If you are intending to buy a horse at auction, you need to be able to tell the quality horses from the problem horses. Remember that most horses at auction are sold 'as-is', so you do not have a guarantee and have little legal protection, even if the horse has a serious problem. Consequently, you need to do your own research on the horses in advance to identify the ones that are worth bidding on and the ones which you should keep away from.
The first step is to arrive well before the auction starts, so that you have sufficient time to look over the horses. Watch the horses are they are being unloaded and walked to their pens. The horses should display overall good condition and walk easily, without any sign of lameness. Given the noise and strange surroundings, it is normal for a horse to be alert and somewhat nervous; if they appear indifferent they may well be drugged or too sick to care.
How do the people unloading the horse treat it? If they are the owners and are gentle with it, apparently sorry to see it go, it is likely that the horse has been well treated. However, if they are treating it roughly, perhaps even whipping it into place, then it may well be an abused horse with associated problems.
Once the horses are unloaded, the next step is the go to where they are penned or stabled. Watch how the horses move and behave, eliminating any that have abnormal behavior. Look for any scars or blemishes, which can indicate previous injuries or mistreatment.
At this point, you will likely have eliminated most of the horses from consideration and have a short list of possible candidates. Try to find the owners for these and ask them to tell you about the horse. Ask what illnesses or injuries the horse has had. Inquire as to whether it has any bad behaviors, habits or other problems. Ask how it has been kept and what it has been used for.
At this stage, if you are still interested in a horse, ask the owner (or other responsible person) if you can examine it. If so, ask to have the horse removed from the pen to an area where you can check it over, since working in a pen full of strange horses is both distracting and potentially dangerous. Look the horse over closely. Carefully examine the feet (including the underside) and run your hands down the full length of the legs to feel for old injuries. Look at the teeth for excessive wear, loss or other issues. Put your thumb on one side of the spine and a finger on the other side and push firmly to see if the horse shows any discomfort or pain; starting at the shoulder repeat this for the entire length of the back. During your entire exercise the horse should appear alert but should not shown signs of aggression or fear.
If at this point everything still looks good, add the horse to your short list. If you don't see any horses that you are absolutely happy with, it is best not to bid at all. Although the sale price may not be that high, the cost of ownership is substantial, so you need to be sure before making a commitment. Once you have finished your short list, set a maximum price for each horses; it is easy to get carried away at an auction and pay too much so one should set a firm budget in advance.
Before bidding on a horse, make sure that you have a place to keep the horse and to transport it there. If you haven't made arrangements in advance, discuss with the auction staff if they know of a reputable person that can do this for you.
At this point you should have a good idea of what horses you are interested in, their condition and background. Good luck with the bidding!
There are currently no comments on this post. Be the first one!