We went to a tack auction, over near Anthony, at a place which does this monthly. Friday evening is the tack and other horse care supplies night, Saturday is horses themselves, and Sunday is "Leftovers" whether it's tack, supplies, or horses. Matters not whether you think this is romantic, Herself rather enjoys it when I take her out to things like this. You could say, "shopping."
The gathering starts around 19:00, and the auction starts shortly after 19:30, Southern Local Time. Additional supplies available for auction included grooming tools, feed and water buckets, riding crops (we picked up three; I'm not planning on using any with a horse, there's other places in mind), lunge lines and leads (we did pick up two leads), bits, bridles, halters, headstalls (we picked up some odds and ends of these), stock whips, lunging whips, saddle and horn bags, leather tools, and the odds and ends of horse-related trivia like a truly ugly table lamp made from a pair of old western boots.
Around 30 or so saddles, ranging from pony saddles through fairly big horse western, and a few english. Mostly these are used saddles, some of them more used than others. At least last night, all of them were in fairly good condition. The pony saddles are rather cute; looked at from one point of view they could be considered "scale model" saddles.
Now, I've not ridden a horse for years, and I've still got to measure myself for a saddle, or measure a saddle for myself. Whatever, I don't yet know what will constitute a comfortable saddle for me, other than general principles gleaned from reading. To whit, when sitting there should be one hand width between the base of the horn on a western saddle and my crotch (to put it bluntly), plus some things about how the saddle should fit your horse. And saddles, even used, do not qualify as an inexpensive purchase, particularly one which is still in usable condition, though an auction is a good place to get one fairly economically. Since I've not measured this out yet, I'd no intention of buying a saddle yet.
Herself, it seems, did. Here's what happened.
The saddles are the last thing on the auction agenda. After all, they are the big ticket item here. And inevitably, there's some of those miscellaneous care and tack items left over, things which people decided they:
A: didn't need
B: didn't want
C: know that eventually something like this is going to happen.
Maybe between a half-dozen and a dozen saddles had been auctioned, singly or in pairs. Sometimes what would happen is two-three saddles would be set out, and the highest bidders would get their choice of the three in turn. Sort of a Dutch auction, but not exactly as I am under the impression that, say you bid $150 and I bid $125 for a pair, you'd get the pick first, and we would each pay our bid for what we got.
So there's two saddles out on racks. Then the auctioneer announces it's a Miscellany Pile auction and staff start piling brushes, hay bags, leads, and such leftovers from the earlier auctions into a pile in front of the saddles. Says I, "Myself, could be an interesting auction."
Now the bidding is going up slowly but steadily. Now one of the staff picks up another saddle, and drops that on the pile. Says I, "Myself, this is going to be an interesting auction." Bidding picks up a little, but not much. So this guy picks up another saddle and drops it onto the pile (four saddles in the auction now, winner takes all), and Herself starts bidding at ... wait for this ... $250. Right. $250 is all the bidding is up to by this point, for four saddles and a pile of miscellaneous horse care and tack supplies.
Bidding picks up seriously at this point, and when it actually starts to slow down around $500 (with, I might add, Herself the top bidder), this guy drops another saddle onto the pile. Just like kerosene on a fire, things heat up again with the bids bouncing back and forth between four people. One of them drops off when the bid reaches $750, but the three still in the bidding keep it going on up to $890 and it's down to two bidders. The bid is going up still, but in small amounts of $5 - $10, and the guy drops a sixth saddle onto the pile and they'll add in one of the folding racks the saddles' are displayed on for auction.
In short order and bid jumps of $25 - $50, we're up to an even grand. One Thousand Dollars will take home six saddles, one folding rack, and a pile of other small stuff. Other Bidder keeps trying to call it at $1000, but the auctioneer keeps reminding them that Herself bid that before they did. If the auction is to keep going, they need to bid $1025. No going on this. $1020. Nope. $1020? Nope. $1015? Nope.
Sold at $1000.
Look at it this way. If there's one saddle in that batch that fits me, and the other five are re-sold at $200 each (not an unreasonable amount, as I said while used all of the saddles auctioned are in usable shape, and these six are in fairly good to very good condition), the pile of miscellany and that saddle are... free. Paid for. Or, if there's one saddle that fits Herself, and that she likes better than the one she's currently got, it's a swap, and the same conditions apply.
And it's amazing how many saddles one can fit into a Subaru Outback, eh? Along with two piles of miscellany, one we assembled, and one the auctioneer assembled for us, and a saddle rack.