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The Horse Auction Experience
 By Winniefield Park   •   7th May 2015   •   1,991 views   •   0 comments
The Horse Auction Experience

Horse auctions are a place you can experience a full range of emotions, even if youíre not in the buying mode. Over the years, Iíve been to Ďselectí sales of pricey Thoroughbreds headed for the track, and the auctions attended by meat dealers. Those dead end auctions are the one place I donít think a beginner should buy a horse or pony. I understand the temptation. Because there is where the world's woebegone and unwanted horses are trudged through, all in desperate need of a kind home. Allowing your heart to overrule your head can lead to a lot of frustrations though, and could be dangerous. Iíve been going to horse auctions for decades, mainly as a spectator with a family member who is a horse dealer, and have seen a lot of things. Many of them donít make me proud of the human race.

Iíve seen horses that were drugged - and I knew that because I knew of the horses before they got to the auction. And Iíve seen horses I didnít know were drugged, but saw after the auction when the drugs wore off. Drugs can be used to calm horses down, and to hide lamenesses and other conditions such as heaves. They are hard to detect at an auction.

Related: A Visit To A Racehorse Auction
Related: The Five Dollar Horse In The Shed
Related: Horse We Purchased At Auction Was Drugged

Iíve also seen horses that were unbroke Ďriddení through an auction ring. One poor little chestnut I remember walked quietly through the ring absolutely dumbstruck, in shock at where it was and the strange feeling of a rider on its back. Maybe it was a born saint, or maybe that rider got away with getting on the youngsterís back once. Because often with horses, we can get away with things once. But the second time around, might be different. And there are of course, people who will ride anything. How a horse reacts in a small enclosure may not be the way it reacts in a big ring or field.

What are known as Ďstable vicesí are easily hidden at an auction. Stall walking, weaving, cribbing and other behaviors should be disclosed when someone sells a horse. But, an a auction itís buyer beware.

Some auction barns have space for a buyer to try a horse before they bid on it. Many donít. Even if they do, what the buyer sees is not a fair assessment of what the horse may actually be like in more normal circumstances. Some horses get very excited, others shut down. Some may be used to a lot of confusion and itís just another day at the office for them. But, itís hard to know that when youíve only just met outside the auction ring. And, auction barns donít worry much about rider safety, so you may be trying out a horse with ATVs zooming through, people milling about and the gate to a busy highway just a few feet away.

There are some really good deals to be found at auctions. Thatís where my Bay Goddess came from, and several other horses Iíve owned. But, for someone that doesnít have a sharp eye and level head, they may end up with a horse that isnít just unsuitable, but is dangerous or causes costly veterinarian bills. My opinion is I donít think itís a place for a beginner to buy a horse. What do you think?
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