The Working Equitation Gate.
During Ease of Handling the Working Equitation Gate is approached at a canter (or trot at earlier levels) until in close proximity to the gate. Transition down to a walk and approach the gate directly facing the gate. The horse is positioned step by step to the side of the gate (to the left or right, depending on the direction in which it opens.) The rider may use either hand to lift the latch, open the gate, and go through the entrance without letting go of the gate (or losing control if the gate is made with wood uprights) . When the horse has exited the other side of the gate, the rider may back up one or two steps to close the gate. The rider will then put the latch in place to complete the obstacle. The obstacle may be required in both directions in levels 4 through 6.
Judging Assessment criteria for Ease of Handling.
The judge will evaluate the horse’s action which should be fluid and without any hesitation. The horse should pay attention to and participate in the opening an closing movements without showing and signs of insecurity or disobedience. The riders action should be easy, precise, and free from hesitation. A negative score will be given if the rider lets go of the gate (or loses control in the event of a solid gate where the hand cannot slide across the top of the gate during the maneuver) or if there is any sign of insecurity by the horse or rider or lack of continuity (fluidity) of the action.
NOTE! During the EOH obstacle called Herding Cattle from Gate to Gate, the same assessment criteria apply as in this article.