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Planning for new horse property - GATE WIDTHs

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  • Planning for new horse property - GATE WIDTHs

    We are about to close on our new little horse ranch! It's a blank slate right now (just has perimeter pasture fencing and a nice big tack shed/feed room)

    Anyways - in planning for everything, I'm a big stickler on making sure that heavy equipment can get in and out and around all over the place.

    So for gate size - which is ideal? I know 12 foot is common/popular, but do you wish you had more 16 ft gates?

    I'm imagining having a large access/gate to get into: pasture, arena, paddock, stable-yard, etc with tractors/trucks, etc.

    Anyone put a 12 footer in and wish it was bigger? Or is 16 ft overkill for these areas?

    Of course, there will be a "regular size gate" too....so we don't alway have to open the big one. Just making sure we aren't limited with any large/heavy equipment/vehicles that may need to get somewhere on the property.
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    **Morgans Do It All**

  • #2
    We have two 14-foot gates (one to the paddock, one to the arena) and like the extra length, especially the entrance to our paddock/barnyard which is not a straight shot (a slightly curvy driveway) so the 14 foot gate easily accomodates a truck with large trailer coming around the curve. I don't think 12' would be large enough without being a lot more precise in the driving.

    At the entrance to our pasture from the main road we have two 10-foot gates connected together. Our fencing still needs replacing there, so we haven't finished this gate, but when we do I think we will put in at least a 16' gate because anything smaller will be very difficult as the main road is narrow. When we had our arena built the trucks delivering materials could back into the 20' opening from the main road but I know they never would have been able to make it with a 14' gate. In fact, at one point the contractor had to refuse a truck, even with a 20' opening, because it had an extra long hauling trailer filled with materials and could not make the turn. When we finish this section of fencing we may stick with a 20' opening and either get two gates or one really long one.

    So....I doubt you will ever think 16' is overkill unless you have to open/close it frequently for people or horse traffic; but if you have to back a horse trailer through it, you might appreciate the extra width. I put in a person gate for me to go through to get to the barn. It opens "in" and is only 3' wide. Even if I left it open, it would likely swing shut, and a horse would really have to work to escape without slamming the gate shut in front of them. It's my favorite thing so I don't have "gate panic" at 3am!


    • #3
      Standard field gates here are 16'.
      In some places we have two 16' gates.

      Our pens are 14' wide, so that is what the gates there are.
      12' would be very small for here and the miminum for cattleguards.


      • #4
        Have at least one 16' gate to each pasture or riding arena so that you can get heavy equipment in there if needed. 16' is not too cumbersome for everyday use (turning out horses, etc.) Also spend the extra money on 2" diameter tubular metal gates rather than the lighter-duty ones. Well worth the money for the extra durability.

        Mares are like neutrons. If there are too many in an area, you approach critical mass. And then there are explosions. Loud ones.


        • #5
          If you think you'll ever need to have your fields sprayed for weeds or anything like that, go with 16' gates. I don't have them on my small paddock and the farm bureau can't get in with the 2,4-D, which is a huge bummer because it means I'm out there with a hand sprayer busting my butt for 2 hours over 2 acres while they do the big field (with a big gate) in 10 minutes.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            I went with 16' gates. I figure that you never know what you'll want to get into a field, and gate posts are huge and concreted in - you don't ever want to remove one. I am happy that I have nice, big openings.

            One thing though: when you buy a 16' gate, it won't be 16'. Depending on the vendor, it will be 15'6" or 15'9" or some other measurement. Thus, if you stack two 8' gates (which is what I did), you might have two 7'6" gates and thus have only 15' of gate for your opening. So, buy your gates first, then plan your opening.
            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


            • #7
              DW is right about the 16' gate situations. And, you'll have to go wider if the truck can't get a straight shot through the gate.

              If the biggest gate is also your main person pass-through area, make sure you create some sort of people gate right there as well so you don't have to be opening the big gate all the time.

              My biggest gate is 16', then also a 14', both of which are THE 2 gates into the pasture area, opposite sides. I have 1 permanent cross-fence which is 12'. I think my ring gate is also 12'.
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


              • Original Poster


                as usual - bigger is better

                I keep telling my SO that we'll need 16 foot gates for easy access with the "big stuff" I even like the idea of putting two 10 footers together to make a 20 foot opening for the areas where there is a bit of an angle to deal with.

                And yes, love the idea of a "people gate" for easy in/out. And the regular horse sized gate, too.

                But yes - I'm thinking ahead for if/when we need the biggest kind of equipment to get into our backyard, the paddock, the pastures and the arena.
                Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                **Morgans Do It All**


                • #9
                  I should clarify--I have two 8-foot gates to my big pasture, not a single 16 footer. Much easier for day-to-day opening/shutting. I just use one gate routinely, and keep the other one fastened to the ground with blocks, which I can move if needed.
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • #10
                    We put a separate driveway in for our barn, when we bought this place. It has 32' of culvert, and two 16' gates that meet in the middle. We had eighteen wheelers come in to deliver building materials, and they were able to turn off of our rather narrow street with absolutely no problem. I thought the 32' culvert was overkill at the time, but my husband insisted. I'm delighted that he did. He did, after all, own his own trucking firm for more than a few years, and has logged over a million miles on the road himself.
                    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                    A life lived by example, done too soon.


                    • #11
                      Do consider a gate wheel or gate anchor for gates larger than 12' though...they help a whole lot to prevent gate sag. I have anchors on my 12' gates so when I swing them open and need them to stay open I can lower the push-pin on the anchor so it stabilizes the gate to keep it from stressing the hinges and so I don't have to drive through it at Mach 2 to prevent it from swinging shut on my truck, LOL!
                      Really wide gates I prefer the big gate wheels, although I'm not sure where you can buy those these days. Back when I was young we had 16' gates in the fields where I boarded and they all had one tall metal wheel on one end. You'd unlatch the gate and just push it and it would roll open and the wheel kept it from sagging too.
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!


                      • #12
                        Valley Vet carries the gate wheels-be sure to get the metal kind-they are much sturdier!
                        Misty Blue-flying thru the gate before it slams shut on your truck-mental image priceless!!


                        • #13
                          I don't think that the width of a gate makes any difference for every day use.
                          We have 16' gates we use regularly and you only open them as much or little as you need to open them.
                          I can't see any need to add a smaller gate nearby.


                          • #14
                            I'm with Bluey

                            Every gate is 16 foot. If one gets busted we know exactly what to do .......... go to the fence parts area and get another. They are all exactly alike.

                            sixteen foot is also big enough to tie two pastures or paddocks together as they can span the lane and create a passage between the two. Just make the openings directly opposite eachother and hang the gates from opposite sides.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                              I don't think that the width of a gate makes any difference for every day use.
                              We have 16' gates we use regularly and you only open them as much or little as you need to open them.
                              I can't see any need to add a smaller gate nearby.
                              I supposed I'm a bit jaded as none of my gates are on flat ground, they are all on slopes. So, wheels don't work in more than one position. I do keep the latch ends of the big gates propped up on blocks to the hinge side isn't stressed. It's too annoying to have to lift the gate off, open it, put it back on, every time I want to go through. I actually have electric tape, so I just duck between strands. I couldn't do that as easily if it was a wooden fence.

                              So, it's really more than about *just* the gate.
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                              • #16
                                I have 12' gates at the main fields, which are fortunately all "straight shots", if they were not I would REALLY regret not having 16' gates. At the front entrance we have two 16' gates which is essential as the fence is close to our very, very narrow road, with a significant slope at the edge, so to get in just with a 4 horse trailer means both 16' gates have to be wide open (you can't swing wide or the tailgate will lift up into the gooseneck, know what I mean?). These have been awesome for having tractor trailer loads of stuff delivered.

                                Third Charm Event Team


                                • #17
                                  I also have a 12' gate with a 4' gate right next to it.... lot less wear and tear on the posts having 4' of free weight as opposed to 12'.... and the 4' opens/swings more easily.... so we use the 4' gate and never open the 12'. It's only there for the Hay Guys....

                                  Third Charm Event Team


                                  • #18
                                    I have what Third Charm has and it's very nice. You almost never "over gate" on a farm so go for 16' in some form.

                                    Enjoy your new farm!!


                                    • #19
                                      Yes, I definatly like fences set up with a large gate for machinary and a 4' gate for people and animals. Makes life so much easier!


                                      • #20
                                        Plan your traffic patterns, then put in gates that permit ease of use by equipment.

                                        For straight entry into a flat pasture a 12 foot gate is adequate for virtually every type of equipment an average horse farm would routinely use.

                                        For larger openings I'd rather use two 8's than one 16 in most instances, as I'm much more likely to be moving a horse or a vehicle than a large piece of equipement through most of the year. Consider, too, that 8's are a lot cheaper to replace when (not if) they get damaged.

                                        There's no rule that says gates have to be equal. If you need a 20 foot opening it's perfectly OK to use a 12 and an 8. You could even use a 16 and a 4!!!

                                        There's no rule that you can only have one gate into a pasture, either!

                                        Put gates where they will be the most utilitarian, not necessarily the most pleasing to the eye.

                                        But PLAN your layout and fencing first, then decide what kind of gates to use.

                                        Good luck in your project.

                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão