Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Evil Rope Gate

Not my picture compliments of Google images
As I read and study more about the classes I want to enter I know that Trax's biggest number one issue is going to be this simple little rope gate.

Last summer at the clinic I was able to have him opening and closing the arena gate after a few tries. We practiced over and over again, opening the gate for whoever wanted to go through.  But if we went anywhere near the rope gate like the one above, he couldn't handle it.

I could ride up and ask him to stand next to the "gate" but it was obvious he was bothered by it. If I reached over to grab it, he bolted.  Not just stepped away, I mean he flat out ran away. It is as if he is sure I'm going to wrap that rope around his neck and choke him with it.

This is an obstacle in the Ranch Horse Competition, and in the trail class. He has to learn to do this. I do hope to address the issue with MK, but I would love to hear if anyone has any thoughts on how to get him past his obvious terror.

I have given TC the task of building me one. Weather is getting nicer so I should have one soon. I appreciate any guidance any one can give me.


  1. That's so funny! I've never tried to do a rope gate, but can do a regular gate pretty well (depending on the horse) ill have to try the rope one and see how pony reacts!

    I never thought that it would be much different for them!

  2. I don't think that most horses have too much issue with it. For some reason he really does. He has always had a problem with ropes in general, which he shouldn't since he was a roping horse before I had him. I can only guess that at one time something pretty traumatic happened to him with a rope.


  3. My guess is somebody in his past wailed the heck out of him with a rope. So you have to desensitize him to a rope. Start on the ground, bring it up to him and rub him with it. Pressure - quick release technique. When he gets to where you can run the rope under his tail, under his belly, under his face, etc without reaction; go to picking up a rope off the arena fence and putting it back. Good Luck. We purchased a Morgan-QH cross who Never got over it. Tony could throw a rope off him but I couldn't hand the rope to him off the ground. Hope it works for Trax.

  4. Thanks Meredith I will try that.

  5. I ran into the same thing with my horse and a rope gate... until I realized he reacted to the rope gate with the same fear as electric fence.

  6. I'm sure my horses would mistake it for an electric gate. I'm with Merideth, start on the ground. Break it down into baby steps. Do not move to the next step until he is totally relaxed. Try different colored ropes of different stiffness if you can. Sounds like he could use some desensitizing work around his legs too.