On the advice of a friend, I bought my first horse, a black-and-white Pinto gelding, at auction 3 years ago. He was the perfect height, price, and age, and he’s taught me a lot about horses in a short time. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
S. Stone, Illinois
I buy at auctions to give older or chronically lame horses a home where they can live out their lives. I’m 17 and have arthritis, so it’s personal for me when someone dumps a horse because it’s no longer sound. Lame horses still have love to give.
Kristine Lawrence, Texas
Auctions offer many horses to choose from in one place. You can check bloodlines, owners, and show records, plus view videos. Of course, you also need to know how to check soundness and temperament. I have four sound, gentle “sale-barn” horses of my own.
Elizabeth Johnson, Colorado
Out of pity, I bought a mare whose every bone was protruding—hips, spine, ribs (her tailhead was about 3 inches high). She moved well, though, and had a pretty head. She’s now 25 and has been a great horse for me. I was lucky, however, and I must say I wouldn’t chance it again.
Pam Petersen, Minnesota
At an auction, you never know when you may find your own $80 champion, as Harry de Leyer did when he bought the fabulous jumper Snowman.
Megan D’Andrea, Ohio
Dakota, an 8-year-old leopard Appaloosa in a Florida auction pen, had both physical and emotional scars, yet he looked at me with soft eyes when I spoke to him. I paid more than the slaughterhouse would have, but today, 3 years later, he runs to the gate to greet me. I have Parkinson’s disease, and Dakota is my best and gentlest friend. I saved his life and he daily saves mine.
Mary Hoenigmann, Tennessee
I bought an overworked, underfed grade palomino gelding for $150 at auction in 1976. Moon Frost became the reliable “extra” at our boarding stable whenever someone needed a mount with no bad habits for a trail ride. He was my blue-ribbon winner without ever entering a show.
Patricia James, Pennsylvania
I’ll never buy a horse at auction because I want to invest in a relationship with the horse and its previous owner. You’re buying a living, breathing member of your family, so you need more time than what a high-speed auctioneer’s chant and a bidding war give you.
Jen Kvalheim, Wisconsin
I couldn’t resist when a skin-and-bones gelding regarded me with liquid brown eyes that said, “Please take me home.” He became my favorite mount—and took care of me.
Jean Nass, Colorado
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