Thorough preparation for travel will reduce the risk of problems while travelling your horse. The float, gooseneck or truck should be roadworthy, regularly serviced and in good condition. There are different rules in each state regarding towing weights and legalities and it is important to know that you meet the requirements when towing your horse.

1. Equipment Check:

Tyre pressures, water, oil, brake fluid, fuel and lights should all be checked prior to travelling as well as a regular check over for signs of wear and tear and a thorough check of the floor and ramp. You should also ensure you always have a suitable tool kit including a jack of the correct size in case you need to change a tyre.

2. Packing Essentials:

You need to pack all the riding gear and grooming equipment you need for your outing as well as some extras including water and feed buckets and enough feed for the trip, a spare halter and lead-rope and a first aid kit. Rugs and feed requirements will depend on the weather and the length of the trip.

3. Ventilation and Comfort:

Good ventilation is extremely important when travelling horses to reduce the risk of travel sickness – a respiratory infection that horses can succumb to especially when travelled long distances. The body heat of one or two horses in an enclosed area like a float or truck will increase the air temperature significantly so minimal rugging is usually required.

You can use travelling boots to protect the legs especially if your horse is travelling next to a companion. You should always give your horse time to get used to his travelling boots before travel, to reduce stress. A tail bandage or protector can also be used to prevent rubbing but should be fastened very carefully so as not to restrict circulation in the dock.

Horses should be removed from the truck or float at least every four hours and be allowed 15 minutes with his head lowered (grazing or eating) to allow mucus to be removed from his respiratory system. It is also advisable to remove boots or bandages and tail wraps during this time and inspect the horse for any signs of ill health.

4. Loading and Unloading:

Loading and unloading can be stressful if the horse is not gradually and correctly trained for the task. A quiet horse with good ground work will usually learn to load calmly and easily very quickly. When just one horse is travelling in a two horse float it should always be loaded on the driver’s side. In a truck the single horse should be loaded directly above the rear wheels of the truck if possible.

Loading Process:

  • Ensure that the float is parked in a safe place with no hazards nearby and that the ramp is lying flat and level.
  • The divider should be pushed across to give the horse and handler plenty of room to enter the float. The handler should always have appropriate footwear and it is advisable to wear a helmet when loading horses.
  • Once the horse has walked onto the float the handler should stand slightly to the side while the helper replaces the divider, secures it in place and raises the ramp.
  • The horse can then be tied up safely to baling twine.

Unloading Process:

  • When unloading, the horse should first be untied and the handler should stand to the side while the helper lowers the ramp and opens the dividers so the horse can be removed from the float.
  • The handler should keep the horse straight as he backs down the ramp.


By following these guidelines, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for your horse. Thorough preparation, proper equipment, and adherence to loading and unloading procedures are key to minimising stress and reducing the risk of injury during transportation. Prioritise your horse’s well-being to make every journey a smooth and enjoyable experience. Safe travels!