Have you ever arrived somewhere after unloading your horse and noticed that they are a bit stiff or striding short?
Think about how you feel when you drive your car for long distances, just sitting in one spot for a long period can cause us to feel muscle fatigue, aches, and pains.
Horses use various muscles to balance themselves in the float, such as the supporting thoracic sling, trapezius muscles, hamstrings, and pectorals.
To balance themselves as the driver accelerates, breaks and manoeuvres around corners they must tighten and release their muscles to remain upright and balanced.
This can be very strenuous on them and cause fatigue and tightness.
• Corners and roundabouts need to be taken slowly. If you turn too fast or too suddenly your horse could lose its balance and scramble.
• Drive to the conditions – wet and windy conditions can make travelling trickier. Water on the road can dramatically increase your stopping distance, so play it safe and allow the extra room in case of an emergency. Excessively windy conditions also have the potential to cause the float to move more than usual.
• Distance between vehicles, according to the Department of Transport, is recommended to be maintained at least five seconds (120m) between you and any vehicle in front while towing during ideal conditions. This distance can increase greatly in poor weather.
At the end of the day, you are the one responsible for the comfort and safety of your four-legged friend.
Approach each trip focusing on caution and providing the smoothest drive possible using the principles of defensive driving, you want your horse to enjoy the prospect of going someplace new, not dreading the idea of getting into a float.
Always give yourself more time when you are travelling your horse, so you are not in a rush. This will give your horse the best possible floating experience and ensure minimum effect to your horse’s muscles allowing for maximum performance at the track.