Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: The truth at a horse sale | TSLN.com

Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: The truth at a horse sale

I have never been to a horse sale where only bad horses were sold. The trick is to find a good horse that you can afford. At the Fort Fetterman Remount sale in Douglas, Wyo., they had a good selection. There was everything from a mare with a colt at her side to an experienced roping horse offered. The colt bucked around and was pretty cute but I managed to resist bidding on it.

How people intentionally market their horses seems to be fairly predictable. The pedigree of the horse is announced which is rarely very interesting to me. Then they ride the horse into the ring making turns and loping the horse around in circles. Motion is always preferred over making the horse stand still. The sellers often include a child in their sales routine. While the kids can make a horse look good, I never trust a kid in a horse sale. Either the kid is the next Casey Tibbs and can ride anything with hair or they are just following parental orders and don't realize that they are sitting on trouble. Even worse are the mothers that hand an infant up to Dad in the saddle. Such stunts are not proof that the horse is gentle or that the seller has good judgment.

The unintentional marketing methods are much more interesting. Before the sale, one large woman wanted to try a horse. She made several unsuccessful attempts at getting on until they moved the horse over by the bleachers and she crawled aboard. The horse didn't even grunt or shy while this difficult maneuver took place. It certainly increased my interest in making a bid. The horse brought seven thousand dollars in the sale. Looks to me like its time to let the kids go back to sixth grade and be replaced with an unfit acrobatic woman to enhance the price.

I have bought the wrong horse more than once. Horses all have their peculiarities and no one knows what they might do. It would be fun to hear the real story behind a horse announced at a sale. Even then I probably would not belive it. The usual sales pitch mentions things like the horse has dragged calves to the fire at a branding. Whether the calf and the rider both survived is never mentioned. I want to know that the horse has been ridden outside of an arena and has good withers but that information is rarely available. Truth in advertising will never make it in politics or horse sales.

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