15/01/2017 11:56 AM
Whether your horse is turned out 24/7 or just during the day, it is vital that the paddock is secured by gates that are designed to cope with the wear and tear likely to be inflicted by these beautiful but powerful animals.
Choice of material
The two main options for field gates are metal or timber but timber tends to be the preferred choice for a number of reasons. Firstly, if a horse tries to break through a gate, timber will ultimately give way whereas a steel gate will not. This could result in serious injury and it is preferable to have to replace a gate rather than deal with the consequences of a gate related accident. Secondly, a timber gate is more likely to blend with the local landscape and the fencing that is featured in the paddock. Thirdly a metal gate may be heavier to swing open, which can make leading a horse (or horses) through the gateway more difficult.
When selecting a timber gate, always ensure that the timber has been adequately treated to deliver a long lifetime service. Any timber, which is exposed to the elements is prone to rotting and is vulnerable to insect attack, so all timber gates require protection against these forces of nature. For total peace of mind, the Jacksons trusted Jakcure timber treatment system provides a 25-year guarantee and better still, no requirement to reapply the preservative on an annual basis. This is because the preservative is forced deep into the heart wood of the timber to deliver permanent protection, as opposed to being simply applied to the surface – so Jacksons timber gates are virtually maintenance free!
Gate size matters
When selecting a gate, make sure that you choose one that is wide enough to enable a horse to pass through safely, a minimum of 3.6 metres wide is recommended. Remember if a horse catches itself on the side of a gate it may become difficult to lead or ride through a gate in the future, so don’t risk this becoming an issue. When selecting the gate size, it is also worth bearing in mind that you may need to accommodate a large tractor driving through the gateway to undertake essential paddock maintenance so allow sufficient space for this type of vehicle to gain access.
Gates should open inwards for safety; this is especially important if you will be leading a horse into / out of a field where other horses are grazing. In this type of situation, it may be desirable to install a double-gate enclosure system to reduce the possibility of any animals escaping.
Secure and safe gates
A gate with rusty hinges is not secure. Hinges should be galvanised to prevent rust taking hold and ultimately compromising the safety of any horses. Similarly, all latches should also be protected and must be easy to handle with one hand. The gate should be fitted so that it opens easily and in a controlled manner without dragging on the floor, so there is no chance of the gate either slamming against the horse or swinging away from the reach of the handler. The Jacksons Horse Gate Latch makes it easy to pass through gateways by providing a unique means of allowing the gates to be easily opened and closed from either side of the gate – with just the gentlest of pushes with just one finger! Not only does this highly convenient gate accessory make perfect sense when leading horses in and out of a turn out area, it also doesn’t have any projections that could catch on a rug or if riding, something worse like a shin. In addition, the Horse Gate Latch meets all DDA requirements and is suitable for disabled use.
Gate Maintenance matters
f you have a horse that is prone to chewing fencing and gates, it is possible to fit anti-chew strips on the top of the gate, similar to those fitted onto a stable door.
It may also be worth considering installing some form of matting to try to overcome the prospect of you / your horse wading through thick mud during the winter. These can be made from either rubber or plastic and are designed to help improve drainage and offer an anti-slip surface around the gateway.
For more information on Jacksons equestrian gates visit our gate pages