Palomino quarter horse gelding tops Great American Ranch & Trail Horse Sale at $77K

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.

Hip No. 50, Heza Triple Peponita, during the trail competition. He was the sale high-seller at $77,000.

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.

Tigers Sweet Gentry won the $2,000 Trail Horse Competition.

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.

Play Berry receives his prizes for the Ranch Horse competition win.

Trail Horse Top 5

  1. Hip No. 76, Tigers Sweet Gentry, 2017 North American Spotted Haflinger, sold for $40,000
  2. Hip No. 25, TRS Loud Sensation, 2010 APHA gelding, sold for $25,000
  3. Hip No. 33, Southern Living, 2017 AQHA gelding, sold for $32,500
  4. Hip No. 55, Ima Yella Skippa Kid, 2018 AQHA gelding, sold for $17,000
  5. Hip No. 40, Wranglin in Rio, 2016 AQHA gelding, (no sale)

Sale high-sellers

  1. Heza Triple Peponita, #50, (AQHA) $77,000
  2. RW Shotgun Blue, #23, (AQHA) $45,000
  3. (tie) Ollie, #35, (grade) $40,000
  4. (tie) Rio Angelical 77, #36 (AQHA), $40,000
  5. (tie) Tigers Sweet Gentry, #76, (Spotted Haflinger), $40,000
  6. St James of Glen Grace, #18, (Gypsy Vanner), $38,000
  7. Buckeyes Joe, #27, (Gypsy Vanner), $37,000
  8. EQHR Blue Fire Boots, #58, (AQHA) $34,000
  9. Southern Living, #33, (AQHA), $32,500
  10. Tyson, #3, (grade pony), $30,000

Gypsy Vanners again take top bids at Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale

Tequila, a Gypsy Vanner-cross mare, was the high-seller and reserve champion of the trail horse competition.
Photo by Rose Stinson Photography.

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.”

Watch video of Tequila’s sale.

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.

Watch video of RGR Shameless Adonis’ sale.

RGR Shameless Adonis. Photo by Rose Stinson Photography

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 $1,000 win went to KM Best One Zippen, 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.

Top sellers

  • $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.

Photos coming soon from The Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale

We’re sorting through the images now from The Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale held April 7-8, 2017, at the Virginia Horse Center. We will post them as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, follow Roanoke Equestrian and The Great American Trail Horse Sale on Facebook where we have posted a few of the images from the weekend with more to come.

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Market for well-broke horses remains strong at the Great American Trail Horse Competition and Sale

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The Great American Trail Horse Sale offered a variety of horses, from quarter horses and mules, to Friesian Sport Horses and Percheron crosses and ponies. There were horses with star-studded pedigrees, and ones with no pedigrees at all. Polka-dotted appaloosas and multiple shades of buckskin, dun, palomino and roan colored the choices. But for all their differences, what they did have in common is that they were broke, broke, broke. And because of their training, registration papers or not, several horses sold for more than $10,000.

Touched by Treasure sold for $16,000.

Some of the sale’s top sellers included:

  • Touched by Treasure, a 2006 AQHA gelding who was a grandson of Zips Chocolate Chip and Radical Rodder, sold for $16,000.
  • A 2008 APHA gelding, Firstrate Cutter Bug, sold for $13,000. He was also the winner of the obstacle challenge and it’s $1,000 grand prize.
  • A 2010 AQHA buckskin gelding, Sparetime Smokin Doc who had points in ARHA competition, sold for $15,000.
  • Bo, a 2008 Bay Roan pony gelding who would ride and drive sold for $15,000
  •  JK Pat, an AQHA gelding, sold for $14,200.
  • Buckeye’s Dream, a 2012 buckskin Percheron/QH cross who rides and drives sold for $12,600.

Torned Hearts, a 2002 grey mare, sold for $9,500. She has been shown English, Western, over fences and in games.

The sale was filled with sellers trying to demonstrate just how broke their horses were. Some had the help of children to ride their horses around the arena. Some stood up in the saddle. Others got the horses to lie down while cracking bullwhips around their heads. At this sale, being broke was much more impressive to the crowd than having good breeding.

Bidding for this 2011 AQHA buckskin gelding, High Brow’s Ace, reached $17,000 but it was not enough. He was also the Reserve Champion of the obstacle challenge competition.

While the sale captured good prices for many horses, there were also a large number that didn’t sell. One buckskin gelding reached a bid of more than $17,000 but the owner said they were no where close to what the horse was worth and shook their head for a “no sale.” Every mule except one that went through the sale didn’t reach the reserve set by the owner. The one that did sell went for $3,700.

This AQHA Cremello mare sold for $2,400.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t deals to be had. A sweet, quiet Cremello AQHA mare sold for $2,400. And a really nicely made Mustang mare who had placed fifth in a Mustang Makeover event, sold for $1,900.

Despite it being a trail horse sale, and the popularity of gaited horses among trail riders, there were only a few gaited horses in the sale and they didn’t sell for as high a price as the ranch-type horses. A little chestnut Rocky Mountain Horse sold for $700, and a “Single Footing Horse” sold for $2,800. A bay Kentucky Mountain Horse who was the crowd favorite in the rack-off the night before sold for $5,200.

If the Great American Trail Horse Sale shows horse owners anything, it should be that investment in training and giving your horse a job is worth it. Broke horses are needed and wanted.


An Appy mule sold for $3,700.

FQHR Poco Cackles Bar, a 2012 AQHA mare, sold for $12,000.

This mule did not sell after bidding reached $3,400. The owner was looking for $5,000.

Bidding for this leopard Appaloosa did not meet the reserve of $6,500.

A bullwhip is cracked next to quarter horse JK Pat, a 2010 Grulla gelding, as bidding continues. The 6-year-old sold for $14,200.

A roan pony lies on the ground while a horse was sidepassed over him and a bullwhip cracked over his body.

Bolena San, a 2002 palomino quarter horse gelding who was built like a tank, was seeking a bid of $4,000 but did not reach it.

This palomino did not meet the reserve.

This mule did not meet the reserve.

This Friesian Sport Horse sold for $9,700.

A pinto pony lies down on command. He sold for $6,000.

Children ride a pinto pony who sold for $6,000.

A 1999 Connemara/TB Cross mare sold for $2,300.

A pinto gelding sold for $1,950.

A palomino

A greyhound sleeps through the bidding.

A young new owner gets a hug after having her photo taken with her new horse.