Saturday, June 27, 2009

Auction Reality

The day dawned overcast and windy.  Bundling up in a long sleeve blouse and my winter jacket I went out to give Buddy a final brush then load him up.  Auction day had arrived.  We (mom came with me) arrived at the market at 10:15, by 11:15 he was finally at the front of the processing line.  After we got him settled in his pen mom and I took a walk through the pens.  

It was a horrifying experience for me.  The understanding of how my standard of care and other people's standard of care differed truly struck home.  The pen of horses who had been run off the stock trailer that included a new born foal (complete with umbilical stump) cramped into a corral, all seemingly wild.  The yearlings whose ribcages and backbones stuck out like a musical instrument, who still had their winter coats hanging in patches off their sides.  The stallion with the hocks the size of basketballs.  The gelding with the foot long scar on his haunches.  The sad faced 4-H girl who had to choose two of her horses to bring because they had no more pasture.

My heart cracked in two as I meandered through row after row of horses.  Stunned I watched as trailer after trailer pulled in to be unloaded.  In all, mom and I figured there were about 400 head of horses at the auction many with outstanding pedigrees, some with incredible amounts of training.  

Buddy outclassed many of the horses there so I was feeling somewhat optimistic.  I had put a reserve on him as a safety measure when I saw all the horses, but didn't really think I'd need it.  Sitting by the ring I watched to first saddle horses sell.  For $300.00!!!!  Yikes!  I rationalized it as they were not quarter horses and as such didn't sell as well as they should have.  Until the lovely well broke, sound, sane and papered rope horse went for $1000.  At that point I started to pay attention pretty closely.  Registered horses with good lines were selling for the $500 -1000 mark.  

When the first lead horses entered and exited the ring I knew there was going to be a strong likelihood that Jeanne would get her wish.  Buddy would be coming home with me.    Horses were going for meat for 3-400 dollars.  Discovering there were still over 100 head of horses before Buddy's turn in the ring I decided to turn out and bring him home.  The entire experience was horrific.  With the drought in the region people were dumping horses left, right and center.  More horses ended up headed towards the slaughter house than found new homes.  

Plan B: figure out what is causing Buddy to act like a wing nut, solve the problem and get some serious time put into him.  Incidentally, he behaved awesome today and generated quite a bit of interest.  I also met a cowboy who rides at a feedlot who, once I figure out what Buddy's issue is, I think will take him to put some serious miles on him.  And with the high possibility of Buddy and I still not getting along he'll likely be headed towards a performance sale in the fall.  

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