We Need Better Gate Latches?!

I am so tired of fiddling with gates! Gate chains, snaps, hooks, etc.
I’ve watched enough lovely YouTube videos of people trail riding (hacking out :wink:) across the UK and of them working around farms in England, etc to see them effortlessly opening and closing gates on horseback and on foot to know that we have lousy gates here in the US!
I am jealous! How can I fix my farm gates to be more efficient?

On my farm, I currently have a mix of these “Kiwi” gate latches on chains and/or some that are just double-end snaps with chains.

Yes, the Kiwi latches are “one-handed” operation but still… when you watch something amazing like these, well, the Kiwi latches are really embarrassingly inadequate, lol. Why do we not have these things?! :laughing:

What kind of one-handed automatic latching gate catches/gate latches do you use?
I’ve eyeballed these Sure Latch 1-Way Lockable Latch, but I just don’t know? Are they sturdy? Will they hold if my pastured horses bump them hard in the field?


I have the two way version of the latch you link. They’re great, no complaints. They work as intended & it’s really nice to not fiddle with snaps in and out of the field. I’ve never had the gate open when it wasn’t supposed to.

Installation is the caveat…Where the post & gate meet is pretty exacting. The edge of the gate & post need to be a certain distance apart. If the gate sags or the post leans after the latch is installed, the latch may not function anymore in a few different ways.

I’ve been using the two way Sure Latches for over 15 years and love them. If you’re concerned about them accidentally being opened if a horse rubs on it you can add a snap or lock at the bottom to prevent that from happening. Stock photo of latch:

Product Image

I have the Kiwi latches on my smaller walk-through gates.


we have the same on many of our gates and all stall that have swinging doors

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I use the same latches as @Garythesquirrel.

Like all things, you still have to make sure they work right. Sometimes they do not latch as easily as they should. Or the joy this morning of getting them loose from the ice. (It is easy, just one more step.)

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I will third or fourth the Co-Line Sure-Latch. They do take some care in installation and may need adjusting over time.

But it is SO NICE to just swing the gate and hear it latch itself. I put these in after the three year old pony came home and I felt like I needed another set of hands.

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Ah, all those UK videos flatter to deceive. Gates are the bane of anyone who wants to hack out (trail ride) because so often it isn’t the latch that is the problem but the gate post moving, or the gate itself sagging or some so-and-so deciding to padlock a gate on a right of way. Then there are latches that are supposed to be helpful for people in wheelchairs (all about disability access in the minds of the local council) that absolutely no one can open. Every gate requires (constant) upkeep to work properly. Now, in France I have seen entire herds of cattle kept in a field by a single piece of string placed across a gap in the hedge. I presume the farmer used some additional magical charm because any self-respecting British cow or sheep would have walked straight through it.


We have to think about icing up of snaps and latches so some of these make me concerned. But I had to laugh when I scrolled down under the Kiwi latch listing to the “Often bought with” section. The third item is what we do. They call it a fast latch. We call it a bucket hanger and chain. :grin: One hand latch and unlatch, we install them out the “outside” of paddock gate posts, use a strong piece of chain and I have yet to see a horse that figures them out.


I also use the ‘bucket hook’ type latches for daily use but I do not trust them completely – it’s a cheap weld, that hook can break off.

Any gate that has those also has a chain that goes around the post and gate. (Which uses a brass double ended snap that can also break, but somehow the chain makes me feel better?)

I love the Kiwi latches here in Ocala.

get a " 6-in Rubber Washer" to attach over the latch to keep ice/snow/rain off

$2.48 at Lowes



I have this type of latch on all my gates except the one gate that needs to open back flush against the fence line. Many of my visitors think that these latches need to have the gate slammed to work. Usually the gate rebounds back towards them because “slamming speed” doesn’t allow time that the locking bar needs to allow it to drop.

Another problem is my 1,750 pound draft that loves rubbing his butt on the gates. When the gate flexes the round projection on the gate itself pops back out of the latch on the post. So now I have these latches, plus chains, plus a snap.

Thank you Clanter. I’ll check it out.

I know the welds on the bucket hangers aren’t meant to withstand tremendous pressure (ie: cheap). So we always run the chain around the back of the post so it takes the brunt of an impact, not the weld. I’m sure the herd will prove me wrong tomorrow, but I’ve yet to replace a bucket hook used this way.

But I also haven’t figured out a way to open them on horseback. Sliding doors to the indoor? No problem. Gates? No way. So I’m really no help to the OP.

Any latch that has sharper metal pieces sticking out there where horses may go thru is an accident waiting to happen, a horse snagging it’s shoulder or stifle or any other part on it if it bumps on it just right.

I would stick with “inconvenient” chain latches and snaps and sliding latches that retreat fully where nothing sticks out when open for any places horses will be walking thru that may hit that part of the gate where those are.

We use in cattle pens these metal rod latches that can be open horseback and chain latches to back them up:


I was looking at many of these latches thinking the same thing. My horses would find half a dozen ways to filet themselves. :grimacing:


I looked at the ones we have… the design is for gravity to latch the lock by holding the pull pins down… if one was use a spring to hold the latches in position the gate latch could be mounted upside down which should keep out snow/ice build up in the latching mechanism… Problem with relying upon a spring to hold the latch in place if the spring broke then the latch would be unlocked.

Our ultimate solution to avoid such issues was to give up and move south where the Normal winter is from January 3rd to the 5th…then Spring arrives, so I guess a spring does work for us

I saw something like this in the ranch horse competitions I was watching on youtube. LOVED them.

They also have same latches with a straight up lever, second picture, but that is not safe around ropers, may snag a wayward rope and cause a wreck at the wrong time.
They are easier to move back and forth than pulling up.
Last picture a goofy kind of latch:


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Check this out;


@Equibrit, which latch on that page are you liking?