When buying a horse float, space, size and comfort for travel are important. You should also consider whether you’d like to buy new or used, what features you need, and safety requirements for you, your vehicle and your precious equine cargo.
New or pre-loved?
There is much to think about when buying a second-hand horse float. Take some time to make a list of must-have features because the designs of floats vary widely. If your knowledge of equestrian matters is limited, get to know some horse owners and ask them questions about purchasing a float.
Unless you personally know the seller, it is necessary to establish the ownership status of the float. If it’s only a few years old, its history can be traced by registration papers. This is crucial to ensure there’s no encumbrance on the float.
Buying a horse float from a dealer eliminates this problem – your title is guaranteed and you have everything in writing should a problem arise. Aim to test the float before you purchase it. Ensure all the lights work and take a cable converter with you so you can test the plugs.
Create a checklist
If you opt for a used horse float, check for rust, especially on the floor and underbody. There should also be a separate door on the side for access without opening the tailgate.
Make sure you know the weight of your horse, or if you’re buying a float for two, you’ll have to know the weight of both. If you’re towing two of your equine friends, you should consider your vehicle’s towing capacity – some vehicles struggle when towing a float laden with two horses and gear. Plus, a divider in a two-horse float should not go all the way to the floor because this restricts the horses’ freedom of movement.
Loaded with safety features
It’s a good idea to ensure the horse float is equipped with independent brakes. A hydraulic braking system such as AL-KO iQ7 will stop the float if it becomes unhitched from the vehicle and will significantly improve stopping distance in an emergency. This braking system is both a good investment and a legal requirement in Australia if the loaded weight of the float is more than 2,000kg. It uses its own electrical system and is able to operate for around 15 minutes – enough time to ensure your horse float can be moved to safety. A separate parking brake must also be installed.
If you’re transporting two horses, it’s wise to fit your float with heavy-duty wheels and tyres.
Your horse needs to be transported safely, so remembering these points when looking for a float will help you choose the right one.