Phillip Pierceall, of Swing City Auction Co. LLC, McKinney, Texas, grew up in the livestock and horse industry and “just kind of fell into” the horse auction business while announcing horse shows, which he still does on occasion.
He travels to places like Florida, California and Texas, auctioning registered livestock and sport horses, especially English-bred hunters, jumpers and dressage horses.
Swing City Auction Co. conducts horse auctions about twice a year, but Pierceall also contracts his services to other companies and typically conducts up to a dozen a year, averaging 40 horses per show.
Thoroughbred horses can bring in anywhere from $10,000 to millions of dollars. The typical horse that Pierceall auctions goes for $20,000 to $50,000, depending on its bloodline, the amount of money its parents won, and whether it’s a colt or a philly.
Harley Troyer, of Harley D. Troyer Auctioneers Inc., Fort Lupton, Colo., says his Amish background and work with draft horses led to his interest in horse auctions.
He started the Colorado Draft Horse & Equipment Auction in 1989 and now conducts three two-day auctions a year — April, July and October.
He has four rings, which he rents for a week, at the local fairgrounds. Up to 45 people work the show, including his three Auctioneer sons and a son-in-law.
The draft horses he auctions, like Clydesdales, percherons, shires and Belgians, typically sell for $3,000 to $10,000. He often sells them in teams, and he also sells saddle horses and horse-drawn equipment.
Spanky Assiter, CAI, AARE, of Assiter Auctioneers, Canyon, Texas, was raised on a farm around workhorses and horses that he rode for pleasure. He had some knowledge of rodeo horses and quarter horses, but he knew little about thoroughbreds until he began selling them 11 years ago. He has been out of that field for about year.
The first thing potential buyers consider is the bloodline, he says.
Then they study the “confirmation” or physical attributes, including the shape and condition of the horses’ legs, muscles and other factors, just like one might evaluate a human athlete.
Then they “vet” and “scope” the horse, looking at X-rays and checking its throat.