Horses Rescued From Auction

Horse auctions are where people conduct the commercial trade in equines.  People sell or consign horses at auction for various reasons.  For some, the auction is an excellent place for buyer and seller to meet and arrive at fair market value for a horse.  Some auctions sell quality horses and can be a good outlet for owners to relieve themselves of the financial burden of an unwanted horse.  Unfortunately, some auctions may also be the last stop for horses before shipping to slaughter.

The extreme downside to the horse auction is that you will see animals who are injured, need to be trained and have been neglected.  You will see animals who are permanently lame or have neurological issues and are brought back time and time again when the new owner realizes they cannot fix the issue.  You will see horses in pain while the owner is trying to make money, horses that are thrown away because they will not have a career in racing and horses that are used for summer camp and whose owners do not want to take care of them during the winter.  The harsh reality of our current American horse population is there are far too many horses and few too many homes for them.

Those equines that are not purchased by individuals or saved by rescue groups, ultimately find themselves in the kill or “feedlot” pen where kill buyers purchase these horses for pennies on the pound.  Luckily, animal rescues, like Last Chance Ranch, save horses lives when they can.

These horses found a second chance at life after being rescued from a horse auction.  Sometimes we can rescue horses that are turned away from the sale because they are too skinny or too injured to run through.   Vera and Glacier are two of those horses.





Vera- $100- 1st photo, black Percheron mare

Glacier- $150- 2nd photo, chestnut Belgian gelding

Donkeys (Theodore and Earl)- $200 Each

Violet- $185- black mare

These are just a few of the hundreds of equines Last Chance Ranch (LCR) has rescued from auction over the past 20 years. We frequent local auctions when we have the funds and space available.  We currently have an auction horse fund, that individuals can donate to.  These funds are used to directly purchase horses and provide them with any emergency care required while they are in quarantine.

Horses obtained from an auction need to be in quarantine from other animals because many of them are sick, have been exposed to sick horses, have sustained injuries, have chronic issues that have not been identified and if they are purchased without prior vaccination records, the safest approach is to assume that the horse has no prior vaccination history. We are often rescuing horses that require immediate veterinary care (lameness issues, founder, masses, eye issues, neurological disorders, illness and more). Unfortunately, some of the horses we rescue come to LCR to have a few days of love and attention before we must make the difficult decision to let them go, since we do save the more extreme cases at the sale.

We typically spend $500-$1000 to save full sized equines from auction.  For miniature horses and ponies, we spend less than $350. These prices are based on the current price buyers can purchase equines for slaughter/meat prices. We try to coordinate with other rescues at the auction so that we do not bid against each other to rescue as many as we can!

The first step in rehabilitating a rescued horse, especially in a malnourished or debilitated condition, is to work with a veterinarian and feed consultant to assess the overall health.  A slow steady approach is taken when introducing feed.  Too much, too soon, can cause “Refeeding Syndrome” and can overwhelm the digestive and metabolic system and can end up killing the horse.  The importance of dental care, high grade forage, and quality grain feeds is extremely important in the recovery process.  The costs of recovering a starved horse are very high including feeding, shelter, and medication but if successful, rehabilitating a neglected horse can be a very rewarding experience.

As always, our mission is to provide a safe and secure refuge for abused, unwanted or neglected animals.  There are so many ways to help us save animals.  Please click here to see how you can help!

Posted:  July 12, 2021, by Jill Roggio

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