By Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse JournalSeptember 2, 2013
Scroll down for The American Quarter Horse Journal slide show of the historic sale highlights and high-sellers.
By the time the gavel fell on the 2013 Haythorn Figure Four Finale Sale – the ranch’s last on-site production sale – the only folks mildly unhappy were those who couldn’t get something bought.
Haythorn Land & Cattle Co.’s legendary 70-year-old AQHA breeding program was the first to be recognized with the AQHA Best Remuda award (in 1992); the ranch is also an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder. Horses have always been an integral part of the expansive cattle operation, spread over two Nebraska counties between Ogallala and Arthur. Founded in 1884, the ranch is currently run by Craig and wife Jody Haythorn, and their two sons, Sage (wife Kelley) and Cord.
“I am very happy,” Craig told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “(The horses) went everywhere (across the United States); they always do.”
Registered buyers came from 33 states, four Canadian provinces and Mexico.
Distant white clouds piled in blue skies above the rolling, grassy green Sandhills. The mornings were breezy for the August 30 Waldo Haythorn Futurity and the August 31 geldings preview, but both days grew as hot as blazes by the afternoon sale sessions. The heat didn’t deter the crowd.
The first session, August 30, sold 103 catalogued mares, fillies and weanlings: 2011 and 2012 fillies averaged $2,401; 2013 colts averaged $1,724, and 2013 fillies $1,280; mares averaged $1,764.
The second session, August 31, sold 72 catalogued geldings and stallions and a few riding mares. A total of six stallions sold, averaging $15,200; 2011 and 2012 geldings averaged $3,310; riding geldings averaged $8,103.
Since 1979, every four years through 2010, the ranch hosted a production sale for the public. It was a tradition that Craig (great-grandson of ranch founder Harry Haythornthwaite) began after he returned to the ranch after college.
That tradition ended with this 2013 herd reduction sale, a move to “streamline” the ranch’s production to its top end mares and stallions.
The ranch has kept 60 mares. Its remaining stallions include such young horses as SDP Blue Blood (Laredo Blu-SDP I Got Good Genes by Dual Rey) whose accomplishments include winning the 2012 AQHA junior working cow horse world championship.
Craig said to look for the Haythorn stock at several top ranching sales across the west, such as the Best of the Remuda Sale in Fort Worth and at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo in Rapid City, South Dakota.
“And we’ll sell private treaty and on the Internet,” Craig said. “We’ve established enough of a reputation over the last 40 years we can do that.”
It was emotional for Craig as he introduced the sale and again when stallion PG Shogun – “the best pony I’ve ever ridden” – went through the ring, a hefty compliment from a rancher who’s spent a lifetime horseback. 2008 Ranch Horse Association of America AQHA Horse of the Year PG Shogun (Playgun-Miss Sho Bunny by Shogun San) brought $19,000.
Lance Inderman of Goldthwaite, Texas, purchased Haythorn home-bred Slush Wood (Drifts Chip-Raspberry Slush by Eddie Eighty), high-selling stallion at $21,000. Lance also purchased high-selling mare MP Classic Drifter (Lone Drifter-Roan Gold Rainbow by Superstition Gold) for $5,000.
Lisa Cowan Huestis of Cowan Select Horses LLC in Havre, Montana – an AQHA Ranching Heritage breeder – purchased high-selling gelding and high-selling horse FF Black Moon for $23,000. By Figure Four Chex and out of Boon Buttercup by Eddie Eighty, the gelding has been shown successfully in National Reined Cow Horse Association and Ranch Horse Association of America events by Matt Koch.
“I’m going to bring him home to Montana and use him on the ranch and maybe go play around with him,” Lisa told The Journal. “I saw that horse at our place in (Purcell,) Oklahoma last winter (with Matt Koch), and I asked if he was for sale and got a ‘No, Ma’am.’ When I saw that he was in this sale I got excited about him.
“We came to show at Rapid City – Robbie Boyce has a horse for us up there – and I just got a trailer. I said, ‘If I’m this close to Haythorn’s, I’m just going to run down there!’”
High-selling weanling was the colt Four Brown 17 (Busy Haidin-Four Lady 317 by Figure Four Fritz), sold to Mike Connell of Stapleton, Nebraska, for $8,750. The 2013 colt Four B 23 (Mr Chevy Tough-Four B 023 by Absolut Phoebe) sold for $7,000 via the Internet to Chris and Rene King of Mount Cory, Ohio.
In addition to buyers hoping to acquire a piece of legendary Quarter Horse stock, many sale goers attended simply to be a part of ranching and Haythorn history.
Take David Connor, from Winterset, Iowa, originally from Maywood, Nebraska. He bought his first Haythorn-bred, a weanling filly, in 1990.
“We were outside the older barn, and it was before any of the other buildings were built,” he recalled. “They had grass hay bales in a row, and wire tied with 2x4s laying across the top. They led the horses through the middle of all of us, and that’s where the auction was held.”
He’s been to most of the sales since, buying a colt by Doc O Niner (Doc O’Lena-Maneeta’s Niner by Mr 89’er) in 2000.
“I love it out here,” he added. “You can’t beat the quality of the people, the family: impeccable reputation that they deserve in every way shape or form. You cannot find better horses. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”
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