Helping your horse to overcome the fear of horse floats

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Horse floats cause fear in many horses. Loading a horse onto a horse float can be a long process when the horse is fearful. There are a variety of ways that you can help your horse overcome his fear of horse floats. Even buying a horse float, if done correctly, can lessen your horse’s fear.

Understanding the Root of the Fear

The first step in helping your horse deal with his fear of floats is to understand where that fear comes from. Most horses will exhibit a natural fear which originates from the horse’s survival instincts. Horses inherently fear being trapped in small, dark areas, because in the wild that situation would threaten their survival. Add in the noise and movement that accompanies walking onto a horse float and you can’t blame a horse for being scared.

But some horses exhibit fear that is the result of a different cause. This could be the result of previous poor handling, or even from an accident or injury which once occurred while the horse was in a float. If you have a way to contact your horse’s previous owners or handlers,investigating the cause may help you better understand your horse’s fear.

Buying a Horse Float to Help with Fear

Keep your horse’s fear in mind when buying a horse float. When looking at horse floats for sale, look for floats with large entrance doors and spacious interiors. Try to find horse floats with light colored interiors, as it makes them appear larger and more inviting.

Also keep your horse’s individual fears in mind. Some horses are scared of floats with ramp loads, while others are fearful of step-up floats. Know what type of horse floats your horse works best with, and look for floats for sale with similar features.

Desensitizing a Horse to a Horse Float

Fearful horses can learn to be comfortable around horse floats through daily exposure. Hitch up the float to a truck and park both the truck and horse float in the middle of your horse’s pasture. Open and secure the float doors and allow your horse to inspect the float on his own. Put your horse’s hay and grain in the float and leave him alone; with time the appeal of his food will gradually outweigh his fear of entering the float.

Repeat this process daily for a few weeks if possible. Do not approach your horse while he is in the float and never try to close him into it; the idea is to let him become comfortable and safe in the float.

Loading the Fearful Horse

After your horse has become comfortable with the float in his pasture you can begin taking him on short trips. Put hay into the float, load the horse, and secure him. Consider taking an equine buddy along for the ride as well; the presence of a friend can help ease a horse’s nerves.

Start with short trips, such as a five-minute drive around the farm. Then immediately unload the horse, praise him, and reward him with turnout time in his pasture or a grooming session. Continue with regular short trips every few days and gradually increase the duration of the trips.

By making loading into and riding in a float a pleasant experience for your horse, you can help him to overcome his fear of horse floats. buying a horse float to help your horse with his fears is another great step you can take to improving your horse’s comfort while hauling.

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