transporting.

  7. Tip

    Save time and do everything except the concrete filling in assembly line fashion. If your bases will receive extremely rough handling, drill handle holes on opposite sides of the pan and crisscross the handle rope through the center, around the collar, to provide additional adhesion.


    Make sure that rope handles do not form a tripping hazard for people or horses. Add end caps to the tops of the pole bending poles to avoid dangerous injuries.