Horse Gate: why is it important, 6 factors to consider and how to choose the best Horse Gate?
We believe choosing the right gate is often the most overlooked part of the horse fencing project. Yes, you read it right. While buying fencing for a horse property, typically 90% of your energy goes into finding the right fencing, and horse gates are almost always an afterthought. They deserve a lot more attention to deliver on the promise of stunning and safe horse property.
At Stock & Noble, we provide our partners with the finest fencing solutions, which include a wide range of fencing options complete with gates, paint and electrification. In our experience, choosing the right gate is a crucial aspect of your fencing and should be considered as important as finalising the fence.
It’s important that you invest thought and time in the gates right at the beginning. If you choose the wrong gates, it will affect the success of your fencing project, the look of your property and the safety of your animals. Eventually, your fencing won’t be as good as you wanted.
Trust us, it is the only moving part of your whole fixed fencing system and before you buy one, it’s important to research your options and create a plan to help pick the best equine gate for your property.
To get you started, in this article we will discuss:
- Why choosing a horse gate is so important.
- List 6 factors that you must consider before buying an equine gate.
- How to choose the best horse gate for your fence.
- A checklist to refer to while choosing a horse gate.
Why is a horse gate important?
A horse gate is generally a gate on a paddock, pen or yard where the horse lives. There are three different kinds of horse gates available in Australia:
- Typical farm gate, that is used with many and varied animals such as sheep and cattle.
- Equine gate made of steel pipe and welded mesh
- Equine rail gate that matches the post and rail fencing. For example, Buckley Steel gate or Timber gate.
It’s important to choose the right horse gate for your property for four primary reasons:
Look of your property
If the gates do not match the fences, they tend to stand out because of their sheer size and look and might bring down the aesthetics of your entire dream fence.
Safety of your horses
Normal farm gates aren’t meant for your large energetic horses, and they are more likely to get injured on them. If horses are used to getting in and out of a paddock through the gateway when it’s open, they can instinctively run to the gate at the time of panic and if it’s shut, horses can get severely hurt.
Also, if you have electric rails, the gate is the only area a horse can pull, push, rub against and interact with so it should be strong and safe enough to bear the challenges of such a forceful animal.
Ease of living
Gates are the only moving parts of your fencing system, opened, closed and used multiple times a day. If they aren’t chosen carefully, it will definitely make for long tiresome days at your property. A poor gate system = lots of swearing. A good gate system = none.
Maintaining the property
At a horse property, it’s usual to get large machinery inside paddocks to maintain pastures over the lifetime of fencing. If the gates are too small to access the paddock, it will be cumbersome to manage the pastures and maintain the property, or you will find vehicles often getting damaged if the gateways are too small.
What are the top 6 factors to consider while buying a horse gate?
Gates play an important role in achieving the look, safety and life you expect from your fences, so make sure to consider these 6 things before you finalise the horse gate for your property.
1) Is your horse gate designed to be safe?
If your gate isn’t safe, your horse can seriously injure itself and you’ll have to pay expensive vet bills. A typical farm gate has curved edges at both ends, if a horse rears up and comes down on top of the gate, it can easily slide its legs down the curved part of the gate and get caught between the gate and the post injuring itself. On the other hand, well-designed horse gates are square with an upstand on top to stop their legs from sliding over the edge, thus reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused this way.
2) What is the size of the horse gate?
If you choose a gate too small, you may not be able to bring in the required machinery or vehicles, you may need on your property. This factor doesn’t get a lot of attention but is an extremely crucial one to consider. A gate should be big enough to let you access your machinery and manage animals.
3) Which way does your horse gate swing?
If your gate only swings one way, you’ll be stuck trying to pull the gate open towards you while on your horse’s back. As you can imagine, this is quite tricky, especially when the horse is jumpy. The best solution for better animal and property management is to choose a gate that swings both ways.
4) How heavy is your gate?
If you get too heavy of a gate, it will pull the posts over, making the gate look bedraggled and much more difficult to open. It’s also tough to fix a heavy gate onto the posts. So, a better idea is to choose lighter horse gates for your fences. Also, some horse owners prefer a lighter gate that will buckle if hit at speed, as compared to a heavy and solid gate that won’t give way and increase the likelihood of a horse being injured.
5) Are hinges and latches horse safe?
If your horse can open the latching system with lips or tongue and is able to get out to freely roam, it beats the entire objective of getting a fence in the first place. The purpose of a gate is to contain and restrain the horse inside a fixed space. While buying a horse gate do check if there are any hinges. The best horse gates do not have any hinges at all, thus avoiding injuries that might happen due to the horse getting caught up. Also, since two hinges bear the whole weight of the gate, it’s difficult to fix them to the post in a clean and safe way with no bolts or fixings sticking out dangerously. Look for a fencing gate like Buckley Steel gate, where the gate isn’t attached at all and has its own standalone system.
6) Does your horse gate match your fencing plan?
If the position of a gate isn’t well planned, it could end up sticking out like a sore thumb in your seamless fencing plan. Horse gate should elevate the look of your entire fencing. We would recommend charting out a well-designed fencing plan. Think about how the property is going to function for vehicles and animals. A gate in the right place would make your life easier, while a gate in the wrong place can take a long time to get around. Explore all your options whether you want the same design gate or multiple sizes, which types or a combination of gates would you prefer – for example, Buckley steel gates, welded mesh gates or typical equine gates. You can also request your supplier for a CAD drawing to assist you with your fencing plan.
How to choose the best Horse Gate for your property:
Step 1: Determine the three most important things to you
You might want your horse gate to have everything you desire, from great looks to matching design, from low cost to perfect height. However, it’s best to list down the three things which according to you are the most critical qualities of a horse gate.
Step 2: Search for different style options
You should start searching for gates at the same time as fences. Don’t keep gates as an afterthought or a quick decision. Take your time to find the right one that’s in sync with your wants.
Step 3: Map and create your fencing plan
Fencing plans play an integral role in ensuring your vision is properly mapped out and implemented. Invest time on the details, where should the gates go, and what size and make will be a good solution for your property? It will save you both time and money later, and create a fabulous looking, safe and well-designed home for you and your animals.
You can speak to our fencing expert to start this process. We also provide detailed CAD drawings on request.
Step 4: Check availability
To avoid any disappointments later, check the availability of your desired fence and gates with your supplier right away. You can call and check if they can be purchased together and installed at the same time.
Step 5: Look at the gates you’ve picked
Once you’ve spoken to the fencing expert, fencing contractor or your supplier, if you’re still unsure about the decision, then wait. Before giving the final go-ahead, check from your supplier if there’s a property where the gates have already been installed and take a trip to look at them.
What are the must-have features of a good horse gate?
If you’re out there picking an ideal horse gate for your property, this checklist can help you make the right decision.
- Should enhance the look of your property
- Should be safe for horses
- Shouldn’t have any sharp edges
- Shouldn’t have any hinges
- Should have a latch that cannot be opened by the horse
- Should be right-sized gate that can swing both ways
- Should not be too heavy
Prepared to buy the perfect horse gate for your property?
Over the years we have spoken to multiple property owners and a bad-quality gate typically sags and droops making the whole property look bedraggled. It also causes problems in the day-to-day operation and management of their horse property. While the ones that have invested in good quality gates that are safe and easy to use have never regretted it.
You now know that since a gate is the only moving part of the whole paddock, you should look beyond price and practicality.
You learnt the factors you should consider before buying a horse gate, how to choose one that can make life enjoyable at your property and not to miss any of the steps to find a gate that works for you and your horses.
If you would like to know more about options available for horse gates and need help in finding the right one that matches your requirement, please speak to our fencing expert. We are always there to guide you and make sure you get a fencing solution that helps create a property with all the right ingredients, looks beautiful, is easy to manage and is safe for your horses.