Horse transportation is an intricate operation that requires forethought and planning. To move horses from one site to another, specialised vehicles called horse floats or horse trailers are used. This article will go through the many horse floats available, the factors to consider when selecting one, how to load and unload horses, how to keep your float in good working order, and other helpful tidbits for transporting horses safely.
What is a Horse Float?
A horse float is a type of trailer built especially for hauling horses. It’s designed to keep horses secure and comfortable on the road. Horse floats can be found in a wide range of sizes, styles, and combinations to fit a wide variety of horse populations and transportation needs. The health and safety of the horses in your care depend on your making an informed decision when selecting a horse float.
Types of Horse Floats
Straight Load Floats
One of the most prevalent kinds of horse float is straight-load floats. The rear-loading ramp allows the horses to enter the float while facing forward, where they will remain while being transported. Separators within the float create private stalls for each horse.
Angle Load Floats
The stalls inside an angle load float are set at an angle, so the horses can stand sideways while being hauled. The increased room and improved stability for the horses during transport are major benefits of this design.
Gooseneck floats are larger floats for horses that may be mounted on the back of a pickup. These buildings offer extra space that may include sleeping quarters, storage, and even a kitchenette, which is advantageous to horse owners.
Extended Horse Floats
Larger or more space-hungry horses can benefit from a specially designed, extended horse float. The horse stalls on these floats are spacious enough to handle even the largest horses.
Importance of Choosing the Right Horse Float
The welfare of the horses in your care depends on your making an informed decision when choosing a horse float. It’s important to pick a horse float based on criteria like size, weight capacity, design, and construction materials. In order to keep the horses safe from harm and stress, it is crucial to give them plenty of room to move around, good ventilation, and solid partitions.
Safety Features to Consider
Consider these safety elements while shopping for a horse float:
Flooring and Padding
The flooring of the horse float should be non-slip and cushioned enough to absorb shocks while in transit. Flooring made of rubber or a rubber-like substance is popular because of the benefits it provides in terms of traction and shock absorption.
Ventilation and Airflow
If you want to keep the air in the horse float nice and fresh, you need to make sure there are plenty of vents. The placement of windows, vents, and other openings in the roof can help keep the stable cool and reduce the danger of respiratory problems for the horses.
Dividers and Partitions
Strong, well-padded, and adjustable dividers and partitions inside the horse float are essential. These elements give the horses a sense of safety and security while being transported and keep them from colliding with one another.
Ramps and Loading Mechanisms
The loading ramp must be spacious, secure, and simple for the horse to use. The loading mechanism of the float must be safe and dependable so that the horses can enter and exit the trailer without any mishaps.
Proper Loading and Unloading Procedures
The following guidelines should be followed to keep horses safe while being loaded or unloaded:
Preparing the Horse
Make sure the horse is clean, has sufficient protection, and is correctly identified before loading. Assess the horse’s health and disposition to determine if they are ready to be transported.
Loading the Horse
Slowly and steadily guide the horse towards the float and up the ramp. Walk the horse in carefully so they have time to acclimatize to their new surroundings before you shut the door. Encourage the horse to go into the float by offering it snacks and praise.
Securing the Horse
Once the horse is inside the float, proper restraints such as chest bars, breastplates, and headcollars should be used to keep it from moving around. Make sure the horse has room to move around and stay balanced while in transit.
Unloading the Horse
When emptying the horse, do the opposite of how you loaded it. Release the horse’s straps, open the float’s entrance, and lead it down the ramp. Give the horse reassurance, and if it cooperates, give it a treat.
Maintenance and Care for Horse Floats
The following care and maintenance procedures are crucial for keeping horse floats in top shape and protecting horses during transit.
Cleaning and Disinfection
You should disinfect the horse float on a regular basis to keep it clean and healthy for the horses. Clean the inside with the proper chemicals and get rid of any trash or used bedding.
Inspections and Repairs
It’s important to keep an eye out for any deterioration, damage, or faulty parts in the horse float on a regular basis. Make sure you inspect the tread, brakes, lights, door hinges, and flooring. Take care of any needed maintenance or replacements as soon as possible to prevent any shipping hazards.
Wheel bearing checks, brake inspections, and comprehensive safety inspections should be on the horse float’s regular maintenance schedule. To make sure your caravan is in top shape, it’s best to hire a professional service.
Tips for Safe Horse Float Transportation
Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure your horses and drivers make it to your destination safely:
Think about things like traffic, weather, and potential rest stops while plotting out your trip. Learn what to do in an emergency and keep the phone numbers of local animal hospitals handy.
The following factors should be taken into account when operating a horse float while behind the wheel:
- Slow down and keep a safe distance from oncoming traffic.
- Slowly navigating corners will keep the boat from jostling about too much.
- Take care not to surprise the horses with unexpected maneuvers.
- Make sure the hitch is still securely attached before setting out on a long trip.
Monitoring the Horse
It’s important to keep an eye on the horses as they’re being transported to make sure they’re doing okay.
- Water and hay should be offered at regular intervals, and any necessary changes should be made during these stops.
- Keep an eye on the horses to detect any signs of stress, such as profuse perspiration, quick breathing, or unusual behaviour.
- Never leave a horse in hot weather or unsupervised for long periods of time.
Safe and comfortable horse transportation relies on careful planning and the use of a suitable horse float. Owners can make travel less stressful for their horses by paying attention to details like design, safety features, loading methods, maintenance, and driving.