I am sure alot of you don't know how or what a judge is looking for in any trial when it comes to opening and closing gates.
This is a run down on how to score a perfect 10
My dominate hand for controlling my horse is my RIGHT hand so at no time will my left hand be used to controlling my horse.
The left hand must never leave the gate accept to latch and unlatch.
The horse must never make me stetch to do anything.
The horse must block the opening to prevent livestock from suddenly rushing through the opening.
This the means the gate must at all times be under your control, the horse needs to move through a small opening and you must never open the gate too wide to allow another animal to escape.
Since I am right handed, controlling the horse with the right hand , every gate I do the horse must swing his LEFT side to the gate.
He must position his body so the latch is by my left leg, a simple bend over slight to the left and the latch is right there.
With his body blocking the latch I bend over and undo the latch.
NOw the position of the hinges determines a ride through or a back through.
If the horse is facing the hinges he must back through. This means a slight side pass and I do this to his right opening the gate rather then pushing it through.
A slight side pass to my right and at the same time a slight back and rotate around the end of the gate, keeping the opening small and his body in it at all times.
So while he is side passing he is also backing and pivoting around the end of the gate putting you on the other side and facing the opposite direction. He then side passes agian to his left closing the gate. The minute the gate is closed he takes a step forward putting the latch once again at your left knee.
At no time did your left hand leave the gate, it did slide along the top to accomodate the horses movement but it never left the gate.
Done properly it is a smooth flow of motion and suprisingly horse quickly learn it. 2 or 3 days doing a few gates a ride seems to give them the idea if IF you have a strong side passer and obedient horse.
We did the hindges facing the horse.. Now have the hindges behind the horse.
In this case with the horse placing your left knee beside the latch you reach down , undo the latch, place your hand on the top of the gate and slightly side pass to your left while the horse backs slightly to prevent colliding with the latch post pushing the gate open and ride through the gap but BUT the horse needs to rotate again around the end of the gate putting you back facing the hindges on the other side. He again side passes to his left closing the gate and backs slight to put your left leg beside the latch.. You now release the gate and fasten the latch.
Once the gate is latched I side pass the horse away from the gate 2 steps and then pivot and ride away.
If you are going to do anything do it right, don't accept sloppy behavior just because you are on the trail and this is not difficult to teach if IF you have it firmly in your mind.
So flame away, I have my asbestos underwear on.