2015 Self-Closing Gates Trial Research Released
Conducted by Natural England and in partnership with British Horse Society (BHS), the self-closing bridlegates trial held at Askham Bryan College, Yorkshire, was overseen by a working group including representatives from landowning and user groups and the British Standard Committee.
A range of participants were invited to take part in the trial, these included horse riders, walkers, cyclists, mobility scooter and wheelchair users, the visually impaired and farmers. The trial did not aim to find one gate that was 'best’ but rather it looked for the elements of the gate that contributed to safe use, ease of use, stock-proofness and to a lesser extent robustness by investigating ten gates with different design features.
Landowners have increasingly installed self- closing bridle gates in preference to non-self-closing bridle gates; this is in order to reduce the possibility of gates being left open and stock escaping. However the BHS became aware of incidents with self-closing gates where horses or riders were injured and ran a trial of existing self-closing bridle gates in 2011.
The trial confirmed that there were problems with self-closing gates when used by horse riders. The published report made a number of recommendations including that a further trial be conducted which took place in October 2015.
Information was gathered using questionnaires and the passage of each of the participants passing through the gates was recorded by video. The evidence was then analysed against a set of hypothesis tailored to each user group. In addition, the gates were tested with stock to establish that they were stock-proof; this is the first time that bridlegates have been tested in this way.
Read the full report by clicking here.