It is useful to practice opening and closing gates as you may encounter them out hacking, or on a hunter trial course.
When opening and closing a gate, the key is to try and keep hold of the gate at all times to prevent it swinging back and hitting your horse.
"A mistake many people make is to walk straight up to the gate, and meet it head on," says Liz Beddows, Oxford-based TREC trainer. "Instead, aim for the hinges, then turn your horse so he is standing alongside the gate, with his head towards the rope.
"This is something you should practice in stages - get your horse used to standing calmly alongside the gate, and then to you leaning down towards the rope."
Manouvering the horse through the gate without releasing the rope requires you to perform a turn-on-the-forehand. This is a skill you can develop on the flat before attempting it at a gate.
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