Tips on finding the most suitable horse float

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If you’re looking for a horse float for sale, it pays to do your homework first. Buying a used horse float can be tricky, especially from someone you don’t know…the float could have so many problems requiring extensive (and expensive!) repair that it might be cheaper to buy a new float in the first place!

Some float manufacturers offer fully restored floats which could be an option if your budget doesn’t stretch to buying a new horse float. If you plan on buying a secondhand horse float, make sure you do your homework first! Ask your horsey friends which type and brand of float they recommend. Word of mouth is usually a good indication of what…and what NOT…to consider buying.

Secondhand floats in good condition usually get snapped up fairly quickly so be prepared to spend some time finding the right float to suit you and your horses. Enquire if anyone you know is interested in selling their float.

Know how much your horse weighs before buying a float. Know how much your horse weighs before buying a float.

Find out what the towing capacity of your car is as it’s downright dangerous to use a float that’s too heavy for your car’s capacity! If you don’t have your car’s original manuals, check with the manufacturer. Don’t rely on an internet search…when it comes to the safety of you, your horse/s and other road users, it’s best to get information direct from the source.

Ideally, also know how much your horse weighs by either using a weighbridge, or do an estimate using a weight tape.

Make sure the person offering the horse floats for sale is the actual owner, make a point of viewing the registration papers and even consider tracing the float’s history. Also check whether the float is covered by insurance.

When it comes to inspecting a secondhand float for sale, some faults might appear obvious, but many other problems could be lurking beyond the knowledge of an inexperienced buyer. Examine the float thoroughly for rust…not just obvious signs of rust but deterioration in the floor and underbody, especially steel on the floor and underneath the float. Take a screwdriver and gently probe all surfaces for signs of weakness. Are there any protruding sharp objects or gaps a horse could put his leg through?

Steer clear of any float you suspect has floor problem, no matter how insignificant it may appear….it’s just not worth the risk.

Trainer John ‘Horseproblems’ O’Leary recommends covering open tow bar A-frames with sheet steel or aluminium, as they represent a death trap for horses. He also advises against buying a float with right angle steel rods used to secure the ramp in position, as they are dangerous.

The condition of float flooring is vitally important as urine or water seepage can cause the floor to rot, which is a very serious problem that will be costly to repair. Steer clear of any float you suspect has floor problem, no matter how insignificant it may appear….it’s just not worth the risk. Is any floor matting waterproof and well secured?

Go over the float thoroughly, checking the chassis and springs. Do all electricals work? Take the float for a test drive (check it’s insured first!) to get a feel of how it tows. A float that leans to one side indicates a problem with the suspension.

What NOT to buy! This float is only good for scrap metal. What NOT to buy! This float is only good for scrap metal.

If you’ve found a potential second float to buy, consider having the float’s manufacturer to go over it first if possible. They will be the best to advise if it needs repairs they can offer a quote. Many also service all brands of floats, not just their own.

Has the float been well maintained? Kept out in the weather? Under cover, or a tarpaulin? Has the float ever been involved in an accident?

When looking at horse floats for sale, make sure the tyres are the right type with sufficient tread, and that they all match. Ideally floats should have heavy duty wheels with light truck tyres, as regular car tyres and wheels aren’t strong enough to carry loads over 1,000 kilos. Float brakes are a whole subject in themselves–suffice to say get them thoroughly checked by a mechanic or reputable float manufacturer who services floats.

When looking for any kind of horse transport for sale, whether it be floats or trucks…be cautious of potential scammers and NEVER part with any money by PayPal, bank deposit or bank cheque. Scammers will appear friendly and you might be tempted to trust them. Don’t. Many unsuspecting buyers have been caught this way and sent their money but received nothing in return except excuses. A float represents a major investment, and the safety of you and your horse are at stake. So when looking at horse floats for sale, take your time, do your homework, have it thoroughly checked by an experienced third party, and be aware of scammers.

When you DO find a horse float for sale that suits you, look after it through regular servicing, keep it well maintained inside and out and it will have held its value if you ever need to sell it on!

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