I have been told lots of deals "get done in the parking lot". It will be a very interesting experience, and I also understand they post the price that each horse sold for.
With today's economy, I doubt there will be any big ticket items. Are the owners/agents allowed to refuse the price once the bidding is completed?
I have been many times and over the years have bought some very nice horses for under-market prices. I have also sold a few for under-market prices too!
There are deals that go on in the barns but these deals also go through the sales office so that PAS doesn't lose their commission one way or the other. And plenty of horses get "no saled" in the ring because they don't meet the reserve. Some of those then get sold in the barn.
I was looking at the catalog and as usual there are some lovely ones *on paper*. In my experience though, when I get there I end up buying the one that I didn't pay any attention to in the catalog because the write-up was so generic. Good luck!!
I have both bought and sold ponies at PAS sales with generally very good results, although I do think the economy this year is affecting sales of mid-range horses and ponies. You are allowed as a seller to set a reserve on your horse - it is not written or posted anywhere - and basically you make the last bid and pay the auction company a 5% commission on the last bid (yours) to do a no sale - entry fees etc. still apply. Many nice horses and ponies usually sell for very good prices and some very good deals can be found as well. Good luck if you go and hope you have a good time!