More Float Problems..any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Northern Peregrine, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    A little while ago a section of my float floor in my three-ish year old float collapsed wth my 17 hand Warmblood, Perry, in it. Small miracle that there were no significant injuries to horse..he was understandably very frightened though. Have had float repaired and reinforced with mesh under the floor but now have new set of problems. He has turned into a scrambler..never scrambled before..and I have found the only way to stop him was to take the whole divider right out. This solved THAT problem but now I have a new one. My husband make up a joining thingie ..can't think of better description join the two bum bars together ( I don't want permanent modifications as still want to float my other horses with the divider in place) and we have added a removable chain as extra precaution ..which takes a bit of fiddling with. Perry used to self load but now I need to lead him on and it is fine with someone else to hold him and one to close the bum bars. Problem is I need to take him out myself next weekend to our ARC gymkhana and won't have anyone to help me. I tried self loading him and with all the extra room he swung around inside the float ..I didn't think he'd quite manage it because he's so big..and ran out of the float frontways scraping his face on the door and narrowly missing running right over the top of me.. I know you are not supposed to tie a horse in the float EVER before you secure the back but I have found the only way to manage this..and it's still pretty to use the rope halter and loop my parelli rope around the chest bars so he's semi-solid tied with his head down. He seems to respect this..pulled back slightly to try and back off but stopped when rope tightened around bar. I would never do this with a young horse..Perry is 17 and solid ties quite well..but I'm not really happy with it as I still have the problem of me getting out safely and doing up the bum bars. He doesn't respond to food treats when he's worried or anxious so this is not an option. Is there a better way or in this case is it just safer for the both of us to "tie" him with the doors open? I'm thinking I might not be able to take him out by myself otherwise :(
  2. cupcake

    cupcake Well-known Member

    If he just needs the tension on the rope... maybe try a lunge lead, lead him in, go through the door (still holding the lunge lead) and then around the do the back up?

    That way if he freaked and wanted to get out, you could just drop the rope instead of the danger of having him hard tied in there.
  3. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    I float on my own and always tie my horses up before securing the bum bar. I tie to twine just in case, but never had a problem - If I didn't tie up they'd just follow me back down the ramp!

    I don't teach horses to self load personally. I like to be in control of their front end whenever I have a halter on them - so when I tie them up, technically I still have control of their front end. I expect them to stand still until I untie them, grab the leadrope and say 'back'.

    So yeah, I reckon you're fine to tie him up, I wouldn't worry :)*
  4. kp

    kp Well-known Member

    Unfortunately NP your horse has had a big fright in the float and is now very worried about being the float. I don't blame him. The only way to get him over this is time. He is going to have to learn again that the nothing bad is going to happen to him in the float now. You know him best and are the best person to figure this out. If the risk is to great simply don't take him out on your own yet. The worst thing that could happen is he gets another fright.

    I never tie my horses until they are secured in the float. All my horses tie solid. But I horse tied up in the float pulling back and panicing is very dificult to deal with. If this were my horse I would simply spend time re-gaining his confidence in the float before I take him anywhere by myself. Get him to self load calmly again. Get him to stand in the float calmly again. Take some time everyday and have a set routine for him with the float. Go about this as calmly as you can. Let him deal with his fear and he should figure there is nothing to fear.
  5. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    I agree in theory with you kp, and it changes things if the horse has had a bad experience. But a horse that yields to pressure should not pull back - tied up in the float or otherwise - ever. Since this horse is 17 and tied solid IMO it shouldn't be an issue to tie him and nip round in the unused bay and grab the bum bar. I tie to twine in case something freaky happened like a dog attack or something lol but my horses don't pull back, so never break it.

    I dunno, I would just be getting on with it and expecting him to be ok with it and not make too much of an issue out of it ';'

    If I have a horse pull back in the float I don't treat it as a floating issue - it's a tying issue - so I go back and train the horse to yield to pressure.
  6. kp

    kp Well-known Member

    All of mine tie solid. But I have had horses pull back in floats. Usually someone asking them to come off the float and forgetting to untie them first is the cause. Some will give to the pressure and just stand there. And others feel the pressure and start to panic. I can only ever remember the horses panicing as a result of this happening being big horses that were nervous loaders. Usually when the lead gives way, the horse flies out backwards hitting there head as they go. Doesn't happen often, but not worth the risk with a horse already having issues. I do honestly believe just loading and unloading this horse on the float as part of his daily routine will go aong way to solving the problem. He doesn't necessarliy have to self load and stand by himself straight away. But in time I think he should. He just needs to get past his fear.
  7. pso

    pso Gold Member

    I agree with kp- would never tie up until bum bars are done up

    NP- what worked with mine...lead in, loop rope thru tie up but keep hold of the end, stay next to his body then just back yourself down to bum bars... do up bum bars from inside, then go back to front and tie up- exit and do up ramp...does that make sense?

    and hell- above all- dont stress about it- am sure there will be people at arc that can help you on the day ;)
  8. NumidianHorse

    NumidianHorse Active Member

    ... I'll play devil's advocate ... ;)

    If it was me, I would forget trying to force anything by taking him out next week ... I'd stay home and make the float a nice place to be by practising on / off ... working up to a drive around the block and home again.

    ... I'd prefer to have him become a confident and consistent floater again - rather than put us both through the fears this soon after the ordeal. (Think how people feel going on a plane after a bad flight ... it takes time and repitition - and sometimes drugs!) ... you could actually give him treats such as liberty pellets soaked in rescue remedy to reward him during the process.

    If possible - I'd also put the car and float up against the (open) paddock gate - being very safe about everything) and put his hay or feed on the ramp, then further in & further in ... to help him work out for himself that it's "ok".

    Whatever you do - try to stay calm with him - because if you become anxious, it will give him more cause for concern. Good luck **)
  9. Northern Peregrine

    Northern Peregrine Well-known Member

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Actually when I first got him four years ago, he was always a bit of a toad about getting on the float. Spent a lot of time with him to get him self loading..took him to Fred Watkins.. but even so he would often take the opportunity if presented to back off it..even before the accident. He doesn't actually seem excessively afraid of the float..scrambling aside.. and is travelling quite happily without the divider. He is pretty okay loading as long as I am in there with him..the minute I "leave" to go to close it up then he seizes his chance. It's having the extra space that he can do things in now that is the real problem. He is only usually difficult loading going away from home. There is rarely trouble loading to go home...he mostly doesn't try to get off then. Bribing with food never works with him...sadly he's not at all food orientated.
    Btw, the other part of the issue is him trying to exit the float when he gets home before I get things open. The bum bars the way they are now make this a bigger problem, as they are much less stable without the divider and this is a worry.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  10. PF

    PF Active Member

    Have you ruled out any muscle soreness high up (maybe caused in the original accident)? One of mine scrambles if he is a bit sore in the back end - I don't get any other indication of soreness, just the scrambling but his therapist always finds the problem.
  11. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    Definitely don't tie him up before closing the bum bar. :eek:

    Have you tried travelling him with the divider still in, but tied to one side ? He can still spread his legs on the drive but it makes it harder for him to turn around.
  12. Pugsworth

    Pugsworth Well-known Member

    couldnt you ask someone to help you, when you get to where you are going?
  13. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Interesting how many people won't tie up until bum bar is closed. Each to their own I suppose, and there is more than one road that leads to Rome ;)

    My youngster ties up in the float with everything open and I'll take as long as I please to close up - it's how I choose to train my horses.
  14. NumidianHorse

    NumidianHorse Active Member

    there was a similar thread a while ago - I mentioned that my mare was same (ie., nightmare! *#))

    ... cos she'd be "happy" while i was with her, but yeah - minute I went out the passenger door ... SCOOT! ...

    short story = took a lot of work, but she now consistently self-loads (day or night) and stays on whether back open - me talking / walking away etc and doesn't come off until invited ... people who knew her tricks are stunned when they see her now.

    pm me if you want more info about my (amazing) coach and technique we used. **)
  15. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Likey like like **) Like this - you are in control of the situation and of where she puts her feet.
  16. Gamby

    Gamby Well-known Member

    Im another that would never tie before the back is closed at most i have held the lead outside the door to stop a horse coming back but if she went for a pull back i would have let her go. Personally i dont feel that it is safe to put my tie up training to the test in the float, i know they tie solid but why cause a potential issue when it can be avoided.

    He has had a massive fright so i would just be working with him with the float so he can build up his confidence again. My TB turned into a terrible loader a while back and everyday i did a little bit of work with her bit by bit. I need a horse that self loads as i go most places by myself and she is happy to now go on and off when i ask...but i would still never tie without the back closed :)
  17. NumidianHorse

    NumidianHorse Active Member

    Agree Gamby - for me, tieing up is only to stop StickyBeak from turning and looking around while travelling and is only done after she has self-loaded, stood quietly, back is closed up, I move around the front and tie her to a short lead rope (on baling twine) before one final walk around the float and heading off.

    If she wasn't so agile at bending and being nosy out the back of the float, I would not even tie her in.
  18. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    I float on my own nearly every day Gamby, I need my horses to be 100% reliable and extremely disciplined when it comes to float behaviour. I float train quite intensively this way.

    Each to their own, I will never, ever teach my horses to self load, I don't believe in it. I like to have 100% control of my horses' front ends at all times - if I have a halter on them then they have no independence at all - I am leader, they follow.

    It's whatever works for people and whatever training methods they opt to apply **).
  19. Gamby

    Gamby Well-known Member

    Definitely each to their own. Im not disagreeing with the way you train or do things with your horses so you dont need to justify it to me :) but i do think that a horse that self loads isnt in control of themselves and at all times i do have control of the front end, back end and all thats in the middle when self loading. Variety is the key to life...if we all did things the same we would have nothing to discuss on stockyards
  20. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    Yup you are right there Gamby :D

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