Rescue-should I go for it? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-16-2011, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada
Posts: 223
• Horses: 4
Rescue-should I go for it?

Hi there everyone. I am a very passionate horse person, who's world was absolutely shocked today. I've heard of meat buyers at auctions, and I've heard rescue stories and such, but I never put that together with our local auction. The last time I went and stayed for the horse sale (This was probably a year and a half ago), broke horses were going for $1500 and up and for the time it seemed fairly reasonable. I was looking at a few websites, and thought I'd look at their audits for the december auction, and my heart broke. There were broke horses going for $200 to the meat buyer and papered correct weanlings going for as low as $25 to the same meat buyer. I was absolutely devastated. I currently have 3 horses, and 2 mini donkeys, but 1 of the horses will be leaving for a new home in a month, and 1 other in the summer. I have the time, money, and facilities to support something like this, but I still need my parents permission (I am 17). Do you think it is something I should go for and get a rescue, or am I missing something, and should just drop the idea and hide under a rock? Also any advice or personal rescue stories would be greatly appreciated :)
Thanks for your time!
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-16-2011, 01:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 432
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Well, I would say it is something to seriously discuss with your parents, but if they give you the go ahead...
I've never personally bought at an auction but two of the barn owners I know have gotten GREAT horses, for under $200.00.
Me? I'm all heart, I'd be refinancing my house and throwing my car keys at these people to get a horse out of the auction, but... I'm a dummy.
I'm sure there are serious risks involved, and I would also like to see what everyone else has to say about it.
I know that a $ sign isn't a symbol of a good horse. One of the people I know got a horse for $50.00 at auction 10 plus years ago and she is and always has been a doll.
I look forward to more replies on this thread.
Good Luck!

He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.
~Author Unknown~
Dusty1228 is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 02-16-2011, 01:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Posts: 22,258
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I think that if you really want to do it and you get permission from your parents, then you should (if you want to). Before buying from an auction, make sure that you know how to spot a horse that has been drugged or take someone with you who can. There are no PPEs at auctions. You will also need to have a very keen eye for conformation and even tiny hints of lameness. Also, keep a level head about the horses you see. If you see one that you really don't think you would get along with, don't buy it just because it's going to the kill buyer. If you go home with a horse you aren't happy with then it will all be wasted.

There is a member here who bought a very nice Appy mare at an auction last fall. She was very broke and, if I remember correctly, very cheap. I have never bought from an auction because there are none very close to me but there are tons of people who find nice horses at them. You just have to know how to weed out the culls and drugged ones.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-16-2011, 03:10 PM
Join Date: May 2010
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I've gotten some good horses, and some bad ones at auction. I mostly go there for goats, so I haven't bought many.

Out of the five we've gotten, two had to be euthanized (turned up with coggins), one was rehomed (too much work for us at the time), and we still have the other two.

If you get a horse there, quarantine it for at least three weeks, and make sure you don't let it in your herd until you get a clean coggins. Stay away from horses that don't seem alert, have "crazy" or "dull" eyes, are hanging their heads low for extended periods of time, etc. These are all signs of drugged horses.

Ideally, you'll want one that is active, but not freaked out. A slightly scared horse is understandable, as is a truly frightened one - but the latter ones will probably be harder to handle over all.

Get there at least two hours before the horse auction starts. At many auctions, the horses will be coming in then, so you can see how their owners handle them, how they act, etc. If a horse "disappears" for a long time, and then returns calmer than they were before, they were probably drugged.

If the horse's owners are still there (a lot of times, they are), find them and talk to them. Ask them why the horse is going up for sale, what training it has, etc. Some of these people are honest, others aren't, and they usually tell you more than the auctioneer. A good example of this, was when I went to an auction for goats; I saw a beautiful, young boer nanny come through, who would of been a great addition to my herd. However her owner was there, too, and got to talking to me. She had kidded twice, and both times her kids had been deformed; this year, she hadn't even taken.

When she went through the auction, she was sold not only as breedable, but as bred.

If you can't find the owners, talk to one of the regulars at the auction - who might be a kill buyer. A lot of the kill buyers I've met were actually not bad people; some of them would even sell animals they had already bought for the amount they paid, if they thought it was "salvagable". We were actually friends with a kill buyer, who would help us pick out the sick/lame ones, as well as drugged ones, and would tell us the stories of the horses who had been dropped off already. He saved a few that way, and prevented some "crazies" from being bought.

Stay away from horses with obvious lameness, and from horses who have green-ish discharge from the nose or lumps under their throat. The latter is a sign of strangles.

Remember, some of these horses have problems that can't be fixed, and others may have secret problems that'll cost you thousands. Don't buy a horse if you don't like it or if it is visibly ill/injured. Before you bid, give each horse its own "price", and don't go over it.

For your first auction horse, pick an adult horse with few problems (a hoof trim, an open gash or thinness should be the worst he has), that is already gelded (if male). This will help you avoid bills the first time around.
Broski1984 is offline  

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