Hip Numbers

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.

Photo Credit: Dixie Draft Driving Auction Facebook Page

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.

Photo Credit: Dixie Draft Driving Auction Facebook Page

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.

Photo Credit: Dixie Draft Driving Auction Facebook Page

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.

This is the donkey that stole my heart and whose potential outcome haunts me.  I hope he gets a good home.

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.

6 thoughts on “Hip Numbers

  1. We also go to a similar auction in our area. For fun. The Tulare Draft Horse Auction. It’s amazing. I agree that you take your life in your hands when you go to buy though. And not all the horses come in looking spiffy. I took a huge gamble. Once. An elderly man was selling off his Freisian horses. He had no pass-out limit. I bought his 8 year old gelding for $4300. Sometimes you get lucky. Real lucky 🙂


      1. Yeah. I love him, although I don’t use him for driving like I planned. I never have enough time for all the things I want to do…sigh.. I just trail ride him all over the hills and the kids ride him in the arena.Actually the owner could have passed him out, but he said he was selling them all for whatever he could get because he was getting out of horses. I just lucked out everyone wanted the mares. He is kinda small, only 15 hands and he doesn’t have the gobs of hair, but I don’t care, I love him just the way he is. I call him Lucien. 🙂


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