Equestrian Auctions: Pros vs Cons of Buying Horses at Auction

March 2, 2017
buying horses at auction

The recent $1,550,000 record-breaking sale of Om EL Erodite at the Marquise Auction Arabian Horse Invitation at West World (Scottsdale, AZ) symbolized many of the finer aspects of equestrian auctions. As one of the most highly anticipated fillies on the planet, it showcased how equestrian auctions can be a great opportunity to purchase that next great champion. By the same token, it also offers a glimpse into the potential pitfalls. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of buying horses at auction.

Pros – Why Equestrian Auctions Work

As is the case with many luxury auctions, sellers know that a considerable amount of money, time and energy will be spent to maximize the buyer pool; much more than an individual can invest in a private transaction. The key is luxury; high-end auctions bring the best buyers and sellers together to establish the market.

To ensure a quality animal, many high-end equestrian auctions require documentation; X-Rays, medical exams, etc., that buyers can access prior to the auction. Prospective buyers are provided several opportunities to interact with the horse; it’s imperative that they are experienced in what to look for… or are accompanied by a professional during this process.

Upon identifying a prospective horse, buyers should set and follow an auction day purchase strategy. This includes identifying a price that they are comfortable with and sticking to it. Auctions, especially those with No-Reserve, provide an opportunity for the buyer to set the market and procure the horse at their number, while providing the seller assurances that the buyer pool will be ready to “pony up” for an opportunity to own their horse. This is an excellent way to bring buyers and sellers together in an environment that promotes an open and transparent transaction.

Cons – What to Watch Out For

To start, an auction is only as good as the auction company. Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable organization. Don’t just research prospective horses, do your due diligence on the company. Is it a reserve or no reserve auction? What are their policies for inspecting a horse beforehand? Do they have a 2-3 day return policy for horse purchases to ensure they are sound? These are all questions you need to know.

A horse’s health, especially when several are crowded in a small area, can be an issue to consider. Dependent on the conditions and space allotted for horses participating, respiratory and other contagious diseases aren’t that uncommon. It’s important to quarantine any horse bought from an auction for a 2-3 week period, as it may take that long for these diseases to show up.

As with any auction, don’t let your emotions take over control while bidding. Establish your max price beforehand and stick to that number; predicting the future success of a horse is a gamble. For every story of an amazing purchase, such as Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew going for $17,500 (went on to earn millions), there are more Seattle Dancer’s; sold in 1985 for a then record $13.1 million but only earned $150,000 on the track.

Supreme Auctions

Just as some of the world’s finest horses are sold at auction, so are breathtaking, multimillion-dollar properties. As the industry’s leading high-end luxury estate auction house, Supreme Auctions is the premier resource for buyers and sellers in the luxury real estate market.


Speak with a Supreme Auctions specialist today to learn more about the luxury real estate auction process. Please contact us or call 866-929-2243 today!

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