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Buying Ranch Type Horse in Online Auction. Are the big sales a good choice?

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  • Buying Ranch Type Horse in Online Auction. Are the big sales a good choice?

    I am a lifelong english discipline person, but would like to get a quiet, trustworthy trail horse. Breed is not important. The ranch horse sales look like a good option, but several are now online, so I would have to trust the consignor and sale company because I couldn't ride the horse before buying.

    The only horses I have ever bought at auction have been TBs in the broodmare sales in Kentucky, so I have no experience with buying a riding horse this way. I am looking for advice as to whether I should consider this or stay clear of these types of sales? The Cody Horse Sale starts next week and horses are guaranteed sound.

    Thanks for any advice/experiences you can share.

  • #2
    I am an experienced trail rider, from MN to AZ. If you need trustworthy I would suggest buying one used to your environment. Ranch horses are a just a label, there is a difference between the older retiring mellow ranch horse and a performance cow bred ranch horse meant to be out on pasture and ridden hard many days a week. If you are looking for something you can stable - do not purchase a horse used to ranch pasture. I saw that happen here, AZ doesn't have grass grazing so horses used to being out playing with buddies all the time suffered personality changes trying to figure out living in a stall. Also depends on your ability as a rider of course. Trail riding can be super enjoyable or entirely miserable depending on your purchase.


    • #3
      My advice would be to buy from a known and trusted source. Some “ranch” horse are used to a lot of hard work, and need to work. Some are more suited for a weekend trail rider or the person who wants 3-5 casual trail rides a week. There is a big difference between the two!
      "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


      • Original Poster

        Thank you for your perspectives. I will heed your advice and stick to horses I can try in person. My horses live out with the ability to come into a stall during bad weather/bugs if they choose, but they definitely don't have a heavy work schedule since I am no longer interested in showing.


        • #5
          Follyfoot, I have fun window shopping for easy going QHs. One place that seems great, with lots of videos and information, is valleyviewranch dot com. This is not a testimonial and I'm not affiliated with them. They have been in business a long time and have a variety of horses go through their place, some of which are in their lesson program and many of which are taking off property for sortings, barrels, parades, getting coffee at the drive through and so forth. You might look at them...


          • #6
            Saw the video, flew to Texas, had a great ride, pre-purchase exam, shipped him home. What came out of the trailer was the craziest horse I ever owned. After questioning the seller, she told me the horse needed to be ridden for a couple hours, then he was great. After questioning that vet, he mentioned some of the ranches in the area use fluphenazine for their ranch horses. This is why cutter99 said "a known and trusted source."


            • #7
              Probably not a lot different than buying a horse any other way... caveat emptor!

              I have paid close attention to some of the ranch sales and there have been some great horses sold- but for the most part, the great ones brought great money, like $20K or more for a ranch horse. Or even $225,000 for a QH/Friesian cross gelding!

              I think some were well-worth the price, but like any highly-trained horse, would need to be kept up in the manner they were accustomed to in order to be 'that horse' that the person paid a lot for.

              In other words, they'd need to be well-ridden by someone that knew what they were doing in order to maintain the training and habits that made them so attractive. If that was doing ranch work for hours a day, and they are then put in a pen at a boarding stable and fed a lot and ridden by a timid amateur... sure, many horses would take advantage.

              Hard to know the outcome of those kinds of sales unless you know the details of the 'before and after' of the horse's routine. Wealthy people that might pay a bundle for a beautiful ranch horse might be better off with a gentle schoolie who needs a respite from going around in circles... and would come with some driver's ed as well!


              • #8
                Friend of mine went to one of these "reputable, big sales". Was able to actually see the horses first, talk to some owners. Frankly IMO somebody 'saw her coming'. Hooked her on this nice gelding. She bought him, took him home. Started riding him out, he started coming up lame. She was out of state at the time, but once she got back to home state she took him to her vet. Vet said he had the worse case of navicular he'd ever seen. Horse had been injected to get thru the sale.
                Friend tried to get satisfaction by contacting sale, etc., to no avail.

                So. I just would not. And, as others have said above, lifestyle also plays a factor in the horse you end up with.


                • #9
                  The Pitzer horse sale in Nebraska is a good sale for ranch/rope horses. Prior to the sale they post tons of videos from the sellers of horses on YouTube, then the day before the sale they show the preview online. Mostly team roping in the preview. It's a well ran sale with people from all over buying horses in person and online. Their spring sale was postponed and is now scheduled for June 6th. Mostly team roping horses here but also ranch horses and a bit of others. Good luck in your search!


                  • #10
                    I think you've gotten pretty good advice here.

                    I second the Pitzer sale recommendation. They are very reputable, and good horses. I don't know where you're located, but if it's close to you, Lazy K Ranch in central California would also be a good source. They breed nice solid companion-type QHs, and might have what you're looking for.