July 20, 2021

Rider on horse working to simplify the gate

Simplify the Gate could be approach the gate, go through, close it.

That's even less helpful than the rule book. And not helpful for our horse.
How did I end up spending an hour writing about this?

I was thinking about the name Working Equitation Simplified and what simplified meant.
Bear with me, I'll get back to the Gate.

All definitions said 'to make something easier or more simple to do, or understand'. But some also said simplified meant 'without small details, not complicated or involved'.

Simplified as I've intended it, seemed incongruent with that definition.

In The Working Equitation Mastery online course, I've done the opposite. I have added many small details to make it less complicated.

It's not about just getting the gate done, but doing it well, with control.

Breaking it down to simplify the gate:

There are 5 maneuvers required just getting to the gate, into a position to unlatch it. Transition, walk, turn laterally, move forward or back, halt and show immobility,

Passing through the gate has various maneuvers. It depends whether you are going forwards or backwards. And it's affected by whether your horse steps exactly where you directed them to.

Those maneuvers can include Turn on the forehand, Turn on the haunches, Sidepass and Reinback. These are also taught in multiple steps in their own lessons (to simplify them).

When training, don't think of it as just 'the gate obstacle.

They are many single tasks, that when put together will enable you to 'perform' the gate obstacle.

This also introduces an important training concept.

Do not pattern your horse to the gate.

You need to control the direction and size of each step your horse makes.
You decide how long to wait between each step.
And you decide if 3 or 6 or 8 steps in, you are going to change your mind and go home.

In real life, this is how a gate needs to be worked.

A horse that just assumes to go through and do the pattern itself risks losing the cows.  Either because they either didn't wait at the right time, or didn't move the right direction or amount.

Yes, in a show you are to flow through without hesitation. This will come with training.

When you know that you can direct each step and length of pause, then your pauses can be so short no one sees them.

But don't forget to practice at home with different length pauses.
Change your mind, and only occasionally ride the complete gate.

Don't pattern your very smart horse.

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About the author 

Trish Hyatt

International Coach and Clinician
National and International Top 10 Competitor
Technical Delegate and Judge of Working Equitation

Trish's superpower is the ability to give you and your horse what you need, in a way that you understand, so each horse and rider makes progress and knows what they need to work on.

She puts her many skills to use introducing the international discipline of Working Equitation to riders eager to improve their partnership with their horse, with a focus on fun, classical horsemanship and use of the horse for practical work or as cross-training for other disciplines.

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