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Floating - Travelling and Loading

Points to check if you are in charge of horses travelling.

Beforehand:
  1. All feed and gear required for each horse for the trip.
  2. Towing vehicle. Driver should check: license, warrant of fitness,
    fuel, oil, water, battery, tyres, lights and correct size of towing ball for float.
  3. Float: license, warrant of fitness, tyres, lights, structural soundness, especially ramp and floor, breech bar or chain and safety chain.
Before loading, check that:
  1. Horses are correctly prepared for travel.
  2. The float is securely hitched on, safety chain in place, lights and brakes properly connected.
  3. The ramp is steady, access door open and all gear safely stowed away from the horses feet.
  4. All concerned are familiar with correct loading procedure.
  5. Once loaded, check that the ramp is secured and horses tied up correctly.
Unloading - be sure that everybody knows the procedure.
  • If a horse rushes out, on no account should the leader try to hang on to him. He will only throw his head up and probably hit it - leading to endless problems.

 

Difficult loaders.

Easy loading depends on confidence and training. Most problems stem from ignorance, fear or stubbornness, or a combination of these. Once a horse is really scared, or has 'tried it on' and got away with it, he may always be unreliable. You must decide what is the dominant cause of his reluctance, and adapt your method accordingly. Pay particular attention to the sighting of the float - the more the ramp can be safely enclosed, the easier it will be.

  1. Linking hands with another person behind the horse. The leader entices him with feed, and must keep the horse's head straight, without pulling. Particularly effective with ponies. Do not use this method with kickers.
  2. Fix lunge reins or ropes about halfway up on either side of the float. Two assistants, with gloves, hold the  reins the horse is led to the foot of the ramp, the assistants cross over with their respective reins, which must be kept above the hocks. With encouragement, not pulling, from in front, a firm pull on the opposite rein if the horse tries to swing either way, and intermittent light flicks with both reins, most horses soon realize that the easiest way is forward.
  3. Provided the horse is used to it, a breech rope may be effective.

While every encouragement should be given, careful arrangements and a firm, but not rough, approach are most likely to succeed.

Loading/unloading without an assistant.
  • Lead the horse up the ramp and partway in if a double float. Encourage him to continue alone, lay the rope over his neck, fasten the breech bar and go alongside or round to the front to tie him up. Failing this, lead him on as usual, but have a long rope or lunge rein attached. Thread this through the tie-up ring and keep hold of it while going to the rear to fasten the breech bar. A little 'feel' will remind the horse of what is expected, but if he does rush out, do not attempt to stop him.
  • Unloading. Untie the horse, leave rope through ring, lower ramp, undo breech bar and either catch the horse as he emerges or go in and back him out.
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The opinions advise and information contained in this website/section/page are provided as a guidance only.
While the information contained in this website has been formulated with all due care by the Pony Club Association of Victoria,  The Pony Club Association of Victoria its servants and agents accept no responsibility  for any person acting or relying on or upon any opinion advise or information and disclaims all liability for any error, omission,defect or mis-statement (whether such error, omission, defect or misstatement is caused by or arises from negligence or otherwise on the part of the Pony Club Association of Victoria its servants and agents) or for any loss or other consequence which may arise from any person relying on anything within this website.

Floating

Unloading. The person on the right is saving her back by bending her knees while lowering the ramp. Horse untied, being held until breech bar is undone.

 

 

 

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