Hollins Stockyard, Virginia ~ December Sale

January 5, 2013

In my attempts to find a pony I went to the Hollins Stockyard in Cloverdale, Virginia, near Roanoke back in mid-December.  It is run by C&H Sales.  They have a once a month auction, on the third Saturday of the month.  The stockyard is set up for cattle, with a massive barn, that appears to have been added to over and over in a sort of odd shape.  It is one of those cattle barns that give the maze impression.  The auction ring itself is a typical cattle one with the small circle like space under the auctioneer with the spectators sitting arena style above the ring in a horse shoe.  There is no riding ring, but there is a decent sized gravel lot that the trailers park on the edge of at the bottom of the barn that horses were  being ridden in.

The tack sale started at 5 and horses at 8 so Carol Ann and I arrived around 4 thinking we were well early.  We got a number, and navigated the maze and made our way down to the horses.  There were about a half dozen trailers, and maybe about 20 horses total including a bunch of minis.

To add to this adventure, I had called about a buckskin pony on Craigslist a few days earlier and the guy mentioned he was sending the pony along with some others to the sale that day.  He told me he would not be there, but to look for a “tall ugly guy”  who would be with the pony.  It was easy to pick the pony out, and I quickly found the guy, who was tall, but not so much ugly.  The pony appeared to be a little too tall, and was bone thin.  This felt a little odd with us just coming out of a warm fall, that still had the grass pretty fatty.  I also disagreed with the 11year old age I had been told, putting the horse more in his late teens.

But I still gave him a real look over, and the guys were a real crack up, entertaining Carol Ann and myself as they showed us this pony, named Marshall, as well as a few others they had for sale.  Although none of the ponies met my needs well enough to purchase, the guys were extremely friendly and enjoyable to banter with.  I really had a good time enjoying their company.  They really worked hard to sell me a pony, but in a good nature way.

Carol Ann looked at one other pony, who was there with a portly and rather rude dealer, who completely turned me off from the start.  Particularly after spending some time looking at the ponies the other guys had to show, this guy’s salesmanship left a lot to be desired.

We headed into the sale ring, which was comfortably heated, and found the seats cushioned with decent back support.  Bonus.  We watched hours of tack being sold, and picked up a few low dollar odds like lunge whips (I wanted a neon orange one that would be easy to find in the field) some soft ground driving reins, leather conditioner and a new manure fork).  The new tack items went for a good low price, and we felt like we got some deals.
The auctioneer did a fantastic job.  He was easy to understand, and he made sure to take care of his back bidders on lot items.  He was entertaining and had the crowd laughing  and he kept the pace moving along.

After the tack, they rolled the minis in, selling them in the $70-$150 range.  They followed them up with the rest of the horses.  There were a few decent ones, including a really nice looking Mountain Horse, an Arab, a few gaited rides and a nice looking Quarter Horse.  But no one was bidding and for the most part the average price was just over the hundred dollar mark.  The ponies we looked at all no-saled with a “we need $300” statement.

We headed out shortly before they finished the horses and made the drive home in the rain.  A fun time but still no pony.

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