Year after year auctions of young sport horses become more popular for the rich bourgeoisie of the horse world. Preselected auction mounts virtually guarantee health, quality, movements, beauty, pezzaz and status for the elitist buyer. No more spending hours making phone calls, exchanging video tapes and travelling around Europe to find that one special horse which matches your desire. No, you plan a 3-day trip to Vechta, Verden, Munster, Medingen or Hagen, watch the daily parades of the collection and make your choice. Auctions are supposed to make horse shopping easy, but anything is more true than this.
The 3 to 5-year-old equines have to endure six weeks of heavy training, of try-out sessions with experienced and less experienced riders and of gala evenings in order to lure a bigger crowd to the auction. The horses are often fatigued and mentally down after this process. Nevertheless, the sky seems not to be the limit for the bid prices: 400,000DM for Wienna, 500,000DM for Royal Olymp and 600,000DM for Diamond Dream. Many loaded foreign buyers travel to Germany to purchase and import at least half the collection, not knowing that they are pushing up the prices for amateurs and making it impossible to buy a "good" young dressage horse for a reasonable price (20,000 DM). But that's the way the market works.
Once in a while you get proof that money does not equal the (equestrian) world. How oftendo price highlights disappear into nothing, left behind with a broodmare career or schoolmaster retirement. Once in a while you get proof that the cheap horses can make it to the top. One example is Serve Well, a Hanoverian mare by Sherlock Holmes who got sold at the Verden Equitop auction for a moderate 9,500DM. Under Elmar Lesch, she won the 6-year-old eventing horse class at the German Young Horse Championships in Warendorf.
-- Astrid Appels (Editor)