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Buying a Horse Float for Beginners

Updated on December 23, 2010

Deciding to buy a horse float for the first time can seem like a daunting experience. You may have borrowed other peoples horse floats for your horses before, or maybe you have no experience whatsoever, but there is a huge learning curve that many people who have owned horses for years have learnt. If you are a novice at horse transportation, however, you may not wish to go through years of hard learning.

This article will endeavour to cover all the areas which you will need to pay consideration to in your purchase;

What type of float do I need?

Safety considerations in purchasing a float, new or used

Where to purchase - On-line, classified and dealer options

Finance Options

Towing Technicalities

Pulling a Float

Pegasus Horse Float
Pegasus Horse Float

What type of Float do I need?

It may be that you have a float type already in mind, but for a purchase tantamount to buying a vehicle in cost it may be worth taking a bit more time to think about the type of float you need. It is possible to have anything from a single float to a truck, or even a trailer with accommodation room for overnight journeys.

The most common purchase is a double horse float. You need to really think about what you may require the float for in the future. For example, if you only have one horse now, but in a couple of years you envision yourself owning 4 there is no point purchasing a single float. However it may be that you only ever intend to show one horse at a time which would mean a single float would be the best option.

Being sure of your specific need before starting to look at floats for sale ensures that you are able to focus rather than making a spontaneous purchase on a float that becomes obsolete for your purposes very quickly. 



Safety considerations in purchasing a float, new or used

Whether you are looking for a new or used horse float, do not assume that the manufacturer made the trailer safe for your horse. As well as being safe, you need to look at loading considerations. There may be specific things you are aware of that spook your horse, or you may have a horse with definite loading vices that need to be addressed.

Here is a list of things to keep in mind when inspecting a float;

  • Make sure the rear latch is secure and can’t rattle loose. It also needs to be able to be released easily in an emergency.
  • Look carefully for points around the float inside and out where the lead rope may get trapped.
  • Any sharp unprotected metal can potentially cause injury. An example would be on mudguards or unrounded metal support bars.
  • Gaps between rails such as the tow rails are a place where legs and hooves can get stuck and cause injury. Some trailers have gaps between rails next to the ramp.
  • The bum bar has to be functional, opening up sufficiently to allow the horse to load and not having to be manipulated difficultly in order to secure it.
  • The centre rail has to be given some consideration, as if it is solid to the floor it can cause some horses to scramble as they can’t find their feet. Assess your horse’s height and particular needs in this regard.
  • Check tie up points are not too low.
  • Make sure you check for rust if the float is second hand.
  • Any parts of the float that the horse could potentially get entangled in should be removable



Where to purchase – On-line, classifieds or dealers?

There are so many different manufacturers of horse floats, from the large companies to the small independent trailer makers. If you are looking for a new trailer, once you know what you want it is a matter of researching price and specifications to find the right one. If you find a dealer who has affordability but not quite what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to ask for a custom made float or alterations to one of their existing models. Most manufacturers are happy to oblige and if they aren’t then you can take your business elsewhere.

If you are looking for a used horse float, then you can go on-line and check eBay and on-line classifieds. There is always the newspaper in your local area, but these days most people will advertise on-line. I even found this website in Australia specifically for horse associated sales called GGs OnBoard.

Most dealers will also stock used floats. The advantage of a dealer is that if they manufacture their own floats they may be able to make custom made changes for you if you find a second hand float that needs alteration. The other advantage of dealers is that they often have access to finance options.



Finance Options

There are finance companies to cover any need these days, and horse floats are one of them. If you can’t quite afford the float you are after then it is possible to borrow money, much the same as if you where purchasing a vehicle. If you are looking for a new float chances are the dealer you go to will have all the application forms and necessary contacts to assist you with your purchase.

Another option would be to approach independent financers, or those you already deal with before you make any offers to purchase your float. This will give you the advantage of being able to bargain as the cash is available to you, rather than being at the mercy of a dealer.



Towing Technicalities

If you have never owned and towed a float before there are a number of other factors to consider when you are purchasing a float. These are matters that many people find out through costly mistakes.

You see, if you have a vehicle which does not have the towing capacity for the float you are buying you would end up with the dilemma of whether to get rid of your float or buying a new car. This is only the beginning of the questions you need to be asking when looking at a horse float.

Make sure you check out the traffic regulations on load capacity and licence classifications for towing different weights in your state or province. If you ended up with a custom built float which was substantially heavier than regular floats you could get caught out by the technical side of the law.

The other issue is your brakes. You need to make sure that the brakes on your vehicle are sufficient to manage the towing weight. Some floats have their own braking mechanisms which will affect this also.



Pulling a Float


There are many techniques which need to be learnt when pulling a horse float, especially when carrying horses.  It is not as simple as driving off.  There are differing speed considerations, safe following distances and emergency braking procedures just to name a few of the skills which you need to acquire.


Taking a few lessons from a seasoned float driver is probably the best way to learn, and take advantage of the internet although you can’t replace hands on experience with Google it’s not a bad place to start.


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