Sunday, February 6, 2011

anatomy of a horse auction

I earned another notch in my agricultural belt yesterday.

I could sum it up in one sentence (I sold three horses at an auction yesterday) but what's the fun in that?

Up to yesterday, I was a horse-auction-seller virgin. Well, not anymore. My innocence was willingly relinquished, and I'm proud to say it, and relieved too because we have three less (horse) mouths to feed.

The exciting day started at 6:30 a.m. with feeding everyone (horses, I mean), and catching the three we were selling. Next, it was off to the veterinarian at 8 a.m. with Mindy to get a negative Coggins test on each horse. That was supposed to take 20 minutes; we were there two hours.

All this sounds simple, but there's so much involved. First of all, catching them, which for two of them turned into a 30-minute ordeal. One of the horses we were selling I knew quite well. The other one is barely broke and the other one I knew nothing about. So I didn't know how well they were going to load in the trailer, if I could unload them safely at the vet's office, and how well they would stand tied up to the trailer while everyone got their blood drawn for the test.

It all went alright.

Mindy and I sat in the warm vet's office, and watched all the animals come and go, and we talked the entire two hours about whatever-you-talk-about-in-a-vet's-office-for-two-hours. If you've never done it, you should try.

Then it was off to the auction. In true Holly-fashion, we took a wrong turn. But what's an adventure with me without at least one turn-around?

At the auction barn, we were directed to the wrong people for registration, but finally found where we were supposed to go. We pulled the trailer through the barn, unloaded the horses, and tried to figure out what the heck we were supposed to do.

I texted my brother, "I don't know what to do if it's a price I don't want. I have so many questions!"

He called me. And walked me through the process.

By the time the tack auction was over, it was nearly 2:45. Mindy and I ate a delicious hamburger and spent nearly the entire tack auction talking. But she had to leave me and then I was alone.

I went out to the horse pens and started riding one of our horses around, and as it turned out, I was the first in line for the auction.

Some dude grabbed my horse's bridle and started to walk me in, but I stopped him to dismount before my head was wiped out by the low entrance. So we got into the ring, and I got on him again, which isn't something I like doing in front of people! But I did. And despite the fact that I was so nervous and shaking, I rode him for a solid 7 minutes in the auction ring, which looks like this:

We went from one end to the other, trying to gain enough speed to get him into a trot for a couple strides before hitting the fence and turning around. Back and forth, back and forth. I gave information to the auctioneer's helper, who told the auctioneer who blasted it over the intercom. He asked me if the price was okay. I said yes.

First horse - sold.

I called Daniel and told him the price. He was glad to hear it so that made me feel better. I was afraid I'd sell them for an unacceptable price.

The next horse I wasn't going to ride through, but I paid a cowboy $25 to do it for me. I went in the ring and did the whole passing-of-information, and nodded my head "okay" for the final price.

Second horse - sold.

The last horse I led through. She was barely broke and that didn't go too well for me. She was so spooked by the whole situation and nearly ran me over a few times. My ninja-like reflexes saved me.

Third horse - sold.

And finally, at 3:45 p.m., my nerves settled a little. I was going home with an empty trailer and a check.

I was happy.

There are a lot of things to note about a horse auction.
1) There are some sad horses. One Arabian had a hole in her chest, and another couldn't walk.
2) I don't like horse traders.
3) There's a science behind horse auctioneers and their cronies. It was explained to me once, but I forget. I do remember it's shifty.
4) I was probably the most nervous horse-auction-seller virgin ever.
Walking in the door at 6 last night with a check and three less horses was a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
A wonderful, wonderful feeling.

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