presented by Gaitpost Magazine

Monday, October 29, 2007

All The Pretty Horses

If you want to see how rich Dutch horse people like to throw their money around, the Elite Auction is a pretty good starting place. Not that all the buyers on Saturday night were Dutch – but the mood and primary language of the evening was definitely of the wooden clog variety. I think Diederik and Craig may have made a tactical error with their choice of Lou Vega for the half-time entertainment. By the time Lou and his go-go girls had made their way through a third Mambo#5 sound-alike the crowd was barely acknowledging them. The last horse at the 2006 auction fetched more than 400,000 Euros, but this year not one horse broke the 300k mark. The top priced ponies this year (a gelding at 220k and stallion at 280) were also in the first half of the evening, which meant there wasn’t the same climactic finish as last year.

My impression of this year’s crop was that the horses were higher quality than last year, but for some reason the bidding was not nearly so frenzied. It could even be said there were deals to be had this time around, with a few horses going for perhaps less than market value. But like last year, the horse I thought would get the highest price went for less than some that I didn’t care for at all. My favourite this time was a three year old grey mare called Zonneschijn (Sunshine in Dutch apparently). She did have an ugly scar on one hind leg but she was quite the mover and very brave in the crazy atmosphere. Prevalent on this year’s auction list were stupid ‘Z’ names. Instead of using words that really start with ‘z’, the breeders took lots of ‘s’ words and converted them: Zilver, Zwarovski, Zan Tropez, etc. Not one Zebra! And what’s wrong with Zamboni for a name?

Everyone knows that wine leads to loose purse strings, so it was no surprise that glasses were kept topped up by the servers, leading to some heavy nappers during the second half. An English lady at our table just couldn’t keep her eyes open by the end of her fourth glass. No matter; by the after-party she was back in action with a spring in her step and fresh glass in hand. The presentation was top notch as it was in 2006, but for whatever reason the dollars just didn’t quite flow so fast, even if the wine did.

Tune in tomorrow for my report on Day One of the Global Dressage Forum. Monty Roberts is giving part of the opening address – yikes!

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