Every year on the day after Thanksgiving here in The South we have a very different kind of non-traditional Black Friday sale. On this Fall day the fairgrounds open and host the Dixie Draft Driving Auction.
If you have never been to the auction it is definitely an experience to be had. They auction off every kind of horse related item that you can imagine: tractors, trailers, fencing, carts, tools, tack, tack and more tack.
They also auction every kind of non-horse related item that you can imagine: trash cans, workout mats, decorations and one year we went they even had a full sized tee pee.
I’m not sure when or how it happened that suddenly people started to bring any type of junk they no longer wanted to auction but it seems that now anything goes. The items are lined up in an area that must be 2-3 football fields in size and the golf carts drive up and down taking the bids. People seem to have one of two approaches to adding these treasures into their possession. Some find an item they like and camp out until the golf cart makes it their way. Others follow the carts along bidding on countless items they didn’t know they needed until they saw it in the hands of the auctioneer.
Of course no horse auction would be complete without actual horses. I, like most horse owners, have a pretty negative association with the word horse auction. Even worse is the term hip number. The fate of an animal sold using a hip number is uncertain at best and a death sentence at worst. I would love to tell you that the kill buyers don’t come to this particular auction, but I can’t in truth do so as it is an auction. What I can tell you, however, is that this is not your typical last stop auction like some. A lot of the horses that come through these grounds are top notch animals sold for top dollar. Every year they have 3 or 4 prime horses that go somewhere in the range of $10,000 to $20,000. Many more are sold in market range to people looking for their next mount.
We never go to auction to buy. We are purely spectators to the event. I like to see the wide range of horses all in one place. They have a track where sellers take the horses to ride and drive and show what they can do to help drive up the bidding. I also enjoy seeing the wide range of people all in one place. It is an Amish run auction so their influence is heavy and you also get the local horse community that comes out regardless of discipline.
Here’s to all the horses with hip numbers going through auction this weekend. May you all go to a home that will give you a name.