There is a common misconception that because a horse goes to an auction, it is automatically destined for slaughter. I have friends who frequent these auctions and some come home with nice horses. There is often a lot of horse trading going on before the horses even get to the auction ring. The brokers are there who often pick up the unsold, if there's not a reserve on it, and derelicts. The broker usually takes his horses home and will try to get a little weight on them before taking to slaughter. I've known brokers to sell horses to an interested party as long as he makes a profit and most would prefer to see the horses get new owner.