HORSE FLOAT DESIGN VERSUS LOADING PROBLEMS


 John O'Leary
Horseman.
2011

 

Have you ever wondered why your Horse won't go on your Float or other Floats? Do you think it's all Training?.......well it isn't. Horses often refuse to enter Horse Floats because of design or maintenance deficiencies.

Inadequate Horse Float Design directly makes it more difficult for an Owner to load their Horse!!!!

I'll deal with a number of these one by one and give you the reasons behind the thinking of Horses "Listen to Your Horse" for they are very good Judges and are rarely wrong.

Horses are "Panicaholics and Claustrophobics" .......so why should they enter a "Tin Can on Wheels?" So here is a list of some of the things that affect loadability.

  • The angle of the back Ramp

  • The existence or not of a back Leg to the Centre Division

  • The View

  • The Height of the Roof

  • The Noise level of the Float

  • The openness or lightness of the interior

  • The footing


BACK RAMP ANGLE

When a Horse approaches the back Ramp of a Horse Float, it immediately assesses the Float but more particularly, whether it can fit in the Hole.

The Angle of the Ramp dictates the decision of the Horse for the steeper the angle, the more the "Optical Illusion" that the Horse receives, relevant to whether it can fit inside, is going to hit it's Head, or not. For the steeper the angle of the Ramp, the more the eye sight of the Horse makes it think it can't fit in. It is made to focus on the Roof.

Add to that, the eye sight of a Horse and the fact that it has a blind spot directly in front of it, steep ramps and the pre-occupation with the Roof, immediately creates Horse Float Loading resistances.

The steepness of the Ramp also promotes slipping and loss of grip by a Horse attempting to climb it and therefore a loss of confidence. Any such loss directly impounds upon the willingness or not to then enter a Float and resistances begin. If this is not balanced by an ability of an Owner to take remedial Training action, major float loading fights can ensue, thus compounding further, the dislike for Floating.


ROOF HEIGHT

Of course, the Lower the Roof Height, the more difficult it is to load your Horse. The reasons are obvious. Many have hit their Heads in the past of course but the majority worry about hitting their Heads.

Before I came along in 2000, the maximum Height of Horse Float Rooves was 2150mm. As I commenced terrorizing Horse Float Manufacturers on this Website, I gradually dragged some kicking and screaming to 2170mm up to 2005 and then since, some to 2200mm and a few to 2250mm. All along, my test Float was 2350mm because I knew that this is what Horses over 16 Hands had to have and especially Warmbloods.

Fear of low roof

 Take a look in the eye of this lovely Boy as he communicates his worries about this Float which is too low and made worse by the attachment up top.

 

CENTRE DIVISION BACK LEG

These are from the 'Dark Ages' and yet are still prevalent in modern Day Floats.

  but here is one from 30 Years ago.

So these can and often are, the effects of the back Leg.

  • Ready to trap a front or back Leg of Horses, causing stress, or pain and often rocketing out of Floats in the future. These things all make a Horse more difficult to Load.

 

VIEW

Every Horse Float on the Planet, for 100 Years, provided Windows and view that have not suited the Eye Sight and desires of Horses, the "Flight Animal"

Have you ever wondered why Horses are more 'spooky' on Windy Days than calm Days? It is my opinion and experience, it is because the Wind makes everything constantly move. Things that normally didn't move, are suddenly moving. The Horse, on normal Days, have the entire environment around them, pigeon holed, with everything in place and everything in memory. That is because of their "Prey Animal' instincts. So imagine the frustration with a lack of view or poor viewing opportunities. Imagine not being able to use their eyes, sideways, as the World spins past their blind spots???? Contusive to relaxation and happiness????

Windows have always been too Low and provided nothing but an adequate view of the Car Boot/Trunk and have not catered for the Eye Sight of a Horse. The Manufacturers seem to have forgotten that Horses are not 'Prey Animals' and that their eyes are NOT on the front of their Heads, but "Flight Animals', with eyes on the sides of their Heads. Add to that, the fact that the Horse has the blind spot in front and you can imagine the stress that would be caused, by the Horse trying ever so hard to focus upon the blur that is whizzing past.

My Test over the last 10 Years have received unanimous applause from over 1,000 Horses because they have been able to utilize their preferred side View and to soak up the scene. Just like we do. Believe me, Horses miss nothing when they can see, to the point where my Wife's Horse was recently travelling through a Town where the Dressage had been held two Years earlier and suddenly the Mare saw Wheat Silo's that she had remembered and associated with the Competition. She immediately prepared to unload.

So Poor view, unhappy Horse, more difficult to Load.

 

 

NOISE

Horses have highly attuned hearing so you can imagine the dislike for Trailers that are too noisy in side. I have met Horses that have become unloadable, due to this, with one of Australia's best known brands.

 

FOOTING

Horses are in fear of slipping and are highly tuned to the mechanical condition of the Float. They can hear and react to new noises like wheel bearings and certainly know when a Floor is due for replacement. They always tell you.....by not wanting to load.

 

LIGHTING AND OPENESS

As I said earlier..."Horses are Claustrophobics" and prefer open, well lit, Horse Floats, not dingy dark environments. This comes down to Windows and other things of course.

There are many other things but please remember that Float Design and Maintenance adversely and directly negatively affect the loadability of your Horse onto your Float.

 

To put "my money where my Mouth is" and out of frustration of the progress of change, I have fixed all of the above mentioned things and about 20 others, in one new brand of Float. Please have a look here. www.centaurhorsefloats.com.au (this Site will be changing soon, to reflect new afordability of these Floats. Register your interest with ryanoleary85@gmail.com

 

Regards

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