Taking your horse out of the horse pasture seems simple enough. Just open the horse gate and walk on through, right? Well, that’s not quite the case if your horse has pasture-mates eager to escape behind you and your horse. To help keep the rest of your horses contained as you exit the horse pasture, try these seven simple steps to get through the gate.
1. Get organized. Make sure the horse you want to take out of the pasture is outfitted with a properly fitting halter and lead rope. Shoo the other horses away, so you have plenty of space.
2. Position the horse on the correct side. You’ll want your horse standing next to you on either the left or the right, depending on which side the gate opens. If the gate opens on the right, have your horse stand to your right. If the gate opens to the left, have your horse stand to your left. This will allow the horse to easily slip through the opening without getting between you and the gate or wrapping the lead rope around you.
3. Use one hand to lead, the other to unlock and latch. Hold your horse’s lead rope in your hand farthest from the gate and use your free hand to unlatch the gate.
Leaving with Just One
• Open the gate in toward the pasture to create a roadblock so the other horses can’t escape.
• Keep one hand on the gate at all times as you and your horse exit.
• Close the gate immediately behind your horse as he leaves the pasture.
• Make sure your gate has smooth edges so there’s nothing to catch or injure your horse as he moves through it.
• Teach your horse to stand quietly as you latch and unlatch the gate.
4. Open the gate by pulling it toward you into the pasture. Keep one hand on the gate at all times and open it just wide enough to slip through it yourself. Your horse and the gate will block the other pastured horses and keep them from pushing through the gate and getting loose.
5. Slip through the opening first, then ask your horse to exit. After you’ve stepped through (and with one hand still on the gate), open the gate a bit wider-but just wide enough for one horse to exit-and ask your horse to follow. As your horse exits, make sure he doesn’t catch his sides on the gate, which could cause injury.
6. Pull the gate shut. As your horse walks through the gate, pull it closed behind him, as if the gate itself was scooting or scooping him through. Just be careful not to goose your horse with the gate, especially if he’s sensitive. Doing so could cause him to spook or rush through the gate. Closing the gate behind your horse as he exits will prevent stowaways from following him out.
7. Keep your horse’s attention and latch the gate. Still holding your horse in one hand, do not allow him to put his head down to graze. Instead, he should stand quietly and obediently as you fasten the gate shut. Make sure the latch is firmly locked.