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This is why I hate horse auctions

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  • This is why I hate horse auctions

    Went to a local auction to see the tack sale. We ended up staying to watch the first few horses run through. A few scraggly runts going for $50 - the usual.

    Then this guy comes in from KENTUCKY (about 600 miles away) with a drop dead GORGEOUS Palamino APHA gelding - a solid 16 hands, probably 1,400 lbs. Slick summer coat, shiny as a new penny, 4 tall whites with the "melted ice cream" look going up onto both stifles. The crowd "ooohed and ahhhhed" when he came in the ring. He looked like he walked out of a glamour magazine.

    The saddle he was wearing CLEARLY did not fit at ALL. Western saddle - way too small - slid way back toward his loin. The owner's groom hops on him and the horse proceeds to spazz out and start rearing. After a few minutes of the crowd gasping, the big fat owner tries to mount up. He promptly spins the ill fitting saddle under the horse's belly. Instead of untacking and retacking correctly, they just spin it back up top and now the pad is over the horse's hindquarter. It takes the guy several tries to mount up - every time the foot hit the stirrup, the horse went up. We're talking straight on the back legs like Roy Rogers and Trigger. And of course he's just hauling away on that tom thumb bit.

    The guy yells at the horse and slaps him around a few times, finally gets mounted and the horse went up so high the dude had to jump off.

    They start the bidding at $2,000. Dude said he needed 3 grand or he's taking the horse home. They stopped the bidding and said he could bring the horse back later when he's settled down.

    Let the rodeo begin now...........dude takes this gorgeous gelding out in the outdoor arena and proceeds to "school him" until he's wringing wet. I missed about half the session but by the time I got out there, the man had a BLOODY NOSE! The man's face is red as a beet, he's drenched in sweat, and he looks like he just got drug behind a street sweeper. So I have no idea what kind of fight played out that I didn't see.

    The horse was trembling like a leaf. He was SO upset and terrified out of his ever loving mind. He brought the horse out of the ring and I said "Looks like you two are having a bad day, hu?"

    In his thickest Kentucky accent he said "Naaah, he rides real good! We got dem bucks outta 'em. But I gotta get 3 grand or I'm takin' 'em home. Anybody can get on him and ride 'em now! Boy you just gotta straighten 'em out. He been living in one a dem box stalls and he done got real blowy on me."

    Alrighty then.

    Dude takes horse back to the stall - we followed behind. The horse's hooves are atrocious. Look about 3 months overdue. The hoof wall has grown over and around the shoes.

    He ties the horse up in the stall with the tack on and leaves him stand there. The horse is panting and rocking back and forth on the front feet, he's in so much pain. The pommel of that stupid old roping saddle is digging in his withers and the horse's eyes just look terrified. We stood there and talked to the horse for the longest time and he never did stop rocking back and forth on those fronts. That poor horse was just begging - somebody please save me from this. He enjoyed us standing there petting his nose, he was so sweet.

    It broke my heart to think that people can abuse horses like this and get away with it.

    My brain was chugging trying to figure out how I can buy a 3,000 dollar horse and not have a divorce waiting for me when I got home. Sadly I could not think of any way to swing it so my only hope is that this sweet guy went to somebody.

  • #2
    I find this so hard to believe. What kind of sale was it, what was the name of the sale, and exactly where was it?

    I don't know why someone would drive 600 miles to sell a $3,000 horse when there are dozens of auctions in kentucky.

    I also don't know why someone would expect to get even close to $3,000. If people were buying horses for $50 then the top price is usually around $800. There would be no way the reserve would be set that high. I also don't understand why the horse had a groom?

    Was this a real auction that you went to or did you read about this online? You mentioned the summer coat and with that and everything else I'm having a hard time believing it.


    • #3
      Enjoytheride, sounds fishy to me too. Good old boys stick around the home country. And gold old boys sure as h&ll don't have grooms. At least not in my neck of Kentucky.


      • Original Poster

        Nolan Sales - Marion WI. The horse was maybe the 6th one run through - probably around 12:30 or so today - March 20th.


        Call them up and ask if you'd like. The office is probably still staffed. The guy and his groom (rider, helper, handler, whatever you want to call him) had several horses there - not just one. I believe the announcer said they had a few stock horses and one Walker to sell.

        I saw a big Paint gelding go for around $1,500. The others were little scrubs (before and after the big Palomino gelding). One was a Paint 2 yr old. The bidding went up to $200 and they no-saled it. She said she needed $300.

        Don't call me a liar unless you're prepared to back it up. So visit the site, call the number and tell me what they say. The announcer made a big joke out of the incident - he said "You rode better when you were drinkin'! Somebody get this boy a Crown Royal!" hahaha. Apparently this guy and Nolan himself have a friendship or history of some type.


        • #5
          The poor horse was probably heavily blanketed and under lights in the stall.
          I have seen that many times before. It's more about the color and condition of the coat, mane and tail than the horse.


          • Original Poster

            This can be found on that site I posted the link to: (my emphasis added)


            March 20
            [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]HORSES: All registered Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas will be sold first followed by all breeds which will be sold in the order in which they are consigned. Anyone with registered Quarter, Paint, or Appaloosa horses interested in selling please consign to this sale as we are contacting many breeders to buy. We expect over 200 head of horses. There is a tremendous demand for good riding horses at this time. If you have a good riding horse, be sure to consign it as we have had a large demand for good gentle riding horses. All horses must have a 2010 Coggins.

            AUCTIONEER'S NOTE: Our Quarter Horse, Paint Horse, and Appaloosa Horse combination followed by all breeds is one of the most popular sales we have at the Arena. There are people attending from several different states and numerous horse enthusiasts are waiting to buy at this sale. No horses are to be sold or traded in the alley before they go through the sale ring. The crowd must be given a chance to bid on all horses consigned.

            FARM MACHINERY CONSIGNMENTS: For anyone wishing to bring used farm machinery and take advantage of our crowd of over 1000 people: we will sell used farm machinery at 11 a.m. along with trailers. Call to consign.


            • #7
              Been to his sales in the past. Sellers do haul in from all over the country because there are serious buyers, buyers willing to spend big bucks for "pretty" horses.


              • #8
                Exactly why I can not attend auctions ~ to frequently upsetting in a BIG way ! Jingles for you and what you witnessed today ~ and of course for that the horse to have found a good home.
                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                • #9
                  OMG, that is a heartbreaking story. I wish someone had called the local humane society or police on that guy to report horse abuse while it was going on.
                  Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 20, 2010, 05:57 PM. Reason: fix verbiage
                  RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                  • #10
                    I live outside of Louisville. I don't know much about the Quarter Horse market here, except that Quarter Horses and Tennessee Walkers seem to be the desired breeds. I prefer Arabians myself. I did talk to a Quarter Horse breeder recently, and it was an eye opening conversation. I don't remember all the details now, but basically there is a "Kentucky Bred" Quarter Horse Incentive fund, where you get money for winning places in Kentucky shows and competitions with Kentucky bred horses. This incentive fund led to an overbreeding of Quarter Horses and an abuse of the fund (people putting on non-advertised competitions with almost no attendance so that they could win money). I'm not sure, but I think the fund is about bust. Some people are afraid to leave their trailer at a trail head and go riding, because they might come back and find an extra horse or two tied to the trailer. It makes sense to me that Kentucky breeders are trailering to auctions in other states where there might still be a demand for Quarter Horses.


                    • #11
                      I've seen people haul there horses hundreds of miles over mountain passes to sell them at the kill sale for 0.10 cents a pound. The owners often loose money.

                      I'd have offered the fellow $700 or $800 cash just after the owner's nose got bloodied and pointed out how lame the horse was. If he declined I'd have taken pictures and videos, gotten the truck plate, and called it in for animal cruelty.


                      • #12
                        it's not unheard of for some people to sell "problem" horses outside their normal stomping grounds...just a thought


                        • #13
                          I was at an action when I was 17....found this little black TB gelding sitting in a crowded pen....the light gone out of his eyes. Gums pale. Dripping with sweat. He was obviously colicing. Paid $550 for him before they ran him through the sale. Loaded him on the trailer, called the vet....got him home....put him to sleep. Vet called him "dead horse walking"......was the first time I took ALL of my savings as a kid to bring a horse home to put it to sleep....I try to stay away from that scene now....I'm too poor to rescue them all....and I just cant walk away.


                          • #14
                            Were there any auction officials you could have reported him to?
                            MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                            • #15
                              That is a great idea on how to document the abuse

                              Originally posted by FatPalomino View Post
                              I'd have offered the fellow $700 or $800 cash just after the owner's nose got bloodied and pointed out how lame the horse was. If he declined I'd have taken pictures and videos, gotten the truck plate, and called it in for animal cruelty.
                              That is a good idea, glad you went into detail on best way to do that, if anyone sees something like this in future that needs to be reported.
                              RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                I find this so hard to believe. What kind of sale was it, what was the name of the sale, and exactly where was it?

                                I don't know why someone would drive 600 miles to sell a $3,000 horse when there are dozens of auctions in kentucky.
                                When I lived in KS, there was a "sale barn" near me that would occasionally load up a truckload of horses and start heading east, stopping at auctions along the way. sold what they could get their reserve on and kept going. The bottom-of-the-barrel horses would end up in NJ, if they had any left by then (sometimes they didn't make it that far. Yes, NEW JERSEY - Bunchie's in Edison. I found this amusing because I grew up near Edison and knew of the place (had never gone). The people in KS thought it was hilarious because the prices would go UP as they headed east, as the quality of horses left on the trailer went DOWN. So yes, people really will travel all over with horses to auctions.

                                Plus, it probably protects their local reputations to some point.


                                • #17
                                  It sounds like a stolen horse to me. "Owne" hadn't had it long enough to know to handle it, and someone who spent money on other things would have either attended to the feet in the first place, if they were that kind, or never paid to have shoes put on, if they were the "other" kind.


                                  • #18
                                    I am so sorry.
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                    • #19
                                      Situation sounds hinky to me. I would wonder just where the horse came from for real. What owner would bother to drive so far, want so much money, but NOT have feet properly tended to before the auction, NOT have properly fitting tack for the horse, and apparently NOT know how to handle his own horse?
                                      Laissez les bons temps rouler!
                                      Elysian Fields Farm--
                                      --An equine refuge


                                      • #20
                                        Sounds like a trader looking ot see who had their tax refunds back and was looking to spend it on a pretty horse- happens all the time. They can say they need a million $ for it but that doesn't mean they will get it...We have sales where the people have shiny pretty horses and they want a certin amount for it or it goes home- many times those horses go home...and there are also many times they go home with someone else who feels sorry for it- or thinks they are in love with the pretty pally!