The Legacy Reining Breeders Sale is the best place to shop for yearlings bred to rein. People come from Italy, Germany, Holland, Brazil and Mexico; California, Colorado, New York and Florida. All descend on Aubrey, TX: Reiners’ Mecca.
The sale is held just around the corner from Tom and Mandy’s ranch. On Friday, before the evening auction, the masses came to Tom and Mandy’s for lunch, and to preview the horses that would sell the next day. (Saturday’s Consignment Sale includes older horses that are broke to ride, as the cowboys put it.) Our stallion, Gunners Special Nite, lounged in his stall of honor and basked in his admirers’ attention. He seemed especially mellow and content. Not a bad life, going from stall to turnout pasture to breeding barn. This year he bred more than two hundred mares.
Around the corner, at Cardinal Ranch, prospective buyers watched the yearlings work in the round pens. Here’s what makes a good yearling prospect:
(a) Bloodlines (What have the parents won? What have the parents’ offspring won? This is all shown on the yearling’s pedigree card.)
(b) Appearance (Does the horse have correct confirmation, or physical build? Does it have the flashy looks that’ll make it stand out in the show arena? Everyone loves a pretty horse.)
(c) Way of going (Does it lope smoothly in the round pen? Is it calm and attentive? Does it instinctively show the movements that’ll make for good sliding stops and rollbacks? Some horses, like humans, are more naturally athletic than others.)
At five o’clock, lot #1 was led into the roped stage, and the auctioneer launched into that amped-up-nattering thing they do—even in high-speed gibberish, an unmistakable Texas twang. The buyers guzzled beer and devoured Texas barbecue. Yearlings sold for anywhere from $5,000 to $75,000. Vets stood by for last-minute x-rays so buyers could check a horse’s joints before bidding. There were so many people that another load of rental chairs had to be brought in, along with an emergency ice delivery for the bartenders.
Mandy’s at the helm of all things Legacy-Sale. She works long, action-packed hours, keeps her cool amidst phone-call and text-message barrages, and still manages to swing by for some nail-biting with me when our horses are on the block.
Our friend Gunny caused trouble at the bar, while his wife, Monica, and I planned our next round of Gunners Special Nite logo merchandise, at her Just Stitch It vendor booth nearby.
Our top sellers for Turnabout Farm were two white-faced colts. Get Set Gun (in the feature photo) will stay in the neighborhood, with Green Valley Ranch. Two others came back home; Tom bought my favorite filly, Stars At Midnite, and his assistant trainer Debbie bought Bailey’s Sidekick, the adorable colt with a half-white face. Always a good sign when the trainers believe in our bloodlines. (The trainers, of course, having worked with these yearlings’ relatives every day for months and years. Debbie had her heart set on the colt because she used to ride—and loves—his mother.)
Each yearling comes with a new halter and lead rope and a bag of goodies. Tom and Mandy gave durable horse-show gear bags. I added Gunners Special Nite sweatshirts, plus our new Grappa Lane farmer’s market totes (available soon on the blog’s forthcoming Shop page).
Other highlights of the weekend: hanging out in the pasture with the foals (as always, the best part of all); driving Tom’s fine automobile (I’m ruined for all other cars); and watching Tom try to catch Carlee’s bunny, Pancake, by chasing her around the living room, muttering bunny-insults, and diving for the surprise grab—until Mandy sat down on the floor and called sweetly to Pancake, who hopped over and allowed Mandy to snuggle her. “That’s how you catch a bunny,” Mandy said.