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Safely crossing “cattle guards”?

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  • Safely crossing “cattle guards”?

    We have two sets of old cattle guards on our properties road (at the entrance and another farther along).

    grass has covered them partially but not completely but as you can see in the pics, they are not deep or anything. I doubt they would even deter cattle, but I’m not sure.

    anyway- can my horse safely cross this with me leading or riding? I haven’t tried yet but it just occurred to me it could be problematic or spooky. Should I fill more with gravel or ???


  • #2
    I would worry the fill wasn't totally stable and might give way. What about throwing some planks down to make a bridge? As with anything it depends on your horses ground manners and trail skills. My horse will cross a plank bridge and stand on a circus box in the arena. Others won't because their owners haven't bothered training them. In other words everything is potentially spooky to the wrong horse.


    • #3
      To quote The Duke: I wouldn't!

      If you want to cross these things on a horse I'd fill them in with gravel. Of course you could also just pull them out but that might be a lot more work and expense.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


      • #4
        There should be a gate for you to go around the cattle grid. Or completely fill in.
        It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


        • #5
          Those look pretty well filled in to me. BUT, to air on the side of caution, I'd get a bunch of gravel and a tamper, and cover it and thoroughly tamp it down, to ensure that the space is filled between the bars and that a hoof wouldn't trip on the bars that are still poking out of the ground.

          However, that said, the only truly safe cattle guard is one that is removed entirely (when you have horses that need to cross it).
          ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


          • #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
            everything is potentially spooky to the wrong horse.

            I would stomp around on it and look for holes before I tried to ride over it. Be aware though, that even if it’s perfectly safe your horse might still decide it’s scary and take a flyer over it. Or spook and head for home, or land on you if you’re trying to lead him over it.


            • #7
              If it was yours my husband would take it down to the metal recycling and get $ for them. If it is on the range, guess you'd better not. Yes, they usually have a post and wire gate nearby.
              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


              • #8
                I'd avoid crossing cattle guards on horseback, especially if your horse has shoes. There's always a ride-around.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                  If it was yours my husband would take it down to the metal recycling and get $ for them. If it is on the range, guess you'd better not. Yes, they usually have a post and wire gate nearby.
                  OP said "on our properties road". Not sure if that means it is on their property.

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                  • #10
                    I don't ever want to teach a horse he's allowed to cross a cattle guard whether its filled in or not.

                    I'd use the gate or rip them out if they are filled in and you have no use for them.


                    • #11
                      I would think you would be okay riding in the grass down the center, but i would walk it first.

                      Think that's scary? I once had to cross a metal pipe gate laying on the ground raised about 6 inches up in the air. My friend went first and i was thinking, "Is she crazy????" My horse handled it just like cavaletti poles and everything was fine. Would i try that on anything but a very calm horse, probably not. The bars were pretty close set. Certainly made me nervous.

                      The other scary thing was crossing around a gate on the edge of a dropoff into the canal. One wrong step and you've had it.

                      Fortunately both of those was on some great horses.



                      • #12
                        Friend’s beloved retiree died after making an uncharacteristic decision to try crossing a cattle guard after 30 years of knowing better. Not a pretty way to go....