Q: Do your trainers have any tips for stopping a horse from pawing and kicking out while he is travelling in the float? My 10-year-old crossbred gelding does this if he is travelling on his own, or with a friend. He is wrecking the inside of my float and it's quite distracting for me when I am towing. A friend has suggested hobbles but that seems a bit extreme.
Amanda Mason, Waitoa
This is a very frustrating problem to deal with. The first thing you must do is make sure that your float is large enough for your horse and that he isn’t too confined. Make sure there are no protrusions that may be annoying him and make sure that the floor of the float isn’t slippery.
Your horse must be tied loose enough so that his rump hits the back of the float before his lead becomes tight. You don’t want your horse to pull back and fight for his head.
The way you drive and the speed you drive has a big bearing on the way your horse travels. One bad trip in the float is enough to upset a horse forever. Make sure you always drive smoothly and steadily around every corner and never brake suddenly or too hard. You must always drive smoothly so that your horse has an easy ride.
When you load your horse, make sure that you do up the tailgate before you tie your horse’s head. When you arrive at your destination, always undo his head before you let the tailgate down.
It may help to take the middle partition out of your float when your horse is on his own. This will allow him to spread his legs and balance more easily.
Hobbling a horse in a float can lead to further problems. If something goes wrong, your horse won’t be able to spread his legs and balance himself. If he fights against the hobbles, you’ll have a major disaster on your hands.