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Thurmont Horse Auction

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  • Thurmont Horse Auction

    Marylanders, pls tell me your experiences with buying and selling at Thurmont. Can you find anything nice there or is this a "meat" auction like New Holland ? What kind of money do horses go for ? Just trying to educate myself, NOT planning on taking anything there. Are there rescue groups who frequent this sale and save horses ? Do kill buyers show up ? What happens to horses who get no bids ? How many horses go through a typical Friday sale, not the bigger holiday sales they hold ? Thanks for the info, it's too far to check out in person.

  • #2
    I have only been there once, and there were two I would have bought if I had been looking without a second thought. I didn't see too many rough looking horses... they don't seem to be about a huge amount of volume. It could have been a good night though.

    There was a palimino I liked that I wanted to show my trainer, so I went to take a photo of it, and the people that worked there were very aggressive about NO PICTURES. The horse was in good weight, you couldn't fault the owner for not maintaining him, so I obviously wasn't taking a picture for any shady purpose.

    I was however disturbed at the amount of people selling mixed breed puppies and kittens in the parking lot!
    Erin and
    Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

    "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."


    • #3
      I've not been to Thurmont in ages -a friend of mine got several of their polo ponies from there - they weren't polo ponies at the time but they made them...and they've lived long and good lives. They got another horse for polo about a year or so ago. As far as prices go probably just depends on who's there bidding and what's being bid on it can be hit or miss - sometimes very nice horses, other times not so many. I know a couple of riding stables that would go to purchase their school horses... and from what I can remember yes some meat people would be there but most everyone knew who they were and NO SALE the horse rather than have it go to them - a good thing. As far as horses that get no bids - I think the owners/sellers take them home and might bring them back another time.


      • #4
        Since Mr. Eyler passed away his daughter has really cleaned it up. No extremely emaciated horses etc. But, it is still an auction. You may be able to find the nice one every once in a while that some how found its way there, but you have to be careful. A lot of them are there for a reason. Horses usually don't go for a whole lot, but it depends on who is there. As with most auctions there are a lot of dealers so many of the horses you won't be able to find much background on. You may be told something but who knows.

        I go up every once in a while more as a social thing than anything. I've come home with a few babies, a puppy once or twice and one nice quarter horse years ago.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Reagan View Post
          But, it is still an auction. You may be able to find the nice one every once in a while that some how found its way there, but you have to be careful. A lot of them are there for a reason. Horses usually don't go for a whole lot, but it depends on who is there. As with most auctions there are a lot of dealers so many of the horses you won't be able to find much background on.
          This is a pretty accurate description. I haven't been in the last few years, but when I was going it was mostly Western horses. Those go for higher prices than the English horses, IME. You can find a lot of dealers making the rounds, a few Charles Town horses, some "sadly outgrown" or "daughter has discovered boys" offerings, and a couple dead lames or bad acting horses.

          I've bought three out of Eyler's over the years. The first was a fabulous big TB who turned out to have a sesamoid fracture. The second was a dead broke gray mare who turned out to have extensive melanomas in her rectum. I sent that one back, but actually wish I'd kept her, even if she would have only lived a year or so.

          The third was a true diamond in the rough--a 3 year old QH who was just bombproof. He was completely unflappable. I taught him to jump and flipped him for five times what I paid for him. I've followed him from owner to owner and he's continued to be a great Steady Eddie kind of guy.

          It's a great place to see a little bit of everything, from the lame to the perfectly useable. But if they show up with a nicely pulled mane, a leather halter and oiled hoofs, I generally run the other way. Those ones are definitely there for a reason.
          Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


          • #6
            I've spent a fair amount of time at Thurmont, but not as much anymore. It's a decent sale, somewhat better than New Holland, but I'd definitely still consider it low-end.

            Sing Mia Song is right, it's definitely more of western horse crowd at Thurmont, so if you're selling something, you might do a bit better $ wise if you stick a western saddle on it.

            There are a few dealers that attend Thurmont regularly and some horses do go to slaughter but I don't believe it's a 'direct to kill' thing like some dealers at New Holland and Mel Hoover's place. Thurmont usually has a good bit of "as is" horses and most of those end up w/ the dealers.

            With all that being said, if you attend regularly, you can usually find a few diamonds in the rough at Thurmont. One of my old trainers use to buy a lot of cute TB's coming off the track at Thurmont that I'd ride, they were all really nice once we got them home and schooled them up. Nothing super fancy, but they'd clock around some schooling shows and some C and B rated shows and do quite well.

            I did however have one bad experience buying a horse at Thurmont, but it was my fault... I found a super cute QH mare (Impressive bred, but double negative for HYPP) by Triples that was 3 years old and a stunning mover. The first red flag should've been when her sellers wouldn't let me sit on her (you can try pretty much all the horses at Thurmont in the ring out back on the sale night) and the second red flag should have been when the sellers told me that she had a nasty attitude and a vicious biting habit but I was 20 w/ a very small budget and looking for a project and I'd also been a working student for forever and worked at the track, so I had a fair amount of experience dealing w/ some difficult horses. Long story short, she ended up being a chronic rearer. She'd try and flip herself over randomly when I was riding (or either of the two pros that got on her for me) and it eventually got to the point where you couldn't even get a foot in the stirrup. (yes I had her completely looked over by 2 different vets, no one could find any health issues, saddle fit issues, nothing... ran blood too, came back fine). Finally in a last ditch effort, my trainer got Bob Sneed (QH guy around here known for dealing w/ the really hard cases) to have a look at her and after two minutes of watching her he said he didn't even want to get on her and to get her gone! Not only did this horse want the rider off it's back, she wanted to kill you once she got you on the ground. So basically my point is that like w/ all auctions, Thurmont is definitely buyer beware.


            • #7
              Having lived in Md most of my life, I've been to Thurmont several time. Yes, it is essentially a western crowd- a good reining horse might go for more than $2000, and this is definitely not a big-doller sale. But, if you're looking for an English prject, it's all in your favor . I wouldn't spend more on a horse than you think you could afford to lose, as many folks do use it as a " dumping ground" for their problems. I had heard from some friends still in MD that Mr. Eyler's daughter was now running the show and conditions were improved. But plainbay's right - it's definitely buyer beware! The holiday sales are indeed much bigger, can attract nicer horses. But, you can also find some truly sad cases there too( another friend of mine went there a few weeks ago on a cold Fri nite, and brought home a very underfed yearling/ weaner - $30!!!) She didn't mean to bring anything home, she just couldn't let that poor animal suffer anymore. But, remember, it isn't the sale that created that weanling's situation- that was the owner!Back in the day, did buy several horses that worked out really well- but again, I never spent any money there that I couldn't afford to lose if the purchase went totally bad.
              " It's about the horse, and that's it."
              George Morris


              • #8
                I think you have to be somewhat realistic on expectations - like if you were to go there thinking you would find the next Hunter/Eq or jumper superstar in the rough. I think if you are looking for more or less a nice all-arounder or school type horse it would be worth a look if nothing else the experience alone can be quite entertaining evening. The auctions they have at Frying Pan ) often have very nice quality horses and the prices run the gammut - sometimes the high is as high as $25,000 one time or $5,000 the next time.

                Virginia Hunter & Sport Horse Spring Sale
                Saturday, March 19, 2011
                Frying Pan Park, Herndon, Virginia
                Entry Deadline = February 10, 2011

                And usually there have a catalog of horses

                there is also one in May in Timonium

                (Professional Auction Services)


                • #9
                  "Entertaining Evening" I think is the right attitude to attend Thurmont.

                  Go early and hit the Cozy Restaurant...great fried chicken and a pretty good buffet dinner for not much money. Figure they'll be auctioning crap for two hours and finally will get to horses, so don't bother arriving early.

                  It's fun to watch the locals, lots of young girls with hopes of finding that special horse and Wayne & Bubba's out for a cheap nights entertainment.
                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                    "Entertaining Evening" I think is the right attitude to attend Thurmont.

                    Go early and hit the Cozy Restaurant...great fried chicken and a pretty good buffet dinner for not much money. Figure they'll be auctioning crap for two hours and finally will get to horses, so don't bother arriving early.

                    It's fun to watch the locals, lots of young girls with hopes of finding that special horse and Wayne & Bubba's out for a cheap nights entertainment.
                    Trak, you hit the nail on the head!
                    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                    • #11
                      There are sometimes some nice horses there. There was a pair of nice Oldenburg colts a couple years ago, both with papers. And last time I was there last fall there was a young Hanoverian gelding with papers, kinda rough looking but overall a nice looking horse with a good attitude. He came with a broke broke broke gray pony mare I rode- owner said her daughter wasn't riding either anymore so they had to go. The majority of horses there are western ranch-broke types I'd say, and there are ALWAYS some sad looking minis there. Again, buyer beware, but you may be able to pick up some honest horse. There was a super cute but kinda roughed up medium pony tacked up western in a stall that reminded me of my pony. I was in his stall looking him over when some guy rode another horse by in the aisle. The pony I was with FLIPPED OUT- rearing, teeth bared, the works. Real nasty fellow- never would've guessed by his behavior right there. Oh well. And the tack vendors outside aren't too bad, you can find some cheap new or used tack and equipment. At least I got a new breakaway draft halter for our Belgian last time I went.


                      • #12
                        I went last year. The horse we took for a horse for a friend. The horse went problem in the middle of the order. Out of everyone we had seen he went for the most at $600. Alot of western horses, some minis and a few ponies.


                        • #13
                          Wow I haven't been to Thurmont in years[moved south] . I can't believe the Cozy Restaurant is still there.No advice . I think as always it is a chance you take but like anything else you can come across that "diamond in the rough".
                          Speak kind words,receive kind echos