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Ever design / build Wheelchair ramp for horse mounting?

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  • Ever design / build Wheelchair ramp for horse mounting?

    My daughter got involved with a local group that does therapy for disabled and emotionally challenged children. (She was actually one of the first group of kids in the category for the pilot program and is moving up to Jr. Student Helper!)

    The group has only been going a year and a half and they are moving along into the next phase of their growth and now need a special outdoor ramp constructed for allowing people in wheel chairs to ascend up to the level of the therapy horses and mount them to ride.

    We have been looking at the A.D.A requirements and trying to figure out how to calculate a gentle slope angle so we can design and create a materials list that we will be using to gather donations for. The ramp will have to be in two levels with a short landing in between. I don't have any of the dimensions of height yet but have seen other examples. The examples typically have a rise from ground level to a small pad to turn 180* and rise to the next level where they can be assisted to mount onto a horse.

    My thoughts are to build the entire ramps in aluminum, (since it will be outdoors and need to be semi-portable), and coat the decking with Herculiner truck bed coating, so that it will provide non-skid grip even in damp conditions. There will also be an accompanying hand rail system but that will be tubular and easy to construct as part of the ramps.

    My question is: Has anyone ever done something like this and could provide me some dimensions and / or ideas and images?

    Thank you in advance for you replies!

  • #2
    Have you considered a lift vs a ramp.

    Lift would have certain advantages. More portable. Adjustable mounting height. Less space required.

    Might want to look at what it would take to "modify" something like a jet ski lift to accomplish the objective. Also may want to take a look at the hydraulic lift tables sold by some of the major retailers for ideas.

    A ramp up to "horse height" is not going to be very portable and it's going to take a lot of space.


    • #3
      The ADA requirements have the Slope/Rise per ft already there for you.

      Really it is just a matter of trying to construct the ramp system so it is Modular.

      Here is one site to look at for ideas.


      • #4
        SDIII, I was thinking the same thing myself, when I first read this. Building a ramp, even two ramps with a landing in between, would take quite a bit of aluminum. Unless you designed wheels into them, they wouldn't exactly be portable, either.

        I did think that perhaps the noise of an electric/hydraulic lift would spook the horse, but any horses working with people like this should be able to take anything and everything. And then I think of the horse farm next door, those horses listen to me run heavy equipment, engine drive welders, air-carbon arcs, hammering, picking up and dropping stuff, etc. etc. All the clanging and banging doesn't even phase them anymore. They go to shows and exhibitions across the country, they tell me everybody else's horses jump and are startled by sudden loud noises, their horses don't even roll their eyes.

        Personally, I would research a lift, it may actually be cheaper and easier to work with in the long run.


        • #5
          Here is a calculator for slope.....Note that an occupied w/c takes a different slope than an unoccupied one.


          • #6
            I can relate to this thread as I use a power wheelchair. Sundown is right on target. The use of a lift or modified lift would be your best route to take. A ramp would be bulky and not as portable as you might think and by using a lift of some sort you will not have to worry about the slope or rise.

            Good luck,


            • #7
              Another advantage of a lift, you can vary the height, to fit the person's capabilities and the size of the horse.


              • #8
                Cheap and fast, find a straight up and down scissorlift manlift, remove the 4' slide-out portion on one end. Build down to ground level, something easy to get a wheelchair onto and enough room for helpers. Normally battery powered, use where ever, as long as you can recharge the batteries. Plenty of weight carrying capability, and stability, these were designed for 2 to 4 men, plus tools. And they are cheap now.

                Just follow the ADA rules, as far as handrails and safety equipment. No doubt in my mind, there's a way to limit the total rise, obviously we don't want to end up 30' in the air.


                • #9
                  Found this info also just googling around



                  • #10
                    i don't have any ideas.
                    but do you have any info where material or monetary donations could be made?
                    i may be able to help that way, as well as others.



                    • #11
                      personally, I really don't care to see something that is feasible only from donations,,,, I would rather see a design that will work, and is economically feasible, and possible to duplicate, whether or not "donations" are available.

                      Sounds like the OP has a valid need, we as a group should be finding ways to make it happen. Anybody can do it, spending thousands and millions, are there not cheaper ways, just as good???????


                      • #12
                        Hi Everyone!

                        And Thank you for your thoughts and comments!

                        I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of responses to my thread and I appreciate all the comments and suggestions!

                        First off, we are actually going to construct 2- sets of ramps. One is semi-permenent, Outdoor and the other will be portable.

                        The second thing is that the semi-permanent cannot use a lift for two reasons. 1) No electrical power at current facility and, 2) There is a "walk along" area adjacent to the loading ramp where one of the instructors / facilitators need to be guiding as the people start the ride and as they come off ending the ride.

                        Also, I forgot to mention that this program has recently received certification from NARHA and I am so glad that Broccoli1 posted the info. I spoke with our administrator and leaders of the program last night and they were awaiting the information you posted the link to! THANK YOU!!!

                        Going back to the first, semi-permanent ramp. My design considerations are to make it somewhat modular so that we can move this easily as our locations change. We currently do have a site where we are working but the area needs some additional leveling and maintenance so that we can make a better and safer area and hopefully show positive improvements to gain additional grants when we have influential visitors!

                        I will be donating all my personal time, labor and equipment to get the project going. I am also looking to contact our local FFA to see if there are any students who are in need of their civic service duties to graduate and get them involved with the project.

                        I have a good amount of materials to start with but by no means anywhere near 1/2 of what is needed to get this going. I'm hoping that some of my suppliers are willing to help out with some scraps or overruns to assist and whatever else we can get to make it happen.

                        I appreciate your generousity and thoughts and will try to provide more details of the program for those of you interested.

                        Thank you!


                        • #13
                          Here is a site that may give you some ideas on how to build a modular ramp.

                          Check out the section under the link to "The Manual".

                          Edit: I know this uses wood but the ideas should transfer.

                          Last edited by bluejay; 02-19-2010, 09:03 PM.


                          • #14
                            jsfab, you may have missed the word "monetary" in my previous post.
                            having been involved in a fair share of charity projects, money was always a necessity. whether it was for a case of water for the volunteers or, a hard to come by item. i"m just trying to help in a positive way. personally i do care.



                            • #15
                              As far as portability -- Mount two trailer wheels/tires at one end & a hitch set up to connect to a three point hitch on a tractor at the other. Almost all horse places have a tractor or something. Even if they dont have a three point set up you could make a hitch set up that would hook to the front bucket on something (tractor, skid steer, etc.). As simple as a trailer type hitch on the ramp & then put a hole in the bucket to accept a trailer ball.


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