Think about this...
I know your a non-horse owner and a soon-to-be first time horse owner... but...
Would you ever sell one of your horses at an auction? I wouldn't. And, more importantly, I don't think I'd want to buy a horse from someone who would sell one at an auction. They might be desperate to unload the horse, but auctions mean your horse has a good chance of going to a kill buyer. I've given horses away and had horses given to me by loving people because its a far better home than a few hundred an auction would bring.
Its just my personal belief and feeling that the only horse I'd pick up at an auction is an extremely young one, as in foal or weanling, and then I'd have a vet there to check them over before final bids etc. And then it would also depend on the auction, the auction reputation, and circumstance. I don't count BLM in this opinion ever. The BLM auctions off some amazing horses. Pick a color, body type, size, or trait and the BLM has a herd somewhere that's going to suit your needs. Just talk to one of the BLM guys. And your auction price is going to probably be under a grand closer to a couple hundred. But again, your talking young horse or project horse that's going to need extra security and a whole lot of work. My personal favorite herd is Stinking Water so I watch their auctions and drool. https://www.blm.gov/adoptahorse/onsi...rseCategory=86
Sorry, I digress. But when you talk auctions I get distracted and think BLM because some of my best trail buddies have been on mustangs and swear by them. But you can't do that for your first horse and you don't want a baby. You want a well broke well mannered older horse that's been there and done that and will love the attention a one-horse owner and first time owner will give them.
Just don't get your first horse from an auction.
This is what you need to do. Promise you'll give it a try. Call some local breeders in the area, tell them what you want and your price range, and let them know what kind of a home you'll be for a horse. If you have to board, go talk to a boarding facility and get a stall all ready etc so you can start looking. Visit local barns and boarding places, talk to the people, and put the word out on the horse streets about what you need. It's firmly my belief that what you need will come to you as a new horse owner if you don't fall in love with the first horse you see and really make a firm list of what you want and what you need. Stick to the list. Don't really think color, breed, etc. Be open. Someone somewhere out there has a 12-16 year old horse that needs a good home and they'll be willing to give you a good price so long as you promise to love their friend and give them first option of sell back if the situation arises where you can't keep your horse.
A lot of free horses exist out there too, some perfectly wonderful.
I got my first drafty, which started my draft love affair, from a bestie who tricked me into thinking she was giving me a pony (on a ten day trial) that she took in on trade for my niece to ride - just knowing if if I gave the mare a shot I'd fall in love and I did.
Auctions... anyhow... no way! Know what your getting the first time around. Save the surprises for later when you know more and some older wiser horse has taught you the basics. :)