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Buyer Beware! Be

Careful when you buy a

horse at an Auction

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Afraid to buy a Horse at Public Auction?
Dale Anderson

Here are 5 things to do to put the odds of getting a good horse
in your favor when you are considering buying a horse at auction.

Let me share a short story with you about public horse auctions
and my friend Jack.

I'll show you how to buy a horse at auction so you won't get
burned. Jack, an old time horse trader and I use to travel to
horse auction all over the state. I'd just watch Jack and maybe
later ask my questions.

Jack was usually pretty closed mouthed, but he let me in on his
secrets to buying good horses at auctions.

#1 Arrive at the auction real early like 3 hours or more before
the auction starts.

You want to be there as the horses arrive, so you can see who
brings them and how they unload and walk to their pen.

Who brings the horse? A horse trader, private party, woman, man,
kid, also how many horses did they bring? You need to know this
so you have a clue as to who you will possibly be buying from and
who to talk to about the horse before you bid.

#2 If you see a horse you like the looks of, go to the horses
holding pen.

Watch the horse and how he moves. If the horse is tied up in the
pen this could mean trouble as the horse owner might not want you
to see the horse move. Check the horse for blemishes and
soundness, make sure the legs are clean and the hooves are
healthy and maintained, there should not be any limping or signs
of lameness.

I do not like scars, divots or bumps on the head and neck, This
shows the horse has been in a wreck of some kind, which could
mean the horse is prone to panic, Iíve been stuck with a couple
of panic prone horses and they did hurt me. If you don't know
about lame horses and what to watch out for, take someone with
you who does or don't bid.

Now the horse should show signs of life maybe be a little bit
excited, what with all the other horses and the new surroundings,
if not you could be looking at a drugged horse.

#3 Talk to the person that brought the horse

you know this person because you seen them arrive. Make sure they
are the owner of the horse, if not who are they? The standard
stories are:

It's my neighbors horse, this often means it is my horse but I am
not going to admit it to you, as I don't want to be held
accountable for the lies I'm about to tell you.

Or I'm a dealer trying to pass off this horse as a good old horse
so gentle to ride, the neighbor kid rode bareback on the road
when in reality it's a dink horse that he can't sell off his
trading string.

Jack use to saddle up to the person who brought the horse and
softly ask; say can you tell me a little bit about your horse? (
then he SHUT UP! ). They would tell all the nice things about the
horse and Jack would just look at the horse, not saying a word.
After they got through the string of lies or half truths, they
would start getting nervous because it was so quite they thought
they had to ramble on some more and that's when a bit more of the
truth starts to show up, yeah old Barley don't buck except that
one time when he broke my collar bone opps...

#4 Follow the horse from the pen to the sale ring

Jack use to walk right into the sale ring with the horse and
watch it move in the ring too. The other advantage is you can see
who is bidding. The owner or someone with them may be running up
the bid, you know this because you seen them arrive right?

Now you may not be able to get in the ring but you can stand next
to it so you can see the horse and the crowd too. Most owners try
too hard to get their horse to ride well in the ring which is
usually too small to work a horse in anyway so you get to see how
the horse responds under pressure. Watch for rearing, head
tossing, humping up or crow hopping, usually the small size of
the ring prevents them from bucking.

#5 If you still like the horse bid on it.

How much? Jack would only pay about $15 to $20 above killer
price. How much is that? You need to snoop around before the sale
and ask the dealers or auctioneer, I've seen it range from 15
cents to 1 dollar a pound, so that could mean from $150 to $1000
for a 1000 pound riding horse.

Jack was comfortable paying that price as he would take the horse
home, try them out, if there was a problem he would run them
through the next auction and not get hurt too bad, out $20 at

This works good if you, your wife, or kids don't fall in love
with old Barley, Jack use to say if you don't send them right
back to the auction. you end up with a field full of cripples and

You can get a nice horse at a rock bottom price following this
method. My experience has been that I can get older well trained
horses that people are bailing out on because the kids all left
home and they don't want to feed the horse any more, or they just
were flash in the pan horsemen and need the money for a quad

I have also bought young unbroke horses that people do not have
the skill to train, if you think you want a go at that, make sure
you have a medical plan and go for it.

I do not pay top dollar for exceptional horses at auctions
because, again experience has taught me there are no exceptional
horse at these auctions, if you think there are some there, look
close as there is usually a hole in them somewhere.

Now put this plan into action and you will find a nice horse that
you can use and even make a profit on if you so choose at some
time in the future, just do all the steps and you will get the
successful results.

Dale Anderson

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