When You Buy from a Horse Auction
I’ve shared some stories about Star with you already but one I never told was how we acquired Star and the things we discovered after we bought her.
It was my first time ever going to a horse auction. I remember wandering around looking at all the horses and watching as they brought each of them into the ring one by one. Some were calm, some seemed scared and others didn’t seem to care one way or another. We had preselected a horse that my dad was going to bid on; she was a Welsh Quarter horse cross, about 12-1/2 hands high, sorrel in color with a white star on her forehead. We sat and watched the horses come in and out of the ring waiting for Star’s turn. I wasn’t really old enough to understand the process of how an auction worked but what I do remember was Star entering the ring, my dad saying well, she’s yours and how exciting that felt.
When you buy a horse at an auction however you never really know exactly what you’re getting and Star was no exception to this rule. We had a few moments of discovery with my new little pony. After we got her home and had given her a few days to settle in, it was time for me to take her for our first ride. We saddled her up, I got on and gave her a squeeze with my legs……nothing. I gave her a kick, nothing. I tried tapping her on the butt…..nothing. Her feet were planted. I got off and my dad got on, he tried the same things only with a bit more assertion than me……..and that’s when things went sideways. Star reared up and flipped over backwards. She landed on my dad’s leg and he in turn ended up on crutches. I think she was the only horse who ever sent my dad to the hospital and that incident seem to set the love hate relationship they shared though out the rest of time together.
Star was definitely one of those horses you couldn’t force into doing things. If she trusted you though and you praised her for doing the right things, she’d go to the moon and back for you. Later on we learnt Star had been used in a string of horses for trail riding. Her job had always been to follow the horse in front of her and not to step out of line regardless of the behavior of the rider. Once we learnt this, we were able to work with her and it didn’t take long before she was leading the pack on the trails! This was only one “auction” surprise though; the other we didn’t discover for several months. But that’s a story I’ll share with you in my next newsletter.