Last night was the final auction at Crowley’s Auction in central Mass.  Crowley’s has been in business for decades.  A lot of good ranch horses came through their auctions over the years.

Jigs came through Crowley’s when he was three.

I hadn’t been to a horse auction since the 70’s when I went a few times with the 4H Club. That was a small auction tucked next to a drive in. It is long closed. I remember the cheap tack and sorry looking horses.  A Club member purchased a horse from there. He was beautiful but had a tendency to buck at the canter.

I picked up an older Aussie Stock Co. saddle for 85 bucks last night. It’s in okay shape and I’m hoping it fits Jigs. If not, I’ll flip it. I once owned a newer model but it didn’t fit Jigs so I sold it for $900. This is a lower end model but at least worth a few hundred.

The end of Crowley’s Auctions is not surprising. The economy is poor. Horses are luxury items. Keeping them is expensive. Boston to Springfield is one giant development. Farms are rare and taxes on land are high.

The town where I grew up has very little open space. There are walking trails for suburbanites and their dogs, but I doubt horses would be welcome. Lots of parks and forests are limiting or banning horses outright.

When I was a kid every day the sound of shod horses would call me to the bay window. I would jealously marvel at the horses plodding by. When I finally had my own horse, I proudly became one of those riding down the street to hook up with friends on the trails. We would disappear for the day coming back only to avoid the dark.

Earlier this summer I thought I might trailer Jigs to my parents’ house to see if I could find any of the old trails, but in truth, they are now all McMansions. There’s no place left to ride, so I never got around to it. Gas prices are too high for trailer joy rides.

Apparently Crowley’s will remain open for private sales, but they are selling a lot of their equipment. I wonder how long it will be before they close?

Horses were run through the way I remembered from my youth- jockeys driving them forward with loud slaps, spins and stops. I think the most expensive horse sold for $2800. It was a really well broke sorrel that looked like he’d been chasing cows most of his life.  I saw two nice broke QH go for $1500.  Probably more horses than I could safely ride but really nice.

I won’t speak to the ethics of auctions. They have always been part of the horse industry and have their place. In recent years, Crowleys was one of the better ones.

Jigs came through this auction. I am thankful he did.

Explore posts in the same categories: horses, Living in the moment, Responsible horse ownership, trail riding

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