Gates on the Trail

(don’t worry, those top tips on corralling on your own are still coming…)

Teaching your horse to help you to open and close gates can save a lot of time and hassle on the trail. It can save your horse’s back and saddle too if you don’t have to get on and off at each and every barrier.

Some gates are… well… just… tricky… and teaching your horse to manoeuvre into position, to cope with rattily/clanging sounds and to let you hang off their side are all important for success.

It can be even trickier with a second horse in tow -so you need to teach your packhorse the art of gates too. If they are happy to stand and eat grass if you drop their leadrope, while you go back to close a gate, it will make your life a whole lot simpler.

Swift will approach a gate from either side, but the latches are often too far down to reach from her lanky height. Yogi will only approach with the gate on his left. I recognise this is my preference and I’ve probably subconsciously taught him this. It was a royal pain in the backside when completely my North-East Traverse last year. We rode the Dava Way and it has gate, after gate, after gate -all right-handed when approached in a northerly going direction doh!

Think I need to dedicate the rest of the summer to teach Swift that it’s ok if I’m hanging round her belly to reach a gate and to teach Yogi that gates on the right are just as safe and manageable as those on the left! LOL!

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