A short, informative and easily accessible video has been released by The British Horse Society (BHS) advising riders on how to use a gate when riding off-road.
More than 90 incidents involving horse and riders have been reported to the BHS since November 2010, although the Society believes there have been many more that riders have not reported. Gates are a common obstacle for horse owners to negotiate, due to their use in controlling stock and dividing boundaries.
The video demonstrates the key principles of how to safely open, while mounted, the varying types of gate – those opening towards you, away from you, and a self-closing gate. You can watch the video on YouTube.
BHS Senior Executive (Access & Rights of Way) Heather Clatworthy said: “Riding off-road can, and should be, an enjoyable experience for both horse and rider. Unfortunately, we often hear of people who don’t like to ride off-road due to them having had a bad experience when using a gate which resulted in physical injury and, consequently, an anxiety when using them.
“We hope that by providing this short video it will help encourage riders to use gates with confidence and prevent future incidents.”
BHS Director of Access, Mark Weston, added: “Many riders are unaware of how to correctly open and shut a gate safely, especially self-closing gates. This can deter some people from riding out, so our video will hopefully enable more riders to confidently access equestrian rights of way and spaces.”
If you are struggling with gates when you and your horse ride off-road, perhaps team up with a confident buddy who will ride out with you and practise using them safely. British Horse Society Regional Access Bridleway Officer for the North of England Sue Rogers recently ran a ‘Gates and Fords course’ which was a great success.
If you would like us to arrange something similar in your area, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to find a nearby BHS equestrian access group, centre or volunteer who might be able to help you.
If you experience problems with the gates themselves, or encounter one that is difficult to use, please report it to the local authority so that it can be rectified. If no resolution is found, contact the BHS who will support you to solve the problem. If you are unfortunate enough to experience an incident involving a gate, please report this on the BHS’s dedicated horse accidents facility.