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Can we talk about paddock gates? Is bigger REALLY better??

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  • Can we talk about paddock gates? Is bigger REALLY better??

    Do I really need a 16 foot gate on a 150 x 225' turnout-paddock? I was reading through threads and in typical COTH fashion I find "bigger is better," is the recommendation, but it tips me into thinking I need a smaller gate for daily use then...so now I need 2?

    Also, 2" tube steel good enough? I am planning to get the nicer TSC one, unless someone has a brand that they recommend that is distributed around SD/MN/IA/NE as I can't imaine what shipping a gate would cost.

    And finally, I thought I read somewhere that the mesh filled in gates could be dangerous, but I'm not seeing why? I mean this type: http://www.tractorsupply.com/wire-fi...14-ft--3610993 Also on this one, the 14 would be stronger than the 16' because the posts are closer...just saying. It just seems like if you are trying to keep dogs or something out this would be a better gate.

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    big enough to get whatever you are driving to clean up in there through the hole.

    The bigger is better is pretty much for the farm gate reserved, because you will be unhappy when the hay guy gets stuck or the hauler takes out one post by accident.

    But I don't see how you should need anything bigger than 8 foot.

    of course, wrestling a bigger gate in place might offer benefits in liue of gym memberships.


    • Original Poster

      I have a field access drive separate from the house drive (which is narrow) that is currently 25' wide to where the fencing starts on either side. I will probably gate that with two 12 foot gates on wheels (for sag), as it is basically the perimeter fence and will be used very rarely. So that makes sense to me. Also, that is where a fire truck would come--God forbid.
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #4
        I like my 8' gate for horsey in/out. Big enough for silly horse antics, small enough I can handle it one-handed. Bigger is not better when all that goes through it is you and a horse--wind is my enemy. We have wire filled gates on our driveway (one at each end) and with our rain, the painted Behlen brand have rusted on all the welds that hold the mesh to the tubular portions. Our bright, shiny galvanized version (more $$) into our pastures? Oh, those are awesome! As we replace the slowly dying ones, we'll use the shiny galv versions. I like the mesh ones, as gate-bangers can't hook a hoof, and our dogs can't get thru.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          Big enough to get the biggest vehicle that would ever need to get in there. That can be a single gate, or it can be 2, either 50/50, or a bigger/smaller combination.

          If you've got a straight run at the gate, it can be comfortably wide enough to get the largest vehicle through. But if the vehicle has to enter on an angle, it's got to be a wider opening.

          My ring - 100x180, gate in the corner of the 100' side, is big enough to get a dump truck in for new footing if/when the need arises. Nothing bigger. Pretty sure it's a 10' gate but might be 8'.
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          • #6
            I have two 4 foot gates to one of my fields. One gate right beside the barn, and one about 60 yards from that. I do also have 3 16 foot gates into that field as well (on different sides of the field).

            I LOVE my 4 foot gates. Perfect for bringing horses In and out. Don't have to deal with swinging gates or other horses getting out.
            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


            • #7
              The gate opening needs to be big enough to get in and out what you need to get in and out.

              I'm not a fan of the big gates as they are problematical to install, keep hanging straight, and can be an issue for children or small adults to open and close.

              So, if you need a 16 foot opening use two 8 foot gates. Easy to hang, easy to keep in place, easy to open and close.

              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


              • #8
                No, you don't need a 16' gate for a smallish turnout. I have 8' gates on a couple of mine- easy to hang and open, and big enough to get the tractor and bush hog through. I also have a couple of 4' and 6' gates, but there's also a larger gate in those areas for equipment access. I only have 16' gates where I might need to get wider stuff through, like hay equipment, etc., through. The "free" end of the big gates sets on a chunk of treated fence post driven next to the post so the gate sets on it when closed and doesn't sag.

                I just buy whatever's cheapest (1 1/2" ?) in the way of tube gates when I need to replace one- I've got horses, not bulls!

                As far as the mesh gates for deterring dogs, I don't really see the point. I mean, my gates are hung at least a foot off the ground and just about any dog can squeeze under.


                • #9
                  The federal width limit for commercial vehicles on the road is 8' 6", so accomodate that (hay/fertilizer deliveries etc.). If you have something you need to get through that is wider, then buy a wider gate.
                  ... _. ._ .._. .._


                  • #10
                    I have 8' and 10' gates mostly ... I think our front entrance gate is 14' or 16' (whatever it is, big equipment, concrete and gravel trucks, etc. can make it through with no issue). One of my paddocks has only a 4' "man" gate that I can lead a horse through, and is fine for one horse and person, since that's the same width as a stall door and I don't have any hip hooking type latches protruding on it.

                    If you are going to do the electric tape fencing (from your other thread), you can always take it down if you need to, say, do a one time construction project and get through, as long as your posts are far enough apart. We do that when working in my gravel paddocks as they are cross fenced in Horseguard tape and maneuvering through the few gates can be a little difficult in our tractor.

                    I have the mesh filled gates and have not had a problem. I have electric across mine so horses don't lean or rub, and no gate pawers to worry about. However, my arena builder told me about one of his horses pawed at the gate, the mesh had come loose from the tubing, and cut the horse pretty badly. I monitor mine for loose welds and such hazards and they are still looking good after 5+ years.

                    The mesh filled aren't as strong, however, as they lack the additional tubes across. Our front gate is warped from SO plowing snow into it...had it been an all tube gate, that might not have happened.


                    • #11
                      I took lessons at a place that had regular garden gates, which weren't miraculous at holding in the slippery eel pony but were a lot easier to handle than a wide gate. Unfortunately that was the only entrance so anything requiring a truck to get in there was not happening anytime soon.

                      As far as vehicle entrances, it's been said already, straight shot can be narrower but anything with a turn or an angled approach needs to be wider.
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible


                      • #12
                        I *hate* the 14' gate the previous owner of our property installed leading into the horse pasture. I'll be adding a 4' as soon as we are able to. I don't think the mesh ones are as sturdy as the non-mesh, and are more expensive. We just added no-climb woven wire to ours to keep the dogs out.
                        "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                        Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


                        • #13
                          It also depends on your fencing type. At our barn we have smaller gates for every day getting the horses in and out of. They are the same size as gates to a pre-fab round pen and they work wonderfully. However, all of the fields have opening in the fence line directly off the lane. These fences are electrobraid so it is as easy as unhooking the insulated handle to get the tractor with the bush hog in and out. I have also seen other farms with board fence that use sliding boards in one section that completely remove to allow tractor access.
                          Proud scar wearing member of the Bold, Banned and Bitchen clique


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                            The gate opening needs to be big enough to get in and out what you need to get in and out.

                            I'm not a fan of the big gates as they are problematical to install, keep hanging straight, and can be an issue for children or small adults to open and close.

                            So, if you need a 16 foot opening use two 8 foot gates. Easy to hang, easy to keep in place, easy to open and close.

                            This, and i you are thinking about a 12 foot gate hand 2 8's instead. Wrangling a 12 foot gate can be a choer especially if you are leading a horse as well.
                            I wasn't always a Smurf
                            Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                            • #15
                              I have mostly 12' gates at my place but none of them are used for taking horses out of the pasture. I just do that by leading my horses through the barn (stall and slightly oversized people doors). Well, I *might* have a 10' by the barn but I don't really remember.

                              The only one that I wish was bigger is the one to the main pasture. It's hard to get the tractor/bush hog in there because it's a tight cut from the road. Problematic enough that I just cut a big enough path through the woods.
                              "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


                              • #16
                                FWIW - I have 2 8' gates and a 14' gate I lead horses in and out of. It's not a regular basis, but when I HAVE to be doing it, it's done for weeks at a time usually, and last Winter it was 4 months, and when my ring was being built, it was about 4-5 months as well. I routinely lead 2 or 3 at a time. But, my horses behave on the line, they know how to lead like that, these aren't boarders' horses, and, well, I just made it work because I needed it to work The gates had to be what they had to be, so I made it work.
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                • #17
                                  I have a couple 8' and the rest 14'. I don't find the 8 footers any easier to handle with horses in hand. And if I'm leading more than one horse at time to turnout I wouldn't want anything smaller!

                                  I wish the 8' were 14' as I have a 10' bush hog. I have a 14' gates elsewhere in those pastures but seeing as I don't find any advantage in the smaller gates it would be more convient to use either gate with the tractor.


                                  • #18
                                    My favorite set up at a place I leased was they had two gate openings: one was 16' long with two 8' gates for the big stuff like trucks, tractors, etc, and one 4' gate for getting horses out.

                                    I actually like the 4 foot gates for herd because only one horse can get through at a time, no wiggly little worm squeezing their way through. YMMV.


                                    • #19
                                      Oh, to add to my original post... If I was looking to pull a horse out of my current pasture (instead of through the barn), a 4' gate would be my go to gate. I had one at my old place and it was great. I didn't have a barn, just run ins, and my gates were either a 12' or a 4'. Used the 4' way more than the 12' for day to day use.
                                      "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


                                      • #20
                                        Different locations, different purposes, different requirements on gate sizes and placement.

                                        Here, all our pasture gates are 16'.
                                        That is best to get in and out with most anything, even some oilfield trucks, etc.

                                        In the horse pens, we have 14' gates and the smallest gate you may ever have to go thru with a vehicle/tractor is 12'.

                                        Any smaller than that, you are talking about being able to go thru safely with very small tractors/ATC/UTV/mowers only.

                                        If the access to the gate is straight and the ground solid, you may get by with 10' gates.
                                        If you have to make a turn going in or out, if it is muddy or icy and slick, 12' would be the minimum and that will be tight if you start slipping.

                                        Now, to walk horses thru only, whatever you are comfortable with is fine.
                                        In pasture situations, I still think 12' is handy for everything.

                                        If you use a double gate, we like best to have one gate too long, so they overlap, unless we want to put a post in the middle of them that can be lifted out of the ground if we need the whole two gate length to get machinery thru.

                                        If gates overlap, you can secure them better, so the wind doesn't blow them back and forth.
                                        Adding a pin on the gates to fix their end doesn't work good here, too windy, they still wiggle back and forth too much.

                                        Remember, the bigger the gate, the bigger the post you need to hang it.

                                        As you see, gates come in all sizes, can be hung in all kinds of ways and your imagination is the limit on how you can make them work for you.