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Auctions: The horse market does not recognize the crisis!

Imagination (Imposantos x Fürst Romancier)

By Aurélie Covini

Driven by the gloomy context of Covid-19, auctions are constantly reinventing themselves. Ever more numerous, especially online, they offer an increasingly wide range of horses, in particular thanks to breeders and dealers who do not hesitate to launch and organize their own sales. More than 2,250 horses were traded in public sales in under four months, generating a turnover of more than €35 million!

One wonders if the coronavirus pandemic has not ultimately given a major boost to the development of online sales. Not many days go by without buyers taking the opportunity to purcase a horse on the Internet.
Coincidentally, 100 sales were organized for the period from May 2020 to August 22, although a few have not communicated their results so have not been included. Suffice to say that sport horse auctions do not seem to be in crisis. In fact, a fairly recent phenomenon is growing; that of sales organized not companies or auction houses, but by the breeders themselves. Thus, among the results, more of the larger studfarms have organized their own sales, allowing them to market a wider range of horses directly, and without recourse to a commercial company or a studbook who often work with a large selection of ‘elite’ horses.
If Schockemöhle’s sales have long been essential, we see large stables like Van Olst, Helgstrand and HDC, organizing their own auctions, often helped by online sales platforms increasingly present in these ‘remote’ organizations.
New sales have appeared in the landscape in recent months, such as the Trigon Auction launched by speaker Frederik de Backer, alongside Stal Tops (Olympic gold medallist and founder of the prestigious Longines Global Champions Tour), and the Van de Lageweg family (VDL Stud). The Trigon Auction platform will offer breeders and investors the possibility to sell and buy foals, two- and three-year-old horses, broodmares, frozen embryos, and sport horses in recurring auctions throughout the year. Janko van de Lageweg, co-founder of Trigon Auctions said, “It is the first time that three players in different fields have joined forces to support breeders in the sales of their foals and assist clients in choosing the right investment. This is literally the bridge between breeders and buyers.” The VDL family also organizes the well-respected WEF Sporthorse Auction in Wellington, FL, in cooperation with Equestrian Sport Productions, and partners in the successful De Wolden Summer Sale. “Online auctions are a fairly new medium to buy and sell horses and the market has grown in size and scope over the last years. Selling or buying online requires enormous trust between the client and the auction house”.
Carlos Pinto, his partner Willemijn Poels, and Steve Tinti have also organised a new auction ‘The Collection’, in May. A total of 16 horses from various stables were offered for sale through this online auction, some of them claiming the highest prices for showjumping horses in recent months. While the organizers may have encountered some technical problems with the online auctions due to overloading the site, the auction turned out to be a great success. Corlou (Cornet Obolensky x Baloubet du Rouet), a five-year-old stallion reached the top price of the auction of €252,000 and was sold in the Netherlands. Contharga Fly, a promising seven-year-old mare, daughter of the high profile Conthargos (dam by Sir Shutterfly), was knocked down for €200,000, while another seven-year-old mare, Baloubelle (Baloubet du Rouet x Cassini II) sold for €150,000. According to co-organizer Willemijn Poels, this auction was a success from the start: “The idea of also placing hunters in the catalogue was good for reaching different clients. We saw that, apart from the targeted markets such as the United States and Canada, other nations have also shown a lot of interest in these uniquely chosen horses.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber