Horseproblems Australia
Post Office Box Victor Harbor
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FLOAT LOADING THE HORSE

By
John
O'Leary
www.horseproblems.com.au

 © 2013

 

  tow hitches

The loading and floating of horses is the stuff that divorces are made of. If you are a horse husband and the wife’s horse isn't wanting to go in the float, get out of there fast!! Kids and dogs have been known to get into major drama if within range when things go wrong. Horse Floats are called Horse Trailers in the US.

If this happens whilst you are at a Show, you will quickly inherit a dozen other experts as well as onlookers. The experts will be all trying their pet system out on your horse and the onlookers will all be hoping like hell that the horse doesn't go in and that the embarrassment goes on for as long as possible.

Each year, horses all over Australia get severely injured and killed by floating accidents of varying degrees. From Float rollovers to horses getting down because they have lost their footing from either slippery surfaces, too much speed around bends by the driver, over braking because of a lack of concentration or horses with psychological disorders caused by all of the above and other reasons. Climbers or scramblers being the most common. Then there are the injuries caused outside the float.

Since the invention of the rope halter and the Parelli lead rope in this country, 13 years ago, and due to the fact that they are not sold with instructions, many severe accidents happen during the dangerous tying up procedures coupled with the ill designed horse floats in this country. Each combine to make the outside of horse floats as well as the inside, death traps waiting to happen. Here are just a few examples that I see in my everyday work as a horseman and re-educator  (SEE: GOOD AND BAD DESIGN OF HORSE FLOATS.)

  • I have never seen a float with a tie up point that is set at the correct height. This causes horses to get a front leg over  the lead rope, lift its head and flip over on the ground still tied up with the front leg over the rope.
     
  • It also causes lead ropes to get hooked beneath the mudguard, causing horse to reef its head up violently, bending the mudguard and often cutting horses legs.
     
  • Horse getting hooked around the spare wheel with the resultant “all hell breaking loose”
     
  •  Horse getting rope halter caught around the incredibly dangerous and poorly designed back ramp handle and hook and hanging the horse during violent pulling back with resultant head cuts or neck injuries.

THE TEACHING OF HORSE OWNERS

 So, who teaches all of the existing horse owners and those born into or entering the Industry Well the answer is basically, no-one!! Pony Club doesn’t. T.A.F.E College doesn’t. The parents have never been taught. So is it any wonder why horses are hurt and terrorized Australia wide on a day-to-day basis?

HORSE FLOATS

It is a mystery to most people; just what it takes to put a horse on the float, every time, regardless of the drama. The answer is simple.

Horses go on to horse floats because they are made to and if you know how to make them, they will go on every time. Mind you, you cannot blame them for not wanting to go on. The horse float is the most frightening, unnatural environment for a horse to enter that man has devised. The only thing that is comparable is Racing Barriers.

In Australia, a high percentage of horse floats manufactured are of a substandard design in so far as horses are concerned. This is because mostly engineer's design horse floats not HORSEMEN!

 Lots of horse floats manufactured in Australia, used for horses over 15.2hh, are too low. During the last 20 years in this country, horses have been bred far higher than ever before, except back in the old days of the heavy horse, but they weren’t floated much then. Virtually every Warm blood Horse Float manufactured in Australia is made too low. Fact!!

That is why I spend half my working life re-educating psychologically distressed horses. There are also floats with stability problems, a lack of room for the horses head and neck up front, too short in the stall and in particular, the view.

I have not found one Manufacturer who sells a float with the view being as horses want it. I am not going to tell why this is so for commercial reasons.

SINGLE FLOATS

These should and will be in the future, banned from the road for safety reasons. Anyone who inflicts one of these upon there horse is irresponsible.

FLOATS WITH POINTED FRONTS

These are not preferable for two reasons.

  1.        The horse's head is jammed up in the front of the float because of a lack of Room.
  2.        The window is about two feet too low for the horse.  
  3.        The window is two feet too low for horses.    

FLOATS WITH CENTRE DIVISIONS TO THE FLOOR

There are horse floats around that have the center division that extends all the way to the floor.

These floats are largely responsible for the ruination of large numbers of horses as they turn horses into wall climbers or scramblers. Even the perfect floating horse can be turned into an unloadable horse by a center division that extends to the floor, in one trip.

I doubt if there would be one float with such a division or divider in Australia that hasn't got major climbing marks and dents in it. Take a look. I bet you!!

REASONS WHY HORSES WON'T FLOAT

  •      Incompetence of the owners.

  •       Drivers driving too fast.

  •       Drivers that brake too fast.

  •       Roof too low.

  •       Just a rough float.

  •       Center divisions to the floor.

  •        Floats too narrow.

  •        Single floats.

  •        No headroom.

  •        Dark dingy interior.

  • .      Rattle Trap.

  •         Horses were in float accidents.

  •         Lack of view.

  •         Ramp too steep

  •         Psychological problems

  • .       Horse with knowledge that Mum or Dad drives too fast.

Why should a horse go into a horse float? The answer is they shouldn't. They are most frightening and unnatural things for a horse to enter.

So you can understand why you have to make horses go into horse floats and you can equally understand why they don't want to go into one.

So it all gets back to how good you are at putting them in somewhere they do not want to be.

THE FLOATING PRINCIPAL THAT WORKS

To make a horse do something or go somewhere that they don't want you must do two things.

                 APPLY PRESSURE

                 GIVE THEM REWARD & RELIEF FOR TRYING & GIVING TO THAT PRESSURE.

TYPES OF PRESSURE THAT WORKS

  • Tapping a horse on the butt with a whip. (Kel Jeffrey's Method)
  • Tapping a horse behind the forearm with a whip. (Tom Roberts Method)
  • Flicking a horse under the belly or around the bottom of the back legs with a stock whip. (Jim Wilton Method)
  • Swinging at or flicking the front or back end of a horse with a lead rope with a flicker on the end. ((Pat Parelli Method)
  • Halter break the horse so well that it will never say no and will lead over a Gorilla if asked. (John O'Leary Method)
  • Using a "War Bridle" to ask a horse forward and tune them up. (Highly dangerous but does work. Only to be used by professionals. Almost always makes horses rear over backwards. Good for the real tough ones, in the right hands only. (They even rear over with Monty Roberts and his halter)

THE FLOATING PRINCIPALS THAT DON'T WORK (most of the time)

  • They may work sometimes, but never on going. None follow the principals of proper and accepted training methods.
     
  • Bribery and corruption. (The bucket full of oats.) OK, it may work sometimes but this article is about the total and proper training of horses, not hit and  miss or success on a good day and disaster on others.)
     
  • Picking up a horse's foot and putting it on the float ramp. This has got to be  the most futile act by horse handlers imaginable. You are begging the horse. You are electing yourself No.2. They don't leave their hooves there anyway.
     
  • Putting a tail rope on a horse. (OK it works sometimes but will run out of Puff over time and then you will be pulling the horse into the float with the tail rope and you will run out of puff.)
     
  • Tying the lunge rope to one side of the float and running around the back of Horse until you are on the other side and then pulling. (Force meets force-they are stronger- we are weaker-we are becoming the beggar- they are becoming the boss- we are doing all the work- they are doing nothing. They are not moving and giving to pressure. It is a struggle of strengths.
     
  • Getting behind the horse and pushing. (You push they push back- they are stronger-we are weaker-they become the boss-plus we can get a kick in the head.
     
  • Feeding or watering the horse in the float left in their yard. This one works. Sometimes to get a frightened horse familiar with the interior of a float but I can assure you, nothing beats correct training and I have never failed to float several thousand horses with the proper training methods and I have never taken, on average, more than 10 minutes to load them. I am talking about the unbroken and problem horses as well  here.

THE SYSTEMS THAT WORK

KEL JEFFREYS METHOD

The "Kel Jeffrey's" method is probably the most user friendly. Especially for amateurs. It involves two handlers, one holding the lead rope and the other at the back end with a long whip so you can't get kicked. This gives the most control over a horse and the most success for casual horse owners.

Start out in the car park to pre-programmed the horse that tapping on the rump means go forward and that for going forward, it will be given immediate 'reward and relief'. You will find that the horse does this very easily out in the open so the leading handler may have to stop it now and again and make it stand, so that the back handler can place the whip on it's rump.

You must be using a whip that is made by cutting the tail off a lunging whip. Any shorter is dangerous. The whip person must stand side on, like the fencing competitor, with arm full outstretched. This then gives the appropriate distance away from the hooves of the horse, should it kick. You must never take your eyes off the horse, should it go to kick and if it does, you should have read it first. Most don't however but there is always that chance.

 Here are the steps:

  • The handler up front has one responsibility. To keep the horses head looking into the hole into the float at all times, meaning every split second. If this can be achieved and the handler at the bum end can generate the horse to go somewhere, it must go into the float. If the horse moves backwards, just increase the intensity of the tapping.
     
  • The handler up front must not try to pull the horse into the float and they must never attempt to stop the horse from walking backwards out of the float
     
  • All they must do is to jerk the halter laterally left or right with check release  from slightly loose rope to snap and back to slightly loose at the 1/100th of a second, whenever the horse attempts to look sideways for the escape route. Cancel the escape route and it is only a matter of time.
     
  • The handler out back has the responsibility to rhythmically tap, tap, tap the  horse on the top of the rump, dead center and a couple of inches above the dock .They must continue to do this until the horse makes any movement forward and then with a split second, stop tapping, give the horse reward and relief. Both by ceasing tapping and also by stepping backwards out of the space of the horse.
     
  •  Any movement means even the movement of one hoof forwards. After a 15 second delay; re-commence the tapping and so on. The rear handler must be directly behind the horse at all times, in a direct line up the backbone and as the horse may swing from left to right, the  handler must remain directly behind. If they caught off to the side they will  immediately drive the rear end of the horse sideways and around the side of  the float. They must dance like a 'fencer'
     
  • The front handler can and should, gently take up the slack of the rope now and again, and just gently ask the horse forward but release immediately. That is all they can do from the front point of view.

Once a horse has learnt this system, it will always load and it will never forget it.

When you are learning, all you have to do in order to give you maximum chance of success is to place the float alongside a fence to cover one side and if you want a complete sporting chance, just position the float in a raceway. You will still be doing better than Monty because he builds a yard around the horse and attaches it to the float. Blind Freddy can even do that.

This is the best system of all for the learner people.

TOM ROBERTS METHOD

The "Tom Roberts" method, is and has been very successful and encompasses the same principals as all of the good methods, that of reward and relief. It involves only one handler and a dressage whip which is used to tap, tap, tap  behind the forearm of the horse until it makes any move forward and the tapping ceases. This procedure continues until the horse learns and gives to  pressure of the tapping, understands it's "reward & relief" and gives to it. The one downfall of this system is that there is very little control of the back end of the horse that really wants to evade and I have seen one win over a Mounted Police Officer for 5 hours to the point of total embarrassment and failure. I learnt that day that this system does not have control over the back end of the horse. The front yes, but not the back. It wasn't until I had a flick through the Tom Roberts book recently, that I saw ladies hiding around the sides of the float in the photo's of horse float loading. Small world, I happen to know the ladies and I know what they were doing. Flicking the horses with a whip to attempt to force the back end back where it should be. Proof that the system falls down against other ones. It is indeed ironic that the name appearing above this paragraph and the one appearing below it are the two gentlemen who taught Mr. Roberts.

JIM WILTON METHOD

The "Jim Wilton" method works on every horse and is so good it works on the tough ones as well. He is dead now but was Australia's most famous master horseman back in the 1940's and 50's. He challenged all horseman of the world to a horse breaking competition with his own 500 pounds put up, but the only taker he got, happened to be Kel Jeffrey's, but Kel pulled out in the end as well.

This system entails the ownership of a stock whip and the technique to be able to lay it along the ground so it remains always near the back near side leg and to be able to get the whip just to jump up and flick the back legs like a snake. Only a flick,flick,flick. No hitting.

Well, this has the greatest effect on horses than anything else I have tried. It gets a reaction and that is what you want. These horses that "Dog it" are tougher to load than the ones who are willing to react.

This is a one-person system and the handler simply holds the horse with the reins of a bridle with an FM bit fitted. As in all of these good systems, horses react and normally run backwards worse than they normally do when putting it over their owner in a casual way. This is what makes the proper training systems good. It means that the horse gives it his best shot, looses and therefore suffers a bigger defeat that he thought ever possible. This has the lasting effect and puts trainability into a horse and removes the words, "I can't, won't"

Anyhow, in no time, this system will put the worst horses in. It doesn't matter if the whip jumps up and hits them behind the back leg, in front of it or up on their gut. 

I have had the totally unloadable horse that has beaten people for years, put pressure on this system, only by extending the length of time by dancing and careering too far away from the float but there is a very simple method to fix this in conjunction with the Jim Wilton Method. He used a set of stockman's hobbles, put on over float boots and around the back cannon bone of the back legs. This is a professional's job, but is completely safe and stops the fun and games of the highly trained evader.

Once a horse has been trained or re-educated with this system, they will never say no to a float again.

This system is more difficult for the learner people

THE PAT PARELLI METHOD

The Pat Parelli method is also a fantastic one and works every time. It is a one-handler system that has the added bonus of being able to stand outside the float and just driving the horse in.

The main reason why a lot of people don't use this system is that they don't know how and with this system, it is a matter of the handler learning the system before the horse can be trained it. It is a sophisticated system that everyone should learn. The world would be a much better place if everyone did. It's downfall is found in the difficulty for the human to learn it. You must learn the system properly and that means adapting to a different World for most people as it is a radical shift away from holding horses up by the jaw with a lead rope.

Go to Pat's accredited trainers or get the books and videos at the Saddlery shop. http://parelli.parellinet.net/

The horses that are trained properly with the Parelli system, will not say 'No' to anything, let alone the float and you can send them in from 10 metres away.

MONTY ROBERTS

I cannot recommend this system as I saw Monty fail with it and have seen the video. Substandard imho

THE JOHN O'LEARY METHOD

Well, why shouldn't I have a method? Everyone else has got one!.

But seriously, I am not claiming this as my method, but I don't think anyone else has.

I have found that if you can halter break a horse so well and so lightly, that they will go where ever you ask and never say no, they will go into a float every time. That is the meaning of true halter breaking and true lightness and it is achievable on every horse. The young horses are the easiest ones to achieve this with as they are not set in their ways and haven't developed the ignorant heads that a lot of older horses do. You know, all the ones in the Racing Industry. The ones that are used to handlers swinging off their heads like “Christmas decorations.” It works on older horses as well but there is effort and strength required. Have your horse equipped with the rope halter and 3.6m Parelli type rope.

  • Lead your horse to the float, to the point where it will balk. Take up the slack and take a hold against the head of the horse. Hold, hold, hold. The strength that you hold does not matter and with the older horses, the heavier the better. The amount of strength will only have an effect upon the time taken to success.
     
  • Even if the horse starts to drag you backwards away from the float, keep constant on the hold. The rope halter will begin to create dis-comfort to the head of the horse and you can get differing reaction. Some will drag you backwards faster in which case you will stay holding. Some will then stop but you still stay holding because the horse did not take a step forward. Remember, you are re-educating the problem horse here and so the battle will always have to be fraught the hard way first, before success later. You may have the horse rear, in which case you must immediately release the rope (throw a loop in it) until the horse lands back on the ground but you will be immediately back hanging off the head again. As if you hadn't left.
     
  • At some point, the horse will take a step forward and you must totally release the rope on the millionth of a second. Go to the horse, 'goooood booooy' and stroke. Little rest and then start again.
     
  • You will get back to the float eventually. Same treatment. At some point, the horse will pick up one front leg and begin pawing the ramp. This is the turning point and you know right there and then (providing you don't make any timing, feel and position mistakes) that the battle is already won.
     
  • Give relief when the horse has pawed the back ramp, even if it didn't leave the leg upon it. Just for the first couple of times. Then, pawing the back ramp will not be enough and you will not release. You will be demanding that the horse leave the hoof on the ramp before release takes place.
     
  • Now you are looking for two feet to be placed upon the back ramp and left there. Relief the moment that happens. Rest, pat, etc.
     
  • Now we are going to play an important psychological game with the horse. You are going to back the horse off the ramp, pat, relief, pause. Now ask it back up.
     
  • Repeat, step by step, back it off again. Up 2 steps, off. Up 3 steps and off. Neck into float and off.
     
  • You will have succeeded with your float training, vastly improved the lightness at the halter of your horse, gained more respect than you had previously and be feeling very good as a Horse Trainer. Well done.!

The fact that you have backed your horse off, just when it thought that it had given in to you, cements your position two fold.

GO TO THE SECTION ON HALTER BREAKING FOR MORE

COMMON MISTAKES AND THEIR RESULTS


How many people have you seen walk the horse away from a float as soon as the horse "jacks up"? The moment you do that, you have given the horse "Reward & Relief" for being naughty. You have trained the horse there and then, not to go onto a float and that if they say "No", you will give in.

Once you present a horse to the back of a float, that’s it. They load or else. If they want to be smart about it, and walk around to the side of the ramp, then they can load from there too. NEVER TAKE THEM AWAY TO STRAIGHTEN THEM. Unless you may be using a whip to move them with correct systems.

If you take your eye off a problem horse floater you will get "Stuff Ups" I would like a dollar for every time I have seen the horse commit itself and the horse go to walk in, wander off the side of the float only to see the  owner loaded up nicely and the horse around near the mudguard. Don't ever  take your eye off them.

Asking the horse to load onto a float---not telling it!

 How many times have you seen the unwanted helper come and stand at the side of the ramp and the horse? Sometimes they even put their hand on the horse. This causes all horses to either walk sideways or backwards depending at what angle to the shoulder the problem person is.

  • Trying to drag a horse into the float by hanging off its head. This causes them to pull back against the force but even stronger than we can.
     
  •   Bribery and corruption. Carrots, sugar lumps etc. This represents the complete selling of your sole and giving in to the horse.
     
  • Trying to walk into the left bay whilst leading the horse into the right one. This causes confusion in the horse
     
  •  Pulling on a horse's head when it has committed itself and is half way in. This Invariably makes the horse suddenly balk and then run backwards. On so many occasions, the two-hour effort and fight to put a horse on the float and the frustration it causes, originally is caused during the first attempt that a horse may make to go into the float. Accidentally pull on its head when it is half way in and you will make it run backwards. Especially the badly halter broken horses.
     
  •   Pulling on a horse's head if it starts to leave the float without permission. If you pull on a horse that is moving backwards out of a float, it will do two things every time.
     
  • Throw its head up and possibly hit its head on the roof.
     
  •    Run backwards faster against the force that you pull on its head.

THE REASON HORSES ROCKET OUT OF FLOATS

  • You can bet, that if you inherit a horse that ejects itself out of a float like a rocket when the back goes down, one of two things have happened to it prior.
     
  • The handler has forgotten to untie the horse before undoing the back and the horse has had the big "pull back" as they will do on 99.9% of occasions.
     
  • The horse has hit its head whilst walking out of a float. Both things become psychological afflictions that are very hard to fix. They compound into a more serious problem as time goes on. I meet about 30 of these horses per year.
     
  • Tying the horse up before putting the back up. Don't trust the bum bars.
     
  • Tying a horse too long when you have a head division which allows the horse to get it's head jammed around the wrong side of the division.
     
  • Standing behind the back ramp whilst lifting it up to lock it. Highly dangerous and large numbers of people get seriously injured every year by making this mistake.
     
  • Tying dominant horses too long while traveling with other horses and allowing them to attack and bite their mate.
     
  • The back leg of the division extending to the floor.

WARNING

Not having the triangle in between the A-Frame of the draw bar of the float covered in with mesh or steal plate. Every year, horses all over the world have their legs broken in such a situation. (I have seen the hoof pulled completely off a horse with the bone sticking out) They catch their hoof in the V and that is the end.

CHECK THE FLOOR

Check the floor of your float every year. Get under the float and have a good close look. Horse urine rots the hell out of them and many stories are told of the horse traveling down the road with its leg been worn off as it drags on the road surface.

OTHER DANGERS ON HORSE FLOATS

I have been looking at horse floats all over Australia and I doubt if there is one manufactured that has the tie-up points high enough. Tying horse low is dangerous, high is safe. Further, the location of tie-up points are often in dangerous places. i.e.

  • Too close to the rear of float and horse gets hooked around back ramp closing latch.
     
  • Too close to front and horse gets hooked around braking system or the door handle of the personnel door, thus causing a pull back drama.
     
  •  Horse getting rope hooked around the spare wheel and massive pull back occurring.
     
  •  Horse being caught with rope hooked under mudguard, pulling back violently bending mudguard double and usually cutting legs severely.
     
  •  Bum bars not substantial enough.
     
  •  Chains, which are inadequate. They break and they lift allowing horses to run underneath them.
     
  •  Bum bars too high for the sized horse in the float. Horse rushes out beneath bar and scalps the whole centre of the back on the way out, or is still tied up, thrashing like a shark and smashing it’s head on the side of the float or on the head division.
     
  • Centre division back upright bar extending down to floor. Horse smacks hind legs on way out and learns to rocket out expecting pain each exit. There should not be one of those; they should be suspended from roof of float.


The horse begins to come out, the back leg gets hooked on the back leg of the centre division and the horse panics. That can lead to all sorts of problems from rocketing out to a fear of floats.

GETTING THE PUNCTURE

If you get a puncture or other type of breakdown, whilst on or near the edge of a road, do not unload the horses. You should also not attempt to jack the float up with any type of jack. This is because floats fall off jacks when horses move in the float, especially a fractious one.

You should not remove them because of the dangers of them getting hit by traffic, escaping from you, where do you tie them. If they don’t tie up solid and they haven’t got rope halters on and Parelli lead ropes, they will most probably break away and run into the traffic. Do not tie to twine under this situation. Solution?

Go and buy a “Bushmans Jack” or make one. Get two feet long piece of railway sleeper and cut one end down into a ramp of a slight angle. Merely back the float onto it if the puncture is in the front tyre or drive the float onto it if the puncture is in the back tyre. Loosen nuts first.

This then is your jack and your float is off the ground. Change wheel, tighten nuts reasonably, drive car off jack and tighten nuts totally. You can buy an aluminum one of these fabulous products in the shops now.

DRIVING

The golden rule is, you can technically go as fast as you like in a straight line and crawl around bends. Specifically though, here is how you should drive a car towing a float:

  1. Accelerate slowly.
     
  2. Brake slowly and over 200 metres.
     
  3. Always be 30 metres behind the next car in traffic and every time a car from another lane takes your space, back off again from that car to 30 metres.
     
  4. Read traffic, road conditions and traffic lights 200 metres ahead all of the time.
     
  5. Above all, go slowly around corners. The good rule that I have tested is that if you halve the recommended speed around corners that you see on signs, you will be spot on.
     
  6. It makes no difference how fast you travel in a straight line. Horses have no feel for speed, only instability.
     
  7. If on open roads, straighten out corners.
     
  8. If on open road with plenty of view, drive near the white line, not the edge of the road, thus countering the camber of the road, which horses don’t like.
     
  9. If turning at a junction, 90 degree bend, maximum 5k per hour and do not, I repeat, do not accelerate away until the float is in a direct line with the car otherwise you will get a whiplash effect like the water skier when the boat turns. This frightens horses and I see at least 90% of drivers do it.

Over 50% of drivers' that I have watched, do not drive as they should. This would probably be because hardly anyone ever gets taught how to drive a horse around. No-one teaches it. There should be a license procedure imho.

WHERE TO PUT THE HORSES

  • If floating one horse, that horse should be on the right hand side of the float to counteract the camber of the road and to equalize the slope of the floor of the float.
     
  • If traveling two horses, the heaviest horse should be on the right hand side to balance the float.
     
  • If a horse has psychological problems and will only float safely on a particular side, you will have to do that.

Newly broken in horses or unbroken ones in fact, do not have any floating hang-ups ever. These come later when taught by us humans.

ANGLE FLOATS

Almost all in Australia are angled to the left with the horse standing down hill. We copy America and we cannot get our mind around leading from the right. Why would you want the horse facing down hill. Why would you want the majority of the weight down hill? What do you think happens when your left hand float tyre slides off the bitumen and into the holes or gravel? You swerve right and the horse swerves left, throwing it's weight through it's left shoulder, thus causing the float to spin out. Not good for safety. I am not a fan of these floats anyhow, because of the lack of neck room and the lack of view for the horse.

WHAT IS A SCRAMBLER?

This is a horse that has been involved in a floating accident but more often than not, just traveled too fast around corners by an incompetent driver. The horse, when it feels the float move sideways etc, thinks it is tipping over and literally climbs the walls of the float with all four hooves, normally cutting itself to ribbons in the process. Or falling down when the center divider gives way under the stain of the weight of the horse leaning on it in order to climb up the wall parallel with the ground.

WHAT TO DO WITH A CLIMBER?

Here are varying options

  1. Remove the center division, do not tie it across.
     
  2. Travel the horse in a three-horse float in the center bay so it cannot climb on walls.
     
  3. Install bulkheads on left and right side of float to keep horses legs off wall. Out off the wall about 150mm so that you get the same effect as the JR Easy Traveller float which is made for climbers. Have them installed about shoulder height so that the horse can lean on them instead of the wall.
     
  4. Travel the horse in an open roofed float regularly, with proper driving and a successful trip. This works on fixing their mind. No division
     
  5. Buy a 3/4 float, with no division and with bulkheads installed.
     
  6. Always heavily boot the horse up.
     
  7. Drive like a snail.

Don't try this but I will tell you a story about how I fixed a horse that was off to his death. He was a very bad scrambler and would end up down in the float every time. I first trained him to hobbles over a number of weeks. Front and back and then four at once. Then I took him to a cement floor in a shed and painted around his 4 hooves. I then installed 4 rings into the concrete, just outside where his feet would be. I then hobbled him to the floor, clipped to the rings. He gave to this well too because of the prior preparation. I then walked him into the centre of a double float and painted his hooves on the floor. I then installed rings in the floor of the float. I then clipped him to the rings and drove off. He could not scramble. He tried but he could not. When he had gained his confidence and belief that he could not scramble, I put the hobble straps on and only clipped his fronts. No problems. Then the next trip, hobble straps on all 4 legs but not clipped at all. No problems. He found his comfort zone in the wearing of the straps. I saved his life and I felt good.

 

Happy floating

STOPPING THE HORSE THAT RUNS OUT OF A FLOAT.

The problem regarding running out of the float is caused by one of three things. All people problems. The horse hitting itself on the roof of the float at some stage (caused by someone hanging off it's head whilst it was walking out) being left tied up when the bum bar was removed (the number one dumb thing in the Horse Industry) which always causes a massive pull back fight with the horse smashing it's head side to side or just a bad float or driver. Easily fixed but needing two people. One on the head end ( WHO MUST NEVER PULL AGAINST THE ROPE IN AN EFFORT TO SLOW THE HORSE) and the second handler at the back, DEAD CENTRE behind the horse, NOT OFF AT AN ANGLE. The rear person has the whip (LONG and preferably the handle of a lunge whip with the thong cut off) standing side on in the stance of an Olympic Fencer so as to be out of reach of a kicking horse and to remain dead centre behind the horse to the degree, regardless of whether or not the horse comes out straight or crooked. Ask the horse out. The whip tapping is used vigorously to stop the horse's backward movement and bring it to a halt. Re-load from that point. Back it out, using the training scale of pressure from the whip, improve upon the ceasing movement each time and back off each time to look for proof of improvement. The horse will be looking for the rear handler so allow improvement to happen. Up and down the scale of pressure with the whip and following the principals of reward and relief, ON THE MILLI-SECOND. End of problem. 5 minutes work on every one I have ever met. Cheers

 

LETTERS

  
STOPPING HORSES FROM EXITING THE FLOAT WITHOUT PERMISSION


Hi John and team,

I know it was written a while ago, but I have just come across your page on loading and floating horses and found it incredibly useful http://www.horseproblems.com.au/loading_and_floating_the_horse.htm.


I have a question I've been looking for help with for ages, and was hoping you might have an answer or have an article where I can find an answer! I have 2 lovely big horses, and they both load well onto my 2 horse straight load float. I tend to float 1 at a time with the centre divider removed as I find they are quite comfortable like this. They also unload fine.

My problem comes when I load them on, and then want to move past them to close the back of the float and close them in. I know I shouldn't tie them up before the back is closed, or they might pull and panic with the open back. My solution has been to have a friend (Mum, my partner etc) to close the back tailgate while I take the horses on the float with me. This has been working fine, but I feel bad that now in my 20's I need to drag someone to come away competing with me, purely because I need them there to help me close the float at the end of the day (how annoying for my family!) .

Is there an easy way to train the horse to stay standing in the float while I move away and close the back up?

Thanks for your time!
Lauren



Hi Lauren

First up, if you mean that You walk out between them, whist there is nothing behind them to stop them exiting, I suspect You are squeezing through. If so, that would be enough catalyst to make them think they should reverse anyhow. To think that You could Tie them up (the greatest mistake in Horse Floating and one that ruins most Horses for the rest of their Career) You indeed would have a Death wish.

Stopping Horses from walking back out without permission, can only come with systems that promote a Horse to stay in there and indeed, that You send Horses into the Float with. Therefore, they really only include Uncle Pat's system where You drive a Horse into the Float and if they dare step back, You drive them back in. That is what makes them stay.

Having said that, if You pre-train Your Horses to not come Out, using two People, You have a fair chance that the message will stick.......but, I have easily adapted a combination of the Jeffrey's Method (which does control the rear end of a Horse but requires two Handlers and the Roberts Method (which does not control the rear end of a Horse and allows it to evade around the side of the Float. Simply use the nouse, put the Float against a Wall, start with the Roberts method if you like and when the Horse gets pretty much parralel with You transfer to the Jeffrey's Method and then You can complete control the rear end and send Home the message to NOT WALK BACKWARDS. Regards

 



STOPPING HORSES FROM EXITING THE FLOAT WITHOUT PERMISSION


Hi John and team,

I know it was written a while ago, but I have just come across your page on loading and floating horses and found it incredibly useful
http://www.horseproblems.com.au/loading_and_floating_the_horse.htm.


I have a question I've been looking for help with for ages, and was hoping you might have an answer or have an article where I can find an answer! I have 2 lovely big horses, and they both load well onto my 2 horse straight load float. I tend to float 1 at a time with the centre divider removed as I find they are quite comfortable like this. They also unload fine.

My problem comes when I load them on, and then want to move past them to close the back of the float and close them in. I know I shouldn't tie them up before the back is closed, or they might pull and panic with the open back. My solution has been to have a friend (Mum, my partner etc) to close the back tailgate while I take the horses on the float with me. This has been working fine, but I feel bad that now in my 20's I need to drag someone to come away competing with me, purely because I need them there to help me close the float at the end of the day (how annoying for my family!) .

Is there an easy way to train the horse to stay standing in the float while I move away and close the back up?

Thanks for your time!
Lauren



Hi Lauren

First up, if you mean that You walk out between them, whist there is nothing behind them to stop them exiting, I suspect You are squeezing through. If so, that would be enough catalyst to make them think they should reverse anyhow. To think that You could Tie them up (the greatest mistake in Horse Floating and one that ruins most Horses for the rest of their Career) You indeed would have a Death wish.

Stopping Horses from walking back out without permission, can only come with systems that promote a Horse to stay in there and indeed, that You send Horses into the Float with. Therefore, they really only include Uncle Pat's system where You drive a Horse into the Float and if they dare step back, You drive them back in. That is what makes them stay.

Having said that, if You pre-train Your Horses to not come Out, using two People, You have a fair chance that the message will stick.......but, I have easily adapted a combination of the Jeffrey's Method (which does control the rear end of a Horse but requires two Handlers and the Roberts Method (which does not control the rear end of a Horse and allows it to evade around the side of the Float. Simply use the nouse, put the Float against a Wall, start with the Roberts method if you like and when the Horse gets pretty much parralel with You transfer to the Jeffrey's Method and then You can complete control the rear end and send Home the message to NOT WALK BACKWARDS. Regards

 HORSE FLOAT DEATH TRAPS
SAFe TOWING OF HORSE FLOATS
THE HIGH DANGERS OF AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURED HORSE FLOATS

 

 

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