If you ARE willing to pay some amount of shipping cost, maybe cast that CL search net a little further from home, and do the same with the sites like dreamhorse, horseclicks, or equinehits, and just figure in how much you can afford for transport and take that from the amount you can spend. You might also check with rescues in your state. I don't know where you are, but our main rescue in NC had 4 or 5 arabs needing homes last time I looked. Yes, they are super-picky about who they will adopt to, but it's worth a look. Good luck
I have been looking at out of state craigslist and other equine sites. Nothing is matching price/age/preferred breed. Maybe Im just too picky. But I dont want to drive 9 hours to look at a horse only to go "oops. the person lied to me!" Nor do I want to buy one sight unseen.
There's a few issues with this.
1) Transport - you have to pay for the horse the day of the auction and have it out of there by that night. That means you will have to have a transport set up for that day. Unless you have a family friend or unless you are transporting yourself, you need to get one set up NOW. Most transports prefer to have a minimum of 4 weeks notice so they can plan their runs. Also, from Indiana to AZ you are looking at probably no less than $1000 and that's IF you can find someone to do a consolidated run with.
2) At Shipshewana there are 2 kinds of auctions. There are "loose pen" auctions which are the kill pen auctions from what I seen. Arabs don't end up there unless there are serious issues. The ones I seen at the last auction were either downright MEAN, injured, dying or close to it. The other ones are the ones that are run through the pens individually. The kill buyers typically don't bid on these unless they are going dirt cheap. Anything you see ran through the ring most likely will not end up at slaughter, at least not at this auction house. I'm not saying that some won't, it just really didn't seem to be the norm the last time I was there.
Yes, I am being a skeptic because for what you are wanting to spend, you are far better off buying locally. I don't want you to have your heart set on a Shipse horse because you also have to think... you want a well broke horse. You can't try these horses out. You can't have a vet come do a vet check before you purchase. It's something you need to think about. Especially the cost. Yes, you might get the horse for $200-$300 but add in the transport cost and you are well over what you want to spend.
I wish you the best of luck, I really do. I just want to make sure you are thinking everything through before coming to Shipse.
Amarea and tigerstripes: as much as a I appreciate your genuine condemnation and concern, I am weighing my options. Im not going to jump into this feet first: there's alot of necessary preparation and planning that need to be cemented before I can even consider buying something out of state, either at auction, rescue (which probably wont be happening because I dont think I have the "stand on your head and whistle dixie" criteria met like they so ademently require, or private seller.
1.) Transport is a HUGE deal and GIANT expense. But it's not impossible, nor too unreasonable. I've been getting quotes with a few companies, and have an ad up on uShip tentitively checking who has a trailer in that area headed headed out that weekend. So FAR someone who's in northern indiana and heading to california thanksgiving weekend has room, and offered to ship my horse for $950. Not bad at all for the mileage.
2.) Secondly, IF I find something I want, I need to have a holding area for it taht night before transport can pick it up. Im checking into boarding facilities or even someone who's willing to let me rent their pasture for the night. She'd only be there one night, two tops. Or if anyone on this forum would be willing ot keep her in their pasture for a day, i'd be willing ot pay :) My entire family lives in the midwest, and yes, some of them do have horse property. But the are over 100 miles away and it's a bigger pain to figure out a way to get her back to there. But worse case scenario, that's what I'll do.
3.) $350 horse + 1000 shipping + overnight holding= less than what alot of people are asking for horses out here. Not to mention it's different variety than the same few horses that just arent selling and keep popping up in classified ads over and over and over.
I have got lemons from an auction before, but that's before we knew how to spot a drugged one. I DEFINITELY wouldnt consider bidding on an auction horse without having someone more experienced and savvy with the particular auction checking it out with me first. So if anyone on this forum who's going to Shipshe wants to offer advice while Im there, it would be awesome.
Like I said, this is what I would like to do.
But as is reality in my life, it probably wont actually transpire into anything. If it does, I need ot planned out ahead of time.