If you’ve ever wondered if getting training for your horse is worth it, spending the day at The Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington is a showcase of just how much “broke” is worth in the market today. A well-trained, useful horse will always be wanted.
The sale, in its 20th year, prides itself in offering well-broke horses. There were about 80 horses and ponies of all breeds to choose from at this year’s sale, which took place April 8-10, 2021. More than a few horses saw prices well over $20,000, but it was a tobiano Gypsy Vanner-cross mare named Tequila and consigned by Buckeye Farms who inspired the highest bids. After plenty of back and forth between a couple of bidders participating by phone, she was sold for $72,000 to Alicia Stearman of California.
Stearman said in a Facebook post that she plans to use Tequila for “vaulting and circus camps for kids, Roman riding with another Buckeye Gypsy I bought back in December. We will be performing with kids with her.”
The second-highest seller of the sale was also a Gypsy Vanner. RGR Shameless Adonis, consigned by Triple R Stables, brought $52,000 when the bidding was done on the stout 6-year-old black gelding.
For the past couple years, Gypsy Vanners have been popular at the sale. The 2019 top-seller was a Gypsy Vanner named Congress Hill Moves Like Jagger. He sold for $45,000 that year. In 2018, the black Gypsy Vanner gelding GG Jonah was the top-seller at $40,000.
In 2020, the annual sale was canceled due to the pandemic. This year they returned with the traditional bidding by those in attendance, and by phone and added the ability to bid online as well where a live stream of the sale was available. Several horses were purchased through that online option.
While getting a chance to buy a great trail horse is at the center of the weekend, there’s more to the Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale then just an auction. Before the bidding ever begins, many of the horses take part in competitions reserved only for sale horses. The ranch horse competition involves performing a ranch horse pattern and cow work. This year’s winner, who took home a trophy saddle, buckle, and a $1,000 check, was Magnum Affair, a 6-year-old AQHA sorrel gelding. He later sold for $32,000.
The ranch reserve horse was RR Instant Feona. The 2015 quarter horse mare would sell for $17,000.
The trail horse competition begins Friday night before the sale with a preliminary run and is followed by a 10-horse finals on Saturday morning before the sale. It offers a unique opportunity to see the sale horses perform over unfamiliar obstacles that include large and small logs, a bridge, ground-tying while the rider uses an outhouse, a campsite complete with campfire, and loading into a horse trailer. This year the $2,000 win went to KM Best One Zipper, ridden by John Roberts. The 2014 sorrel quarter horse gelding would later sell for $27,000.
The trail horse reserve winner was the eventual high-seller, Tequila.
A special session for ponies started the sale, bringing from about $3,000 to up to $7,000. The first pony to ever qualify for the trail horse competition finals, a black and white leopard Appaloosa pony named Pongo, sold for $6,200.
While many of the horses in the first half of the sale were sold for $20,000 and up, don’t allow that to scare you off. There were plenty of horses, especially toward the last third of the sale, that tended to stay in the five figures.
- $72,000 Lot No. 39: Tequila, 2016 Gypsy-cross mare
- $52,000 Lot No. 42: RGR Shameless Adonis, 2015 Gypsy Vanner gelding
- $40,000 Lot No. 22: SDR Comanches Echo, 2011 ApHC gelding, PHOTO
- $32,000 Lot No. 31: Magnum Affair, 2015 Sorrel AQHA gelding
- $31,000 Lot No. 28: Ciscos Last Cutter, 2016 AQHA Buckskin gelding
- $30,000 Lot No. 12: Starlight Mobster, 2016 AQHA Palomino gelding WATCH
- $30,000 Lot No. 20: Awesome Dry Texas, 2014 AQHA Palomino gelding
- $30,000 Lot No. 45: Banjo, 2017 grade quarter horse cross
- $29,000 Lot No. 21: Make Mine A Kiss, 2017 sorrel AQHA gelding
- $29,000 Lot No. 41: Hez A Smart Tank, 2014 gray AQHA gelding, WATCH
- $28,000 Lot No. 14: Playin in the Creek, 2011 sorrel AQHA mare
- $27,000 Lot. No. 18: KM Best One Zippin, 2014 sorrel AQHA gelding WATCH
- $27,000 Lot No. 49: Woodrow, 2011 sorrel Overo grade gelding, WATCH
- $26,000 Lot No. 34: Chiefs Dashing Sabre, 2015 AQHA Buckskin gelding
- $25,000 Lot No. 32: Mr. Illuminator Chex, 2017 grey AQHA gelding
- $25,000 Lot No. 38: Plenty Blu Chukar Ma, 2015 Blue Roan AQHA gelding
See more photos, videos, and results at the Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale’s Facebook page.