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I need auction education please

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  • I need auction education please

    It has been way too many moons since I attended a horse auction (and it was not an auction I would buy a horse from - we went for the tack part of the sale, and left before the poor horses came out).

    I'm considering attending some higher quality auctions in the near future to possibly shop for a new horse, and don't want to appear to be an utter rube at it.

    So, I have a few questions.

    Are you allowed/encouraged to go look at the horses ahead of time?

    Do you get a chance to talk to the seller of the horse to get more information other than the two or three lines in the sale catalog?

    Any other tips/pointers?

    I sat through about 30 minutes of the Super Sale at the QH Congress a few years ago, and it was interesting, but I don't understand the entire process.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  • #2
    Why take those kinds of chances?
    Why not go to a trainer or breeder and get a horse you can really examine, maybe take on trail, maybe lease or half lease, so you know what you are getting?

    Sales are for those experienced with sales, looking for projects and that don't mind getting some horses that may not work after all, if they are not what they looked to be at the sale.

    You can find the horse you want at a sale, but I would say your chances of finding what you want and it being what you wanted once the horse is home are considerably smaller than from some established barn.

    If you only want a horse from a sale, how about going with someone that is used to sales a few times, to see what you think of the process and how the horses there may fit your needs?


    • Original Poster

      Excellent points, and maybe it is my "champagne tastes and beer wallet" that is even making me consider this. I started poking around online to see what is out there, and everthing that I like online is way beyond my financial means. And I know that my time and financial constraints prohibit me from taking on a greenie (those seem to be more in my price range).

      I have known several people that have had success with purchasing form an auction, so I thought I would at least go see what it is all about, and learn how the process works, so that I don't do something stupid, and accidentally bid on a horse!

      I will ask my neighbor to go with me, he has a good eye for what I am looking for, and has been to the local high-end auction here in town, so hopefully he will be available to help.

      What I am trying to do is avoid an impulse buy, done that in the past, and while I don't regret any of them, the last two really didn't help me obtain my goals.
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


      • #4
        MM- I agree with Bluey 110%.
        There are free horses from rescues like New Vocations and CANTER. There are a lot of really nice horses on the Giveaways. Etc etc.
        Auctions are great places to rescue a horse, but I always leave with the memory ingrained of all the horses I couldn't help. It sucks.


        • #5
          I like auctions and have bought and sold horses through the "better riding horse" type auction during the last 15 years. You definitely can get some very nice horses at these kind of auctions.

          First, get the auction catalog in advance and read the auction rules. I've only attended Professional Auction Services and Eurosport auctions, but I suspect they are pretty normal for "better" auctions. You will have a time period prior to the auction when you can examine the horses. What I do is identify the horses that interest me in the catalog before I go. If I am really interested, I might google the owner or consignor as the horse is likely for sale at their barn. I do go the barns, look at the horses that interest me, and talk to their owners/consignors. If I want a riding horse, I definitely will ride that horse. I may bring someone with me to ride while I watch, too. I won't buy a riding horse that I can't ride -- that's an automatic elimination for me.

          You can always make an offer on the horse prior to the auction. If the seller accepts, you can go to the sales office and process the paperwork. You will have to pay a commission to the auction company if you go this route (see the auction rules). Or you can have your budget and let the horse go through the sale....buy the horse if the price fits your budget.

          Finally, be aware that many horses do not reach their reserve price. There will be plenty of "no sales". If you really like the horse that "no sales", then go back into the barns and see what the seller really wants. It might not be that much more than the "no sale" price. Again, the auction rules apply and the transaction should be reported to the sales office and commissions paid.

          Keep in mind that with auctions, you have a limited opportunity to vet the horse or reasons to decline for veterinary reasons after the sale. Many "better" horse auctions will have a x-rays available on some horses.

          Like I said, I think auctions are a great way to buy a horse. You get to see a good number of horses in one place and in a short time. I sell privately for the most part, but I think auctions are good options for both buyers and sellers, too.
          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


          • Original Poster

            Thank You! Some of the Professional Auction Services sales were a few that I was thinking of attending (there are a few north of me coming up). I read all their literature, looked at the past sale catalogs and results, and at least on paper it looks pretty promising. I did sign up to get notified when the sales catalogs are posted online for them.

            I just spent the past two hours trying to find breeders/trainers in my own home town for the type of horse I would be looking for. Either I am an idiot in the google search department (I sort of doubt that), or these folks don't know about the internet! I check the major publications, trying to get names and websites, google the names . . . and get little to nothing. The few that do a good job on using websites, well, they have great horses for sale, but way,way out of my price range. I don't need a champion Congress winner (well, if I win the lottery. . . .).

            I guess this is going to take some time, which is probably a good thing. Now, where did I hide those patience pills?
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


            • #7
              Patience pills are a real must here, or you will end up with something you don't really want, and then have to adjust and deal with it.

              Check into several breed organizations for the lists of breeders registered with them. I do that routinely when researching an article. Then google each name, both farm name, breeder and owner name. Also check for show results, (say FQHA or whatever they do there)then google the name of the owner/handler listed in the state they reside in. Check it for your zone as well. That will yield more information. Also, check the paddock, stallion, sales and classified pages in the local magazines, Horse and Rider, Trail Rider, etc magazines for more leads. Don't rule out Paints and pintos. A little color in your pasture might be a nice change, at an affordable price. And check the rescues. It might save you some traveling.

              "Large" says good luck with your search. He is waving his paw at you from the warmth of the hospital, where he is heating up under a warm air blanket. He went in today. Although a shadow of himself, dehydrated and hypothermic, the odds are getting better with each test. The major illnesses have been eliminated, his liver and blood sugar are fine, his BUN is slightly elevated, the creatine is fine. So we are now down to either his thyroid is shot, or dental disease. If it is the latter, he can be saved. Jingles please for your favorite cat.
              "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



              • Original Poster

                Aww, give Large an extra pat and scritch from me, and major jingles for a full recovery. I'll never forget him sitting there "larger" than life, with his little fangs always showing. Jingling that it is only dental. I'm glad he is adjusting okay to being in the hospital, I was worried about that.

                And thanks for the search tips, I have been doing that, going through the AQHA Journal and websites, and all of that. It still just amazes me how many big name trainers don't even have a website listed!

                I've been checking the giveaways, Craigslist, etc, and taking my time, and being realistic about this, I'm in no hurry, so I have the luxury of time.

                I just didn't think it would be this tricky.
                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                  It has been way too many moons since I attended a horse auction (and it was not an auction I would buy a horse from - we went for the tack part of the sale, and left before the poor horses came out).

                  I'm considering attending some higher quality auctions in the near future to possibly shop for a new horse, and don't want to appear to be an utter rube at it.

                  So, I have a few questions.

                  Are you allowed/encouraged to go look at the horses ahead of time?

                  Do you get a chance to talk to the seller of the horse to get more information other than the two or three lines in the sale catalog?

                  Any other tips/pointers?

                  I sat through about 30 minutes of the Super Sale at the QH Congress a few years ago, and it was interesting, but I don't understand the entire process.
                  I have attended horse/tack auctions with friends and begginer horse people lots of times. It is a great place to improve your skill at conformation verse use. And, my various friends have brought home several really nice horses that fit their needs.
                  Get the catalog and mark the horses that most interest you. Make up a specific list of the questions that you need to ask before you go and refer to that list so that you don't forget anything important to you. Then go early (the catalog should tell you how early the horses will be available for viewing) and look up the horses you have marked. The sellers will be more than happy to show you their horses and answer your questions. If a seller is not available to pre-show you their horse then cross that horse off your list. Also, remember that, in this economy, that there will be sellers that "no sale" and take their horses home to sell privately. You can often do well buying after the sale this way as you can then look at the horse in it's home setting and come to a realistic price with the seller based on the overall auction prices and your pocketbook.


                  • #10
                    In my opnion, if this is your first time you should take someone or meet someone there that will mentor you.


                    • #11
                      I bought my Dutchman at a sporthorse auction in VA. It was an impulse-I saw him and got weak in the knees and couldn't breathe-so I took the plunge. No way would I be able to afford such a horse if bought privately.

                      There was a vet on the property to do checks, so I thought it might be a good idea to check eyes/heart and do flexions, as I knew nothing about any of the horse's connections. But, there was nowhere private to do the exam, and I wasn't the only one looking at the horse, so I decided against the check-was afraid I'd drive the price up.

                      I talked to the owners, what they told me made sense, so I decided how much money I'd spend, and told myself I would not spend .25 more than that. So, I drank a beer for courage, bid on him, and got lucky. That was 8 years ago-he's been a wonderful horse for me.


                      • #12
                        Tattersall's saddlebred sales puts out their catalogs several weeks in advance - for the ASB people it is SOP to buy through the auction. I've been there with the barn twice and have asked my trainer how it is done back before we got the old guy - IIRC yes, in many cases you can even go to the farm to try the horse in advance of the auction, yes you can try a horse at the auction house pre bidding, really for me I needed a lot of expert advice on bloodlines, historical performance etc. The one thing I couldn't figure out was the PPE and how it was done, if at all.
                        Definitely would recommend going to a few with an expert just to watch and learn.
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the input. I think I have a few higher end auctions coming up here in town that I can "practice" at first.

                          And yes, I will bring along some good knowledgeable friends to keep me from doing anything dumb. One of them attends the auctions at OBS all the time, so she knows the ropes.
                          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                          • Original Poster

                            QQ - how do you get the contact information on a seller if they do "no sale" a horse and take it home? Just asking in case.
                            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                            • #15
                              do your homework

                              Where are youconsidering ? If, you're considering Professional Auction, I would definitely go; I worked for the company, also bought for resale several times; and I would be happy to help you ; first, decide what you are looking for, and a price range;
                              breeder of Mercury!

                              remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks, I have the "specs", looking for a broke WP type registered QH, that I can show locally in the Select, and my daughter can show at the 4-H shows. Would love to find a middle aged experienced horse, perhaps one that was a youth horse whose owner is off to college.

                                I'm in Ocala, and we have a decent auction here every few months, and their past catalogs show some horses with decent pleasure breeding/lines, so I might practice at those, and then take a trip north to some of the upcoming Professional Auction sales.

                                I'm definetly doing my homework, getting ideas on pricing these days (it's been a long time since I bought a horse), and what the market is like in general.
                                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                                • #17
                                  I'm a Saddlebred/Tattersalls devotee myself. We've bought at least half a dozen horses through the sale. We only got burned once, the first time. It wasn't me personally, but my younger sister. We've done our home work, and bought in impulse, and both have gone well. Buying at auction can be just as successful (or unsuccessful) as buying "retail". Just realise that there is a posibility you will get something you don't want, and budget accordingly.

                                  Personally, I'm addicted to auctions. I love it. But it can be very stressful/exciting. I'd say go and bid on a couple with no intention of buying, just to get it out of your system, but that's how my sister ended up with her rogue. So, instead my advice is DON'T bid at all unless you are ready to take it home, and deal with it after that "new horse smell" wears off.

                                  For sure, go to some auctions and become part of the scenery so you get a feel for it before you become an actual bidder.
                                  ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::


                                  • #18
                                    Tried to send you a PM but they're blocked.
                                    I've bought and sold at the Professional SH Auction in VA. Been very successful (or lucky?!) I've got 3 really nice horses that came thru the auction and have sold a couple and kept in contact with the buyers.

                                    When you get the catalogue, mark the ones that interest you, and call the office number for the owners contact info. Then you can talk to the seller before you even go to the sale. I sold one that way. The buyer really liked the horse, had it vetted before he even saw it. We finalized the deal at the sale grounds after he got to see the horse in person and sit on it. There is a vet on site but he can only do a basic/visual PPE - flexions, eyes, heart, take blood.

                                    The horses start arriving at the venue on Friday, and that's when you get a look at them as they come off the trailer. Who needs a lunge? Who starts screaming and spinning in the new stall? Which ones get ridden for 2 hours to "get the edge off them"? Which ones arrive, look around and get down to work?

                                    It's a great experience, even if you don't buy. You'll get to look at a lot of horses, talk to sellers, get a feel for the market.
                                    If you plan to ride, bring your gear.
                                    Make it a weekend! You can visit DC on Sunday.
                                    You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks again, I really appreciate the information.

                                      Next question - if the sale is a long, long way from home, do you bring the truck and trailer? If not, how to you make arrangements to get the horse home if you do end up buying one?

                                      And I could spend the weekend at my half-sister's place in Arlington if I did go up to VA for a sale.
                                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                                      • #20
                                        Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. Seems like if we have the trailer we go home empty, and if we don't we have to find a hauler.

                                        Network, and leave your name in the office. A private party may be going your way, or you can always use a commercial hauler. The office will know which ones are planning trips out of that particular sale. Sometimes the commercial haulers will have an ad in the sale catalog. We usually find someone from our area or beyond who can drop one on their way home.

                                        To be on the safe side, have a stall ready (hay and water) so if the hauler happens to get there before you (or arrives in the middle of the night) whomever meets them will not have to make too many arrangements for the horse.
                                        ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::