StableManagement.com readers can Ask the Experts on in our forums. Following is a popular discussion in our Barn and Farm Building Ask the Expert forum, with help from the experts at Animal Arts.
Q: Some say pipe is safest, but there are many types of pipe gates. Can you offer some information on types of gates for horses and the pros and cons?
A: We agree that pipe rail fences are safest because they won’t break or splinter. This said, we do recommend a nice strong gate, which is definitely worth the money because it will last longer over time without developing rust, metal burrs, or other unpleasant or unsafe conditions.
Here are some criteria for selecting a durable pipe rail gate:
- Rail Diameter: Two-inch rails are the best for gates.
- Gage: The thicker the gauge of metal, the better. Gates can be made in 16 gauge, 18 gauge, or 20 gauge. With metal gauges, the lower the number, the thicker the metal. So 16 gauge is best. It is by far the safest and can hold up to a lifetime.
- Materials: Galvanized metal is best. If the metal is not galvanized prior to being coated, it will rust.
- Coating: Powder coating, which is like what your car is coated with, is the most durable coating and will last much better than painting. Some powder coatings are made to be UV resistant and those are the best. These coatings are applied onto the galvanized metal.
Once you know the above criteria you can evaluate the durability of a gate fairly easily. For example, if you Google a Walmart gate (yes you can buy one there) you will see that the metal rail diameter is 1 5/8”, and the gate is galvanized, but not coated.