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Anonymous asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

What to look for when buying auction horse...?


I'v been planning on going to a local auction house were they sell horses, most are poorly bred ranch horses with little to no training, but there are the odd nice ones. Most of the horses get sold to 'meat' buyers for under $500.

Anyways, I want to pick up a younger horse that has good conformation (no crooked legs or eyes missing) but that has had a crapy life and some kind if issues (like doesnt trust humans, bucking/bolting under saddle problem, abused, ect). Now, I'm doing this because I really want to find that horse that kinda stands out (even if its covered in mud) and fix it up. I know I am ready to handle this kind of horse because I have fixed horses with these kinds of problems before and I understand horses very well.

But, im not going to pick out the first 'nag' I see, I want to find the perfect one.

ANYWAYS. Now to my question, what should I look at when picking out a horse. I mean by conformation. I know what I'm doing, but I want to make sure I get a good look at everything so I dont get any surprises later on.

So, I'd look at legs, knees, back/shoulder/hip, neck, head/jaw, hooves, downhill or uphill, if I can teeth.... Anything els and any tips?


P.S. Don't go telling me how I can just save my life and buya nice trained horse that will win me every thing. I want a horse I can fix and make a strong bond with, Im not the type of rider that just wants to sit there and let the horse win. I work for my things. Besides, I already have a nice riding mare that I trained myself and fixed up and now we compete in 3-day eventing and jumping and do well.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    it's really awesome that you're wanting to do this and it sounds like you've done a lot of thinking about it, which is also good.

    i recommend getting to the auction house early and wandering the pens. take a pen and paper with you and look over all the horses. you probably already know the type you're looking for, so when one catches your eye, check it out as best you can and if you still like it, write its number down and make notes. obviously you want to look at overall conformation, but you also want to check it over and look for things like pinfiring on the front legs or old scars that may indicate severe injury. look for knots and lumps that shouldn't be there. when the horses run through, watch the way they move (though it can be *really* hard to judge gait in the tiny little area they have to work with). if the horse is acting differently when they run it through than it did in the pen (especially if it's calmer), you might pass since it's possible the horse was drugged or buted or something. if you're lucky enough to get a horse with papers, make sure the papers you receive match the horse.

    in the end, though, no matter how careful you are, it's just a gamble and you never really know what you're going to get.

  • 1 decade ago

    I won't tell you to buy a trained horse, I think you're doing an admirable thing. I will however, say that I think you take along an experienced friend with you --and I say that for a few reasons. First of all, auctions can be pretty down places, it's always nice to have a friend there for moral support and to help you avoid the 'oh, look at the all the pretty ponies that need to be saved' phase you're sure to go through. Although you're set on not bidding on the first 'nag' to walk out, you'd be surprised how quickly you can connect to a poor soul that may not fit your aspirations or goals in any way, shape or form, but has simply attached to your heart --this friend can keep you grounded and remind you of what you're looking for. Once you are able to find a suitable horse (and good luck with that, btw), it's always nice to have a second opinion. Auctions can be hectic, fast-paced and stressful places, and it's easy (even for the experienced) to overlook something --a second set of eyes is always welcome.

    Best of luck...

  • 1 decade ago

    No, I will not tell you to buy a trained horse, but I would do all the things you suggested(Look at the shoulders, eyes for whites, legs, for limps) And you know how there can be things that the person leading the horse will try to let you not see(this can happen sometimes) and I think you know what to do so I will not go into detail. You seem like the type of person who will go for something and not give up until thy get it. I hope this helped because I never actually been to an auction so this is what I would do.

    -Fellow horse lover :P

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Well, don't get a drugged one! A lot of sellers drug horses to hide lameness or other issues. Here's how to tell if a horse is drugged. A horse may exhibit one, all, or none of these signs, but these are some common signs of a drugged horse:

    -droopy eyelids

    -droopy lower lip, drooling

    -ears floppy, even when there's a loud noise

    -disinterested in surroundings

    -for a gelding, penis does not retract into sheath

    -if you move the horse's tail, it doesn't resist and the tail just flops around (careful not to get kicked!)

    For conformation, you seem to have the right idea, and as long as you know how to evaluate those things you'll be fine. One other thing though, look at the pastern angles. You see a lot of halter-bred horses with upright pasterns that will wind up with navicular later in life. Also judge the movement of the horse at the trot.

    Make sure you bring at least one other person with you, grain, lunge whips, a lunge line, and the biggest trailer you can get your hands on- preferably a stock trailer, not a horse trailer. A lot of these horses have never been on a trailer before and you might need to train it how to load into the trailer in the parking lot. DO NOT let anyone else at the auction house offer you "help" with loading. A lot of them will try to offer "help" which is basically just them beating the horse into the trailer. I would not tie the horse in the trailer, just leave it loose... make sure it's in a leather halter so if it gets caught on anything it can escape. You may want to bring sedatives with you for the ride home if you wind up buying a real project... better to sedate the horse than to risk it flipping out and hurting itself in the trailer. There will be plenty of time to trailer train it later, now is the time to get it home safe without traumatizing it. I would recommend ace, because many horses have trouble remembering things after ace and this is the kind of experience it might be best to forget.

    I was once at an auction where people bought a horse who'd never been in a trailer before. They were trying to take it home in a small 2-horse trailer. The horse flipped out while in the trailer, managed to scoot his back under the butt bar, and somehow got himself wedged sideways in the trailer. Very scary, but fortunately they were able to use the jaws of life and cut him out of the trailer. He was basically OK, just some bruising and a few deep scratches (no permanent damage), but he could've broken his back the way he was wedged.

    Be careful around the horses, half of them kick and the other half are so scared they'll kick out of fright.

    When you get it home, quarantine it for 2 weeks. It can't touch your other horses or share buckets, brushes, saddles, anything. Most horses do wind up getting sick at the auction even if they weren't sick when they went in, just because so many horses come through. Don't rule a horse out for a minor thing like rain rot, thrush, a runny nose, etc- that can almost always be fixed and often it's not the horse's fault, it's due to bad management.

    Take your finger and firmly poke all over the horse's back. If it pins its ears or acts like it's in pain, don't buy that horse, it means that it has back pain and there's something wrong with it.

    Things I'd rule a horse out for: kicking at another horse/person, being drugged (don't care why, don't take a risk!), upright pasterns, over/back at the knee, scars on legs, bad shoulder (this is a big one- it'll make the horse uncomfortable to ride and not a suitable show prospect), lame.

    One other thing- I'd bring someone who's been to an auction before and understands what the auctioneer is saying! Auctions are very fast paced and you may wind up missing your horse if you aren't sure what he's saying. Also, make sure not to point at any horses while the bidding is going on (and if you do, do it subtly) because the auctioneer might misinterpret that as a bid.

    Source(s): Been to way too many auctions...
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  • 1 decade ago

    Talk to the owner of the horse your looking at if they are by the pens...have them trot the horse in both directions...follow the horse to where they saddle them if its broke and watch what happens and how they handle when they bring them in. Spend some time with the ones your looking at prior too, they could be drugged and you end up with a monster when you bring them home. I have personally seen this happen.

    Have you thought about adopting from a rescue, some of the horses come from auction and they need someone to take them on and bring them around.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    It is a disgrace you're too a ways away type Northern Californian. We have first rate Horse rescue institution that presents first-rate animals for adoption at low cost expenses. The Just introduced in a lovely Oldenburg. There are many first-rate Horse Rescue institution around the nation

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