With nearly 100 horses parading through the sales pen at the 2022 Great American Ranch & Trail Horse Sale, it would be hard to not find something you like. From 12-hand ponies to 17-hand Friesians, ranch-bred and trained quarter horses to loudly colored paints with impressive show records to draft crosses with miles of trails behind them, their resumes varied nearly as much as the medley of colors they came in.
And as much as we all know that color doesn’t make a good horse, we also know that buyers can’t resist a flashy horse. Make it a blue roan or a palomino and that’s the true icing on the cake.
For the past two years, the feathered feet of Gypsy Vanners stole the show. But this year, it was a palomino quarter horse named “Newt” that drew the highest bid. Heza Triple Peponita, a 2017 AQHA gelding consigned by Triple R Stables in Ohio, sold for $77,000. The winning bid came over the Internet, where the sale is live-streamed. Watch a video from the bidding.
The Great American Ranch & Trail Horse Sale is unique. It gives sellers a chance to show off their horses (or potentially broadcast any shortcomings in the horse’s training). Sale horses compete for cash and prizes. But potential buyers are winners, too, as they get the chance to watch the horses face unfamiliar obstacles in an unfamiliar, noisy environment.
At this year’s sale, many of the sale horses competed in either the trail horse competition, the ranch horse competition, or both — betting their horse’s training will shine through even in the difficult environment of an indoor coliseum.
Trail course obstacles include stepping over logs, crossing a bridge, weaving through tree branches, passing a campfire, ground tying while their rider disappears into an outhouse, and loading onto a trailer.
Ten finalists then return the next morning for a harder version of the course and perform a freestyle routine that shows off the horse’s unique abilities.
While the top-seller placed seventh, it was a North American Spotted Haflinger, Tigers Sweet Gentry, who quietly plodded through the course and with guns blazing in the finals came away with the championship. He later sold for $40,000. Reserve champion was Hip No. 25, TRS Loud Sensation, who sold for $25,000.
The ranch horse competition is held on Friday afternoon and includes completing a ranch horse pattern with stops, spins, and lead changes as well as boxing and penning a calf, before attempting to rope the calf.
This year, a flashy sorrel named Play Berry took home top honors. He later sold for $30,000.
Trail Horse Top 5
- Hip No. 76, Tigers Sweet Gentry, 2017 North American Spotted Haflinger, sold for $40,000
- Hip No. 25, TRS Loud Sensation, 2010 APHA gelding, sold for $25,000
- Hip No. 33, Southern Living, 2017 AQHA gelding, sold for $32,500
- Hip No. 55, Ima Yella Skippa Kid, 2018 AQHA gelding, sold for $17,000
- Hip No. 40, Wranglin in Rio, 2016 AQHA gelding, (no sale)
- Heza Triple Peponita, #50, (AQHA) $77,000
- RW Shotgun Blue, #23, (AQHA) $45,000
- (tie) Ollie, #35, (grade) $40,000
- (tie) Rio Angelical 77, #36 (AQHA), $40,000
- (tie) Tigers Sweet Gentry, #76, (Spotted Haflinger), $40,000
- St James of Glen Grace, #18, (Gypsy Vanner), $38,000
- Buckeyes Joe, #27, (Gypsy Vanner), $37,000
- EQHR Blue Fire Boots, #58, (AQHA) $34,000
- Southern Living, #33, (AQHA), $32,500
- Tyson, #3, (grade pony), $30,000