The German horse is that peculiar piece of apparatus which is partly a horizontal obstruction to leap over, partly a barrier for jumps, partly a smooth surface of long and narrow dimensions over and about which the body may slide and swing, and partly an artificial back for the purpose of a peculiar style of leap frog.
The German Horse
To make a horse for the outdoor "gym" requires no difficult work save the preparation of the top or body of the horse. The making of the regular gymnasium horse requires a very elaborate wood-working and leather upholstering plant, but the one used for outdoor work can be made of a log of wood. Procure from a saw mill, wood yard or from the woods, one-half of a tree trunk from a tree 9 to 15 in. in diameter--the larger the better. The length may be anywhere from 4 to 7 ft., but 5 ft. is a good length.
The round part of this log must be planed, scraped and sandpapered until it is perfectly smooth, and free from knots, projections and splinters. Hand holds must be provided next. These are placed 18 in. apart in a central position on the horse. Make two parallel saw cuts 2 in. apart, straight down in the round surface of the horse until each cut is 9 in. long. Chisel out the wood between the cuts and in the mortises thus made insert the hand holds. Each hand hold is made of a 9-in. piece of 2 by 4-in. stud cut rounding on one edge. These are well nailed in place.
The body of the horse is to be fastened on top of posts so that it may be adjusted for height. It is not as difficult to make as the horizontal and parallel bars. The material required is as follows: Two posts, 4 in. square by 5 ft. long; 2 adjusting pieces, 2 by 4 in. by 3 ft. 3 in. long; 1 cross brace, 2 by 4 in. by 3 ft. long; 2 bases, 4 in. square by 5-1/2 ft. long; 4 knee braces, 2 by 4 in. by 3 ft. long; two 1/2-in. bolts, 1 in. long, to fasten the knee braces at the top; ten 1/2-in. bolts, 7 in. long, 4 to fasten the knee braces at the bottom, 2 to fasten the cross brace and 4 to be used in fastening the adjusting pieces to the posts.
To construct, layout the bases as shown in the drawing, making the mortises to receive the bottom ends of the posts exactly in the center, and cut a slanting mortise 6 in. from each end to receive the ends of the knee braces. Bevel the ends of the knee braces and fasten the upper ends of each pair to the post with one 9-in. bolt. Fasten the lower ends to the base with the 7-in. bolts.
The upper end of each post should have 5/8-in. holes bored through it parallel to the base at intervals of 3 in., beginning 1-1/2 in. from the top and extending down its length for 2 ft. 4-1/2 in. The adjusting pieces are to be bored in a similar manner after which they are to be mortised into the under side of the horse top 15 in. from each end, and secured with screws put through the top and into the end of the adjusting pieces.
The bases with their posts and knee braces are buried 2 ft. 4 in. in the ground, parallel to each other and the same distance apart as the adjusting pieces are mortised in the horse top. When the ground has been filled in and tamped hard, the cross brace should be bolted in position with its lower edge resting on the ground and connecting the two posts.
The height of the horse from the ground is adjusted by changing the bolts in the different holes connecting the two adjusting pieces with the two posts. Much pleasant and healthful gymnastic exercise can be had in competitive horse jumping and leaping, the handles providing a way to make many different leaps through, over and around, including not only those made to see who can go over the horse from a standing or running start at the greatest height, but who can go over at the greatest height when starting from the "toeing off mark" farthest away from the horse. This horse should be located on level ground having smooth space about it for several feet.