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What Do You Look For At A Horse Sale?

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  • What Do You Look For At A Horse Sale?

    BO and I are attending the Auburn Western Horse Sale tomorrow...got a few empty stalls.
    What do you guys look for at a horse sale? Health and weight obviously...age? Height? Confo? I've never done this before, so looking for some insight.
    Proud member of the COTH Junior (and Junior-at-Heart!) clique!

  • #2
    I'm not familiar with this sale, but I have bought horses at sporthorse auctions before. What I do is go through the sales catalog (also the supplement sheet when I get there) and mark all the horses that seem suitable for my intended need based on the description. Since I am interesting in buying riding horses, I want to see the horse go under saddle and I want to ride the horse myself. Most sales give you a limited form of vetting and I may do that. It depends. Just look at the sale as an arena where you get to see lots of horses fairly quickly and have to make the decision to buy or not quickly as well. But, I've been very happy with the horses I have gotten in auction and their price was a good value.

    Given your region, I suspect you may find a good many nice horses for sold at low prices. That certainly was the case here at the Virginia Sporthorse Sale.
    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


    • #3
      General condition.
      Temperament and type.
      Performance record.
      Manners and disposition.

      This is definitely one of those questions which is really best and most responsibly answered with a "if you have to ask, then take someone with you who knows."


      • #4
        I would say, you can go to a sale to just look around, or with a goal of looking for a certain kind of horses.

        We didn't have auctions in Europe, you got your horses from a dealer or a riding school and our riding school got some from the slaughter house.
        The manager would call when something suitable came in and our riding school director would go look thru them and buy anything he thought may work for us and to resell to other riding schools.

        When I first came to the USA, the BO went to their regualar Saturday afternoon sale, looking to add to the school horses and asked me to go along.
        I looked the horses over and picked this very nice, non reactive mare, that didn't seem to have any resistences and was young and sound.
        The mare happened to be a color I had never seen before or since, a cream white with a light brown mane and tail with flaxen accents and glass eyes, but not blue, a medium brown.
        I think the BO thought I choose her for her color, but no, her disposition and smooth gaits, as for a beginner she seemed perfect.
        You can't go by the sale barn stories, every horse has one and few match reality.
        Her story was, the family selling her got her as a yearling, had her five years, their five kids rode her all over, she was their pet and they had to move to the city and didn't have anywhere to keep her there.

        Once in the riding school, she was a doll, loved people and attention, was one of the most patient horses I have ever seen, not the most athletic and didn't want her to be with beginners, but she could pop a few rails fine.
        She became one of or favorite school horses.
        The family that raised her may not have been professionals, but they did a great job with her, as she sure turned to be a very nicely trained beginner horse we just went to using, didn't have to retrain.

        I think that the BO would still today think I picked her for her color.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bluey View Post

          We didn't have auctions in Europe, you got your horses from a dealer or a riding school and our riding school got some from the slaughter house.
          I don't know where you mean when you say "Europe" but for sure none of that is the case in the part of Europe that I'm from.... The UK


          • #6
            Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
            I don't know where you mean when you say "Europe" but for sure none of that is the case in the part of Europe that I'm from.... The UK
            I debated with myself if to add "continental" to Europe, as I know you do have always had auctions in the British Isles.
            I didn't want to be that persnickety, but will do that to be clear, since you bring that up.
            You ought to realize that to most europeans, other than the ones from your islands, Europe means the continent, when they generalize, as I did.

            Now, we did have one day a year with a big fair here and there in small rural towns, where people brought livestock to the town square and traded privately, but I would not call that an auction, if at times some of the trading was public with someone auctioning some of the animals.

            If you know about weekly or monthly auctions in most rural areas in the USA, you would understand that there is NO comparation in any of Europe, that I am aware of, with those auctions as they happen in the USA and that was my point with that remark.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
              You ought to realize that to most europeans, other than the ones from your islands, Europe means the continent, when they generalize, as I did.
              Well that's the sort of thinking that made George Bush seem like a parochial moron!

              If you know about weekly or monthly auctions in most rural areas in the USA, you would understand that there is NO comparation in any of Europe with those as they happen in the USA and that was my point with that remark.
              I presume once again you mean some countries in "mainland Europe".


              • #8
                Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                Well that's the sort of thinking that made George Bush seem like a parochial moron!

                I presume once again you mean some countries in "mainland Europe".
                Thanks for the compliment.


                • #9
                  You should have a list of general characteristics that would make a horse suitable for your intended purpose. Once you get to the sale, the list will go out the window as soon as a pretty palomino/paint/buckskin horse goes by! Or whatever your guilty pleasure is. I am just such a sucker.
                  Man plans. God laughs.


                  • #10
                    Teeth, eyes, and feet. Also check for tatoos and brands. Know how tall you are in hands, and check heights yourself. Try to research any claims of performance record or breeding online if you have prior access to the catalog, and take your phone so you can do so there. The safest thing to assume is if you don't see the horse do something, it either doesn't know how to do it, or it doesn't do it well. Take all claims otherwise with a grain of salt. Listen to what the catalog and the seller don't say, it's as important as what they do say.


                    • #11
                      If you really like the pretty ones, make sure you look at them with a grain of plain...
                      ie Ooooh, this palomino has the prettiest dapples....would you still like the horse if it were a plain bay (or chestnut, or whatever color seems plain jane to you).