Auctions are filled with excitement! The auctioneer rumbles over the speaker, hands go flying up, and horses come parading out. Some are breed sales, while others focus on specific disciplines. And I’m sure you’ve heard of the sadder side of things… Whether you’re looking for a top show horse or hope to rescue your next best friend, you should know the basics!

Top Tips for Buying at an Auction

1. Arrive early: Some auctions even have previews the day before. Use this time to study the horse up close and personal. You may be able to handle the horse or even watch the owner ride them. You’ll want to check for soundness issues, conformational faults, and temperament. If you get the chance, talk to the owner and ask about the horse’s background.

2. Know your budget: I promise you, it’s so easy to raise that hand one more time! A few hundred turns into thousands very quickly. Your best bet is to come to the auction with a set budget. You should know how much you have to spend and stick to it. You’ll also have the chance to scope out the horses ahead of time. Write down you maximum for each one.

3. Bring a trainer: No matter how much you’re spending, it’s a good idea to bring your trainer. An extra set of eyes on the horse is extremely nice to have. They may notice things you overlooked.

4. Don’t wait to bid: You’ll want the ringman to know that you’re interested in the horse in the beginning. That way they can watch for your bids. However, you can wait for bidding to slow down before getting serious. Furthermore, don’t make a big deal with your bidding. It’s better to keep things on the down low. There’s no need for everyone to know you’re bidding- just the ringman and auctioneer.

5. All sales are final: Horses can act different in various environment. It can be hard to know if the horse has vices or training issues. You must be prepared for whatever is thrown your way. And remember… if you win the bid, then the horse is yours. Most of the time all sales are final. Some owners may give a guarantee or trial, but that’s rare.

Auctions can be incredibly risky, but they also present the opportunity to view many horses in one place. The initial purchase of the horse can also be cheaper at an auction. Before you buy at one, it’s a good idea to attend a few and get use to the environment.

Make sure to check out ‘5 Ways To Set Goals For You & Your Horse‘.