@ @
Auction Preparation
Actually, the simplest advice is always the best and when it comes to preparing for an auction the first thing you need is the catalogue. This is usually available weeks before the auction or sale and it usually contains most of the material you would need to know before deciding on whether or not to buy a horse.

The next thing is to decide on your budget, but don't be too rigid. Make allowances for going a little above what you would expect to spend as quite often you may find yourself an underbidder when one more bid would have secured your purchase. So if you're planning on buying a horse for $1 million, have another $100,000 ready just in case.

Then comes the important part, that of narrowing down the choices. Catalogues can contain anything from a few score to several hundred horses and looking closely at the pedigree doesn't often help. After all, if the horses did not have some sort of pedigree, they would not be put up for sale.

The buyer, therefore, must decide whether he is looking for a sprinter, a stayer of anything in between.

If staying blood is what you want, you must make sure that both the sire and the dam's sire meet these requirements. It's the same if you want an out-and-out sprinter. Mind you, it's not always certain that the genes of the parents are passed down to their children but quite often stayers breed stayers and so on.

Choosing a horse with a staying sire and a sprinting mare, or vice versa, can produce a hotchpotch and you are never sure what you are going to get until the horse starts racing.

When narrowing down your choices, it is always good advice to consult the trainer who will be looking after your horse. Quite often, trainers have their own preferences of sires and dams, especially if they have been successful with other progeny of these thoroughbreds. Some trainers may prefer a Danehill or even, as in the case of stayers, a Zabeel or Barathea. Trainers, therefore, can be of great help in such selections.

Once you have got a list of possible on your purchase slip, the next thing is to get to the auction a few days earlier so that you can look over each and every horse and mark down your likes or dislikes about them.

Here, the advice of the trainer or a person who knows about horses will prove invaluable. For, besides the breeding, there are many aspects to be considered such as the conformation, the way the horse walks, his muscle tone, breathing and heart beat and so on.

Several trainers, in fact, take along stethoscopes with which to hear the horse's heart beat and rhythm.

By this time, you should have a short list of the horses you wish to purchase and who you feel would fall into the budget you have set aside.

When the bidding actually begins, don't show your enthusiasm as this is quite easily picked up by the seller who could well have his or her own representatives in the auction hall and who would actually make bids to push up the price.

Slow down your bids when you get close to the limit you have set. If the other bids are still moving fast and furious, consider that you have lost out and wait for the next lot.

If, on the other hand, the other bidder (or bidders) also slows down, you may consider going one more bid up before calling it a day.

After making your purchase, make sure you get the horse insured as soon as possible as its previous policy expires when the hammer comes down. Also insist that the full purchase price will only be paid after you have had a qualified vet check out the horse (if this could not be done before the auction).

It is also becoming increasing clear that in this era of high prices, it is important to get X-rays of your horse as quite often these could indicate brittle ones. In many recent cases, insurance companies have refused to compensate owners when X-rays suggest that the horse may have been injured or suffered from a debilitating illness before he was put into the sales ring.

As you can see, buying a horse is not just about money. It's also about knowing just what to do and what to expect. As such, it pays to seek the advice of someone who knows about horses and what to look out for.