Float Loading Issues

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by lilmizscrumptious, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. lilmizscrumptious

    lilmizscrumptious New Member

    Hi all!

    I just got my first horse who is 4.5 years old (QH x Paint mare) and I definitely have floating issues.

    So to start of, her previous owner had no problems floating her and nor did her breeder.

    I bought a horse float and tried to float her, which she did incredibly easily! Just to note, she is a quite horse, very calm (excluding floating) and a pleasure to be with.

    Then after that, she started to become more troublesome. I could only get her two front hooves on and that was about it. I had a trainer help me and show me to tap her softly on the shoulder with a dressage whip, releasing the pressure when she took a step forward. After a while, she gave in and got onto the float no problems.I was very persistent and by week 3, she got onto the float in less than 2 minutes.

    Now for 1.5 weeks I didn't do any float loading until... today....

    She has now figured out to reverse angrily and try to turn around to run away. Obviously she is stronger than me, and here is helpless me trying to not get her to run away. She then towards the float and as we approach the float she runs left/right of the float and at times almost runs me over. :( She's beautiful, and I know she can be great! I do some groundwork with her to teach her space which she picks up quickly on but she suddenly forgets all this when we deal with the float!

    Can anyone give me tips to stop her from running away from the float (and keep my control) and to also stop her from running over me.

    Just a side note, her neck rubs on the float divider and I now bandage it to prevent from further rubbing. Also a horse therapist has said that she may have pelvic issues that may make standing in the float uncomfortable.

    Please help :) Sorry for the long post...
  2. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    I was having floating issues with my two horses. They used to be fine but an incident in November last year when I had to brake hard shook them both and after that they were both bad to load. The pony got a bit better on her own but my main riding horse just got worse and worse. To the point where I had to withdraw from something recently because it took me 1 1/2 hours to get him on the float. I did look into learning how to sort it out myself but to be honest I don't have the time to do it, I'm lucky if I get a few rides a week. So I rang the lady who clipped my horse and also does groundwork, float-training etc. I actually put a post up on SY asking for clipping services and someone told me about her, Louise from Horsewest. You can google for contact details.

    Anyway, the thing I had to cancel was on a Sunday, I rang her the next day for float training, she came on Tuesday. Spend 2 hours for $200 and completely fixed my lovely horse and showed me how to maintain it. Worth every penny as far as I'm concerned, I went out today for the first time since the training (have practiced a couple of times between) and he self-loaded perfectly going there and coming back. I'm going to get her out again to make the pony a perfect loader too. :)*
  3. lilmizscrumptious

    lilmizscrumptious New Member

    Hi Nicki! Thank you so much for your reply :)

    I guess persistence, patience and calmness is key! I'll continue my float training and if my mare persists to hate the float, I'll definitely get the trainer out! Oh the joys...:p
  4. Blake The Breaker

    Blake The Breaker New Member

    Float training

    Hi hope this post is not to late for you. You are right persistence and patience is the key however a few tips may help. To start with something has happened causing this reaction it may be your float or just your horse testing you. I am not going to go to far into this as you are asking for tips to get your horse on the float. Ok step 1 rope halter and long lead rope at least 3 meters. Step 2 lead your horse up to your float when your horse resists the float take a few steps away and lunge horse along side float for a few minutes. Step 3 slowly move your position so as when your horse comes around he comes up against the loading ramp of the float. Horse will probably stop that is ok let horse stop and think. We want the float to be horses safe zone any were else means work. So if horse moves away from float then go back to lunging. Ok hopefully you get the basics this is the way I float train all my horses and they will load perfectly ever time after they get it.
  5. Mad on Horses

    Mad on Horses Active Member

    Now where to start, your problem could be a number of issues

    If the mare floated well before you got her then it is either a matter of she does not respect you enough to go on the float when you ask, or there is a problem with your float

    I do not know how much horse experience you have, if not a lot then I would advise getting someone to help you (would the old owners be willing to come and see if she will go on the float for them? If not get someone out who can help you to establish your leadership over the mare.

    If it is not that then have you checked you your float, does it ride smoothly (find somewhere on private property where someone can travel in the float and see if something is flapping etc, also tell them not to hold on and see how easy it is to stand) are the floorboards sound - try to push screwdriver into them, they may look ok but in fact the wood may be deteriorted. Is the float big enough for her.

    Have you done much towing, as poorly towed float can soon make a horse not want to go back in - was once told that imagine you have a glass of water on the dashboard, the glass is filled to 1cm of the rim and drive so as not to spill the water and that is how you should drive with a float on. She may be leaning on the divider bar to try and help keep her balance if you are taking corners too fast.

    Someone suggested an issue with her pelvis making her unwilling to stand still like she would in a float - easy make an area about the same size and see if she is willing to stand in that area, if she gets uncomfortable then get her checked out.

    Sorry there is no specific mend but do not immediately blame the horse, check out everything about the float & your driving, then if that all ok work on getting her to respect you (and believe me she does not or she wouldn't be running off or nearly running over you).
  6. equislave

    equislave Well-known Member

    It sounds like things are getting worse not better. I wouldn't persist too long without getting a trainer as they are usually experts in this type of problem and will see things that you might not be aware of. One name has been given to you but there are others too. If you do get her float trained by someone else just make sure you keep practicing and get one or two follow up lessons as well. Good luck but please don't let it get to the point where you or the horse get hurt.

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