PROBLEM HORSE OR PROBLEM FLOAT?
THE HISTORY OF BADLY DESIGNED HORSE FLOATS IN AUSTRALIA
Go to the bottom of the page to look at the results of these years.(3rd
AND watch the Video 20/3/16
This page is going to be devoted to the improvement of
Australian Horse Floats, given that there has never been any attempt to
design for Horse Safety, not one Float has proper viewing and 100% of
them are too low for the ever increasing height of Australian Horses.
For the record:
THE EYES OF A HORSE ARE ON THE OUTSIDE OF THEIR
HEADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and they are Blind dead in front and behind.
The highest Float in Australia is 2170mm
with the average being 2150mm
They all have dangerous fixings
None of them have a window anywhere near where a
Horse can actually see out.
and no one have have worked out the one big secret
When I put this site up in May
2003, I wrote a piece which talked about the relationship between horse
float design and injuries to horses.
I get many enquiries as to which
brand I recommend. At this time I do not recommend any but note that one
South Australian Company is trying.
I am taking legal advice on
using a complete list of photographs of every brand in order to point
out the dangers to horses on most of them.
CLICK ON THE
PHOTO'S TO ENLARGE THEM
Here is another disaster waiting to
happen. Any float which has mudguards like this is dangerous
See the danger here?
The centre division
has a back leg ready to catch horses legs and to take away all
confidence in loading.
Close up of them
Any horse float that has a centre
division that goes all the way to the floor will cause scramblers'
The back ramp fixtures as shown on
some of these floats are dangerous and do severely injure
Horses get killed in open tow
bars. Horses have their hooves ripped off totally by open tow bars on
Horses hurt themselves and lose
floating confidence by centre divisions that have back legs to the
Horse floats that have spare wheels bolted to the side
do cause serious tying up dangers and injuries.
Exposed sharp edges of mud guards cause injuries to
Low tie up points on floats cause horse accidents,
injuries and other training problems.
Chest bars, centre
divisions, head divisions and bum bars should all be re-movable.
Fixed centre head divisions are
Chains as bum bars are dangerous.
Narrow bum bars are dangerous.
Square roof braces instead of
round ones represent a high danger to horse. (See photo above)
of any description, used to hold up or let down the back ramp are highly
Many more to come and this will be
updated regularly with a full list of brand names with dangerous design
I am happy to report that there does seem to be a slight
change in attitude by some of Australia's Horse Float Manufacturers',
some looking for better ways to do things for horses. They are still to
wake up to the most important required changes, the ones that can and do
influence the stress levels of horses the most. I know by extensive
testing myself. After all, I see huge numbers of problem floaters and
that is a wonderful opportunity to examine.
Hi Mr HP,
I just wanted to say thanks for all the tips on your site about
float safety. I have just ordered my first float and the company
were only too happy to oblige with these alterations. It has the
spare wheel on the front, filled in draw bar, no back leg on the
centre divider, no nasty gaps where horses can stick a leg
through, the handle of the door and the ramp latches don't stick
out and the ramp itself is wider than the entrance to the float
so when unloading it is harder for them to accidently step off
Without all the advice on your site I would not have realised
there were so many possible dangers. So thanks from me and my
horses who will hopefully be happier and safer travelling now.
The design of a lot of the floats of today and one brand
in particular, heavily influences this research finding, as does angle
Other studies have found that
elevation of the horse's head, which restricts the range of neck
movements, compromises the immune system and increases the number of
bacteria in transtracheal aspirates. The increase in bacteria is thought
to be the result of a decrease in clearance rate of the bacteria from
the tracheobronchial secretions in horses that are confined and unable
to lower their heads. This information suggests that the practice of
cross-tying may, along with other factors, predispose horses to
respiratory disorders following transport. It also leads to further
questions on the athletic potential and disease susceptibility of the
horse during the recovery period and post-transit complications from
other stressors such as social stress, thermal stress, and housing or
pathogen challenges. and more
In particular, they found that
levels of serum cortisol, which is secreted during stressful situations,
were greater in the cross-tied horses
Gibbs and Friend (1999) found
that the preference of orientation when free standing was to be angled
to the direction of travel, no preference was shown for angling to be
neither forward nor backward travel. Horses rarely stand sideways to the
direction of travel, but occasionally stood either facing or backward
parallel to the direction of movement. Ability to balance was not
affected by orientation in the trial conducted (Gibbs and Friend, 1999).
These orientations were similar between horses whether tied up or free.
Lower head carriage allows
weight to be shifted forward and enables better balancing ability (Gibbs
and Friend, 1999). Gibbs and Friend (1999) observed that horses do spend
some time facing forward. They conclude that if horses were averse to
facing forward, then they would avoid this orientation.
Some things have changed a
little but most has not. So a re-visit to some of the Float Companies.
Just a brief look but I notice
that there are other archaic features including the
bum bar set up which sticks straight out the back
whilst loading the horse and does not fold around
the side out of dangers way.
and Mustang Floats, WA on a refurbishment. Before
and after shot.
We don't use ... & I DON'T recommend using box
section for the chassis. We use 65x65x5 Duragal
angle with the cross members spaced @300mm. Draw bar
needs to be minimum 100x50x3 RHS Duragal. Have
repaired MANY floats that have either angle (like
wooden Taylor floats) or only 75x50 RHS draw bars
... and without exception they ALL bend & flex at
the front of the float. Did a refurbishment of an
old float after Christmas .... and this had 75x50
draw bar ... and it was bent up 25mm higher at the
Rusted Metal: All of our float chassis' are
constructed from "Duragal" angle (65x65x5mm) and not
from square or rectangular box section. The reason
we use angle and not square box section is that
angle cannot hold any liquid inside and cause rust
to form. It is common practice amongst a lot of
other manufacturers to use box section for the
chassis, then simply lay plywood on top (for the
flooring) and attach with "Tek" screws through into
the box section, then lay rubber mats over the top.
The inherent problem that this system produces is
that over time moisture, liquid (especially
corrosive urine) works its way under the mats, down
the "Tek" screws and end up inside the sealed box
section causing it to rust from the inside out.
Unfortunately you cant see the box sections from the
inside, so you don't know to what extent the damage
is, usually until it is too late and the floor has
We do how ever use "Duragal" box section for the
upper framing of the float, and where the uprights
meet the angle chassis, drain holes are drilled
through to allow any moisture to escape, preventing
The sheet metal we use is all 1.5mm Galvanised
finish, which compared to some other manufacturers
products is almost double the thickness and
protected from corrosion with the galvanised
coating. Compare pushing the front of our floats and
the sheet metal will not deform like some others.
The floats strength is achieved by using decent
thickness sheet metal that is welded onto the frame,
and not riveted like so many others. Prior to
fitting the sheet metal to the frame, a bead of
polyurethane sealer is applied to the frame, which
provides an insulating bed between the two, helping
to prevent rust from forming in between.
After all the sheet metal is fitted and the floats
metal fabrication is completed, all the seams are
sealed and coved with polyurethane sealer, including
bonding the fibre glass roof onto the roof frames.
This completely prevents water etc. from getting
between the frame and the sheet metal and causing
Have been enjoying the video's on you site .... you
don't realise how important it is for all us
"amateurs" to see how it's done properly !!! The
amount of people I come across HERE that use your
site as a reference ... is truly staggering !!!
Injury of the week
Removable Chest Rails, pull my
leg why don't you? There are none in Australians
Horse Floats, yet. They think they have them but
they do no. Read my lips. Oh but I hear the
Manufacturers say, "But we have them. Here is a
Haha I say. That is not a
removable chest bar. Well, it may be when there is
no horse hung over the top of it but when one is, IT
IS NOT A REMOVABLE CHEST BAR!!!!!!!!!!! Read my lips
Boys. If anyone tried they would likely get killed
and when a horse is on top of it, you cannot move a
thing. I have tried, several times. So, here is the
INJURY OF THE WEEK (FLOAT)
and another poor horse pays
the price for bad design in Horse Floats. They just
don't get it and they just don't think. Caused by
being hung by the flanks, over a chest bar.
These photos show are self explanatory.
Hi can you help,
> What do you do if your horse won't lower it's head as he goes in the
> float, he sticks his ears on the roof and freaks himself out and then
> bangs his forehead ?. The float is extended height.
> What height is the horse and what internal height from floor to under
> back roof beam at dead centre of back of float Sue?
> John O'Leary
I've sent my horse to float school he is actually going in for last two
days after relearning to lead properly(me learning) for a few days. He
is about 16.3 and the float unfortunately is a good 4 inches lower in
that section, hence the problem. The storm door actually sits into it
and it cannot be removed bad design fault. I used to lead pony club
style and have changed from up near the halter to about a foot of rope,
Hunter has now lowered his llama style head carriage and doesn't drag me
around and rip my arm out and all I do is pull lightly down and he puts
his head down as I ask him in or out, he is even starting to go in by
himself. I also catch him differently and he has to lower his head so I
can put the halter on, I can't believe quiethe has been totally
different horse. The guy who's doing it said he just isn't listening and
I'm spoiling him by not being more firm in basic training and getting
the horse to concentrate better and mind his manners but he is a nice
smart horse he just needs me to be quicker with his lack of focus. Oh I
think the floor to roof height is 7ft1in once inside. Thanks for reply.
What do you think?
That equals 2160mm and that is under standard height, NOT
EXTENDED!!!!!!!! So the design of your float has caused the problems for
your horse. Anyhow horse at 116.3hh has to have a minimum of 2250 and in
fact, 2350mm. They just don't get it!
Congratulations to those Manufacturers who have made some important
changes to Horse Floats in Australia. Flush Door handles, filled in tow
bars and especially those who have accepted that every Float in the
Country prior to this Website was too Low. Some have lifted their roof
height to 2200mm and even 2250mm. Running boards were copied off my test
float and other things. Great. Now match this:
I can rest now
as I have designed the Worlds safest Float and it is on the Road.
tested the float with 100% of Horses voting and confirming my thoughts.
and see the 300mm added that Week.
Floats to be launched in Australia and
Manufactured by my Family. I rest my case
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THIS WEB PAGE
The Horsemen have driven every
change seen in Australian Horse Floats in the last 15 Years. John
Chatterton designing the angled walls in the JR Float and my efforts on
this Page. These include
The First ever running Boards on
a Horse Float
The First ever proper viewing out
of Floats for Horses
First Safety Locks, door handles
and back ramp fittings
First ever safe Mudguards
The increase in Float heights
around the Country, driven by my Clients and our Prototype.
Having the highest Float in the
World for 15 Years now.
Inventor of on board Safety Belts
Inventor of the first TRULY
collapsible Chest Bars
Spring Loaded Centre Divisions
and much more. See some Photos of
the Horse that caused this journey, and the Float that had the Roof
cut off on the Day she first hit Her Head as a two Year Old.
The first high tie up points
Air Flow systems
On Board Cameras
and every enlarged Window in a
Taylors Float in this Country, sparked by this Day.
with this Float
Gainsborough Donner Bella, hitting Her Head on this Coachman, which was
This was my prototype for testing, for 5 Years,
with 17 Hand Warmbloods.
Australia's first running boards on a Horse Float
Mail: horseproblems at