Posted by on Dec 19, 2012 in Training Blog | No Comments

Teaching a Horse How to Work Through a Gate

Do you find it extremely difficult to walk through a gate without having any minor accidents and setbacks? Do you usually need to dismount from riding the horse just for you to be able to pass through the gate without any problem? Well, truth is working through a gate is something you can teach your horse to do. You can train him to do it well. Horsemanship won’t be very easy in the beginning and the gate can prove to be a great obstacle or barrier for your horse which he needs to conquer. Opening a gate, passing through it and closing it for example are skills that you can teach your horse through practice and repetition. It would probably take a long trial and error practice before your horse can do it right. But, it’s going to be all worth it so you won’t have to be problematic every time you need to pass through a gate with your horse.

The most effective way of doing the training is to position your horse in parallel to your gate. Then, pushing the gate away from you so that you and the horse can pass through the opening and then closing the gate. This is a great technique for teaching a horse how to work through a gate and the one which is commonly used by those cowboys on ranches. Your horse needs to be totally comfortable first standing near the gate before you ask him to pass through it or else you could be in serious trouble. Whether it’s a gate at a trail class, field or pasture, your horse needs to learn how to work through it. Anyway, the mechanics are really the same once he learns the basics.

Tips when Teaching a Horse How to Work Through a Gate

First, during horse training you should let him practice on a metal or wooden gate that has a huge 4 to 5 feet opening. This is to make sure that he will have enough space to move and pass through it. This will give him a feeling of success and will make him more confident to pass through any other gates, even ones with smaller openings.IMG_4251

When you open the gate, make sure that you open it completely and not only halfway around. When you open it halfway, the opening becomes smaller or narrower and you and your horse will find it difficult to pass through it. You also need to make sure that the gate is clean and safe and has no sharp edges on it that could cut and hurt you and your horse.

Another thing to remember during horse riding lessons is you need to be extremely patient and give your horse enough time. If at any moment, you notice that your horse is quiet hesitant, anxious or scared, you need to stop what you are doing and bring him back to his comfort zone. Then, you can try doing the process all over again after calming your horse. Give him enough time to get accustomed to the process of working through a gate and do not be impatient at any point.

Break down the entire process of working through a gate in phases, ideally pausing in between. Break down the opening of the gate, the passing through it and then the final part or the closing of the gate. This way, you don’t abruptly teach the horse to do the entire process and he is more able to absorb and learn the entire process of working through a gate. Furthermore, doing this will also give him more confidence to go to the next step after successfully completing the very first phases.

When it comes to approaching the gate, you and your horse needs to be in proper position. While riding your horse, you need to guide him in a position where he is parallel to the gate. You should then allow the horse to pause and stand in front of the gate for some time so he becomes more familiar and accustomed to it. When he becomes comfortable being near the gate, you can then open the gate slowly and carefully so you and your horse can pass through without the horse being startled or scared. If you still notice fear from your horse, you can swing the gate back and forth for it to make a noise and for your horse to become familiar of the sound. He will then eventually come to a conclusion that the gate won’t hurt him and he doesn’t have to be scared of it.

In passing through the gate, be as careful as you possibly can. The goal is for your legs and your horse’s body not to hit the gate which can startle or scare him off. If unavoidably this happens, causing your horse to react fearfully, you need to stop the process, calm your horse and try to do the process again until you are able to perfect it.

After successfully passing through the gate with your horse, you then need to close it. You still need to position your horse parallel to the gate. It is not necessary during training to move your horse too far from the gate while you close it. It is still best to keep him close, keeping him calm and relaxed throughout the process.

Teaching a horse how to work through a gate is something that could take time during horse riding lessons. Therefore, you need to have a lot of patience and perseverance to do it right. You could have minor troubles when doing it for the first time, but eventually you and your horse will find a way to do it right. Just keep doing it and keep practicing until you are able to perfect the horse training. With the right amount of patience and practice, your horse can become an expert at opening, passing through and closing a gate.

Back to Training Blog