Opening and Closing Gates

Opening and closing a gate

Being able to open and close a gate while riding is an essential skill for anyone who enjoys hacking. This step-by-step guide shows you how to make it easy


From the ground

Sometimes it’s not possible to open a gate from on board and it’s safer to dismount

Start by crossing your stirrups over the saddle so there is no danger of them becoming caught up on the gate. If your horse doesn’t wear a martingale, take the reins over his head, then lead him up to the gate, open it and walk through.

Turn your horse around taking care not to bang his hindquarters on the gatepost and shut the gate behind you, then remount and continue.

Whilst riding

  1. Don’t allow your horse to face the gate – some horses have been known to try and jump it!
  2. Ride alongside the gate and halt when your horse’s head is just past the catch. Put your reins and whip into your outside hand, leaving your other hand free
  3. Lean forward and down and undo the gate catch
  4. Push the gate open and walk through slowly. Try to keep hold of the gate as you walk through
  5. Turn your horse around, taking care not to bang his hindquarters on the gatepost.
  6. Put your reins and whip into your other hand and ask your horse to walk forward so you can push the gate shut. Fasten the catch with your free hand.