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Are Floating Problems really Floating Problems?


Float loading is one of the most common problems, I see, people have with their horses. It never ceases to amaze me, how differently people perceive a horse’s behaviour. A behaviour, which a horse owner has been happily rewarding the horse for all along, can turn into a violent opposition when the circumstances are right. And by right I mean, when someone is trying to load their horse on a float and they don’t have much time…

Often times, a horse will be resisting to going on the float and evading it by running over the top of the owner, or trying to flee the scene and pulling the owner off their feet. Or pulling the ever classic standing there and planting their feet move.

The horse will then be labeled as a “bad horse, disrespectful” and “naughty.” But is that really true?


Is the horse to blame here or does the responsibility lie with the owner to educate themselves and their horse properly?

I believe the responsibility lies with us, as horse owners, to empower ourselves with the knowledge and skills necessary to help the horse.

Most habits that horses have around people, are for the most part created through their interaction with them. It really comes down to all the simple little things, which most people ignore and don’t take seriously enough.

Things like leading, rugging, feeding, grooming and general handling on the ground, have a massive affect on the horse’s overall attitude and behaviour. This is essentially where lots of problems are created, usually unconsciously.

The owner may not even perceive what the horse is doing as a problem, until they try to ask the horse to go on the float. Then lo and behold the horse now does everything the owner has taught the horse to do. The horse thinks:
“Leaning on the pressure of the halter is ok, so I’ll do that first.”

“Well that’s not working, so lets try running over my owner as they always let me run over them anyway, so I’m sure they won’t mind.”

“What?? I’m not allowed to run over the top of you, when I’m feeling nervous! You can’t change the rules now…I guess I’ll have to run back to my paddock buddies at least they don’t change the rules!”

This may sound silly, but it’s not far off the truth. For many horses the behaviours are already thoroughly in place, before people even get to the floating part. So in reality the float doesn’t create the bad behaviour it reveals it!


Just remember next time your leading, feeding, rugging or grooming your horse, are you seeing what’s really going on between you and your horse??

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