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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Rear-ended by a speeding truck but horses walk away

ABOVE: Hit from behind by a truck but the horses survived.

“WE WERE driving through a town towing a horse float with two horses on board on our way to a cancer charity horse ride when we were struck by a speeding truck from behind.”

This is a nightmare scenario for any horse owner and looking at the photos it is a wonder they survived.

Fortunately for these owners their horses came away with cuts, scratches, swelling and are expected to make a complete recovery.

Police on site said the truck that hit the car and float, which was travelling 47km/h, was doing “at least” 80km/h.

The reason the horses did not suffer serious injuries was because the float was sturdy.

Have you checked yours?

The chassis is most important. It needs to be constructed and welded from high quality steel, and if you are towing big horses, choose a float that is built for at least a 2.4 tonne tow rating (and not upgraded from 2 tonne to 2.4 tonne). The chassis and all other components would have been designed and built accordingly for heavy loads with stronger axles, more reinforcement within the chassis, better bracing, etc.

When buying second hand, have a look underneath the float to check whether the frame is structurally sound. Any sign of rust or corrosion on the frame is a problem.

The condition of the floor is critical – the last thing you want is your horse putting its foot through it. Pulling up the mats and inspecting underneath is particularly vital if buying second hand.

ABOVE: The float from behind.

Wooden floors can easily rot when moisture is introduced. Make sure your floor is completely sealed. Never leave your float parked on grass as it maintains moisture. Plywood or timber should be at least 25mm thick.

Check the brakes.

tA well-padded breast bar can help prevent serious injury in the event of an accident. A front door that is wide enough for escape can also be a lifesaver if the horse goes over the chest rail.

The driver from the float accident, who didn’t wish to be named, said there were also other factors he believed contributed to saving the horses.

“Please take the time and money to go and buy all the protective gear for floating your horses so, in the case of an accident, they have the best chance of survival,” he said.

“I know it is expensive, but losing your horse is worse. Accidents are exactly that, accidents; but unfortunately we do have to prepare our horses and ourselves for the worst.

“Tie your horses correctly in a float or truck. We can’t coat the horses in bubble wrap but they deserve the best, after all they do for us.”

“That horse stepped into that rolling steel box because we asked it to and she trusts me.”

He also had advice for other road-users.

“Drivers on our roads, please be careful overtaking and driving behind horse floats.

“We are not deliberately trying to slow you down or test your patience. We are just trying to transport our beloved animals from one destination to another.

“Our animals are heavy, so when you approach a horse float from behind, please be patient – do not tail gate us, do not drive crazy trying to get our attention to speed up and do not overtake unsafely.

“We are allowed to be on the road just like you.”

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