November. 13, 2019 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: What do you do with a horse that runs to the gate?

What do you do with a horse that repeatedly runs to the gate?

Monty’s Answer:

You need to cause your horse to be uncomfortable when he is near the gate and completely comfortable when he is away from it. You can accomplish this by several means; however, I recommend cantering in small circles while near the gate. Migrate away from the gate, stop your horse, rub him and let him relax. Begin to ride again, and if he barges towards the gate, just smile and repeat the process.

You should be aware of the fact that horses that tend to run to the gate are horses that have been ridden out of the gate. As soon as a horse shows any tendency to display this undesirable behavior, it is a good idea to refrain from riding out of the gate from that point onward. You should do your work in the training session, dismount in the center of the enclosure and lead the horse out.

Should the horse in question continue to run to the gate, I would suggest schooling him to back out of the gate. Follow the pattern of dismounting in the center of the work area, lead the horse in several directions, ending up at the gate, then turn the horse away from the gate and back him through the opening. I have seen this process work very well in many instances.

In the rare case where the horse continues to cause problems with this behavioral pattern even though one has followed the recommendations above, then I strongly recommend seeking other exits from the enclosure. Confuse the horse by using many gates if possible, exiting each of them under the guidelines described above. You might say, “There’s only one gate,” to which my response would be, “Think about making another one.”


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