As the weather warms and the sun starts to feel just a bit warmer, daydreams shift to the promise of another great season of trail riding and hours spent on a favorite horse climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains or cantering along a river at James River State Park.
Last weekend (April 13-14, 2018) in Virginia, both fabulous weather and plans for great trail rides converged at the Virginia Horse Center for the Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale as 120 horses, hundreds of buyers and even more spectators gathered for another sale.
Unique to this sale are the competitions open only to consigned horses. The ranch horses go first on Friday afternoon in a class the requires them to perform an AQHA ranch horse pattern and then box and rope a cow. On Friday evening, another class of horses tackles a trail course that features obstacles such as logs, a bridge, brush, a campsite complete with campfire and a bear, an outhouse in which they must ground tie outside while the rider steps inside and a horse trailer that the horse hops inside. It also often includes a few surprises like a live animal. This year it included a goat along the trail. Horses may only enter one of the competitions.
After the Top 10 performers from Friday night came back for the Trail Horse finals on Saturday morning, Steve Meadows of Virginia and Ima Sweet Machine (Hip No. 10) took home the top prize in an especially strong group of finalists. Meadows’ 2008 black gelding then later sold in the sale for $30,000. The Reserve in the trail class went to John Roberts riding Marion G. Valerio’s AQHA gelding Get Your Shine On. He later sold for $11,700.
The ranch horse competition is in just its second year at the sale. The class showcases the working ranch horses and their ability to work cattle. In his first year consigning horses to the sale, Tanner Keith of Virginia had three of the Top 5 horses. Winning the class was Keith’s Hy Rem Cowboy, Hip No. 68. Later in the sale his price did not reach the reserve. Reserve champion was Keith’s RobPaulPayPeter, Hip No. 111. He later sold for $6,600.
While many years a champion for the competitions is also the high seller, this year it was pure beauty that took the sale by storm. Hip No. 45, GG Jonah, a gorgeous 2008 black Gypsy Vanner gelding consigned by Buckeye Acre Farm of Ohio stirred hearts all across the country before the sale. And it was a series of phone bids that sent his sale price to $40,000, topping this year’s sale. A video of the bidding can be found here.
Horses really are available at all budgets. Some prices came in at less than $2,000, many ranged between $3,000 – $8,000, and then top sellers brought more than $10,000. Some of 2018’s top sellers included:
- Roan Hancock Gin (Hip No. 15), 2012 AQHA gelding, $33,000
- A Pleasure Bar Time (Hip No. 116), 2008 APHA sorrel overo gelding, $31,000
- FQHR Buddy Blue (Hip No. 49) 2011 AQHA blue roan gelding, $24,000
- Dun Dun It Again (Hip No. 51) 2007 AQHA Buckskin gelding, $20,000
- BJs Perty Charlie (Hip No. 31), 2008 AQHA grullo gelding, $19,500
- Buckeye’s Breeze (Hip No. 60), 2013 Gypsy/QH cross gelding, $19,500
- Buckeye’s Phantom (Hip No. 23), 2010 Andalusion/AQHA cross gelding, $18,500
- The Principle Chip (Hip No. 87), 2004 ApHC Brown gelding, $16,000
- Just Driftin Roan, (Hip No. 25), 2014 Bay Roan AQHA gelding, $14,000
- You Can Call Me Darlin (Hip No. 21), 2011 Molly Mule, $12,500
- FQHR Cortez (Hip No. 33) 2012 AQHA Dun gelding, $12,000
Live videos and photos from the sale are also available for viewing on the sale’s Facebook page. Watch the slideshow below for more photos from around the sale.