Pulling a horse float requires being aware of your tow vehicle, the horse float, and the horse that is riding inside the float. To safely transport a horse, you must practice road safety and remember to take your time. You must always be aware of the horse passenger that you are hauling. Read the laws in your state for pulling a horse float. Each state has different laws governing how to legally and safely tow a horse float.
After the horse float is hooked up to the tow vehicle, walk through the float to make sure the roof vents are adjusted for the weather of the day. Check any safety releases to make sure they are operating with ease in case you need to reach your horse fast. Replace any old hay with new hay. Make sure there are no wasp or bee nests inside the float. Check the floor of the float to make sure it is stable with no rotten spots, and verify that there is nothing that will damage the horse's feet.
Place a leather skull cap on any horse that has never been transported so it does not damage its head if it should rear up. Load your horse on the left side of the float if it is a two-horse float and you are pulling one horse. When pulling more then one horse, place the heaviest horse on the left side of the float. Roads are crowned in the middle so having the heaviest horse or single horse on the driver's side will allow the float to pull safely. When hauling a horse in a slant load float always place the heaviest horse first in the front. The main weight should be on the front of the float.
Secure the horse with enough slack in the rope so there is no danger of the horse hanging itself in an accident. Make sure there is not too much slack in the rope, however. Moving around in a float will cause the float to sway and could prove dangerous. Use a quick-release knot in the lead rope to secure the horse. If using float ties, make sure the ties have a quick-release snap. Close all float doors and make sure storage doors are secure and locked.
Pull your horse float for a few blocks and then pull over to make sure the hitch is still secure. Starting and stopping distances will be greater because of the added weight of the horse and float, so give yourself plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you when on the road.
Drive at five miles under the speed limit. Use your signals when changing lanes and take it slow to avoid accidents. Keep your forward motion steady so you always maintain tension on the hitch to prevent any loss of control. Should the float sway, do not apply the vehicle brakes. Apply the hand-control brakes on the float in quick succession to stop the float sway. Take turns slowly and do not regain your speed quickly after a turn. You will need to gradually increase your speed after turns so your horse will be able to adjust its balance and maintain its footing.
Use a lower gear when pulling up steep hills. If the hill you are ascending is long, downshift your vehicle and keep your speed down. Apply the handbrake to slow the float when going down steep hills. If your float should begin to skid or jackknife then you will need to apply your vehicle brakes hard. Look into your review mirror and if your float is going into the opposite lane, let up on the brakes to help your float regain traction. Do not use the float brakes because they are more than likely what have caused the skid to begin. The wheels will need to regain traction so that the float will straighten out.