Everything Horse magazine February 2014 - Page 36

Float Loading written by Mark Langley www.equineability.com.au Taking a thorough approach to the education needed in preparing your horse for loading and travelling reduces the risk of injury to your horse and yourself by promoting safety through trust and clear understanding. To avoid the nightmare stories of float loading you will need to ask your horse to accept and understand different pressures, requiring a basic level of education – so don’t make float loading their first education! Before loading, try to address these foundation points: have no problem handling any part of their body whilst standing. If your horse has very sensitive areas, or is still frightened of you when you stand in different positions around them, they will only be worse once they are compromised inside the float. Try to ask your horse to step forward a few steps, stand calmly, then back some more steps and then from backwards walk forwards with no brace in the transition. 1) Soft leading & backing It is very important that your horse understands how to soften and follow the lead rope. You want your horse calm and relaxed when the lead rope pressure tightens. You don’t want them to brace and jump forward, so when you teach your horse to lead and understand pole pressure you should not use too much force – just regular repetitions that focus on forward thought and softness. If your horse can walk forward responsively and softly they should also be able to back