One of the signature sale events of the year for western riders in Canada, particularly those in the performance arena is the annual Western Horse Sale, hosted by Bill and Elaine Speight, and held the Friday night, in this case, Oct. 1, of the Canadian Supreme.
I touched base with Elaine earlier this week to get her thoughts about this year\’s sale and the western horse market of late. Here\’s our conversation.
Elaine, you and Bill have been organizing the Western Horse Sale for an incredible 15 years. What has been the most significant change(s) in the type of horse you have for offer from then to now?
Elaine: The most significant change is an improvement in the quality and bloodlines of the horses that are in the sale this year, and for the last couple of years. The pedigrees seem to be more of the popular lines for the reining, working cow horse and cutting. I feel this is a very positive thing, as people are becoming better educated on what bloodlines hold their market value over time, meaning the time it takes for the training, and getting them ready for the showpen.
What would you like to point out about this year\’s offerings?
Elaine: The offerings in this year\’s sale, our 15th, is considerably better than in other years. We do have more yearlings, but they are of higher quality than in other years, with more incentive opportunities available.
There is a lot of buzz about some significant dispersal offerings down south this fall, some have passed and a few to come. What do you make of all of this?
Elaine: Horse sale dispersals are a great opportunity to go and purchase horses that other people have spent a lifetime collecting – their favorite bloodlines, and their favorite performers. I think dispersal sales are usually well attended, and the prices tend to be higher or stronger than your normal sales.
How has what\’s happening down south affected the Canadian market?
Elaine: The lower prices that horses are bringing down south does affect our prices here in Canada, in that people can go down and bring back some of the higher-end stock at a lower price that they did several years ago. This makes more horses of newer or popular bloodlines available to the Canadian buying public. This in turn lowers the prices of the average to lower end of our horses here.
Most of us in the western horse industry now fully understand that we are in the center of a \”correction.\” What\’s your take on how long this will last, what it will take to get through, and finally, what type/age of horse savvy buyers will be looking to invest in, during this down time?
Elaine: Yes, there is a lowering of horse prices, a person can sell a horse at a lower price than a few years ago, but he also gets to replace or upgrade at a lower price than he did a few years ago. The balance is still there. This \”correction\” if that is what it is, could go on indefinitely. I would guess a lot would depend on our economy. How much money is out there for recreation.
I believe the type of horse people are looking for now is the seven to ten-year-old healthy performance horse they can get on and show right now. A horse that has had some of life\’s experiences, and the foundation training completed. But, then, there are also people out there looking for that real nice \”well bred\” yearling that they can put in training, and take to the Canadian Supreme, and some of the small fall cutting or reining futurities, have some fun, and maybe win a little in the process.
Do you recall a similar time of correction in the past 15 years?
Elaine: I can remember in the early eighties when horse prices were down, the economy was tight, and interest rates were very high. In the last 15 years, I don\’t remember a \”correction\”, as we seem to be having now, as prices
have always stayed fairly consistent.
Do you want to share any feedback you have received from consignors this year?
Elaine: The consignors feel that the sale this year, with the high quality of consignments, and the extra incentives offered on some of the horses, should be a positive indication that our prices will reflect a moderate to strong market.
By the way, the top selling horse of last year\’s Western Horse Sale was Lot # 62, a talented six-year-old champion cutting mare, Smart Chic Merada, (Master Merada x Cruell Dville x Smart Chic Olena). This mare was consigned by Greg and Lois Gartner of Sherwood Park Alberta, and was purchased for $17,500 from Tica Horse and Stables of Midale, Saskatchewan.
I look forward to seeing you all at this year\’s 15th Annual Western Horse Sale. Be sure to drop by the outstanding Canadian Supreme tradeshow on your way into the sale, and the Western Horse Review booth to say hi.