High-dollar horses

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Kris Rinks, 24, trots his gray gelding around the sales ring Saturday at the Clovis Horse Sales while bidders inspect the horse. Rinks traveled from Sanger, Texas, to sell two horses at the auction.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Kris Rinks said he was a little disappointed when the auctioneer rattled off the highest bid for his gray gelding, “Ice Man.”

The 24-year-old performance horse trainer from Sanger, Texas, was expecting $6,500 but got significantly less.

But the words of his grandfather, who used to be a horse sales manager, prepared him for the ups and downs of a horse auction.

“The horse is only worth what one person will give for that one horse on any one day,” he said.

For Ben Lolley of Dubach, La., a buyer was willing to part with $20,000 — the highest of the day — for his sorrel stallion, “Little Peppy Smart.”

He said people will pay a lot of money for well-trained horses. In the last horse auction, he said his red roan gelding went for $13,000, which was the second-highest selling horse.
“Nobody wants one they have to work on,” said Lolley, who has been selling horses for about 30 years. “Quality is the big deal.”

Rinks and Lolley were among the 500 horse sellers at the two-day Clovis Horse Sales auction.
Auction owner Charlie Rogers said the horse sales draw more than 1,000 people to Clovis each time they are held, five times a year.

“When we’re having a horse sale, you’d be lucky to find a motel room in Clovis if you haven’t booked it in advance,” he said.

He said the auction is one of the premier livestock shows in the country and attracts people from Florida to California. He said the Clovis Horse Sales started in the 1930s.

“Back before there were seven-digit phone numbers,” he said pointing to photographs of the old auction signs with the phone number 393.

This is the first time Rinks is selling horses at Clovis Horse Sales, but he has bought horses here in the past.

“The sales crew … do a good job of having an adequate facility to demonstrate (your horse),” he said. “They’re really friendly, really helpful. It’s a good experience.”

Lolley said he has been selling and buying horses at the Clovis auction since 1969.

“I think these folks do an outstanding job of promoting quality horses,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of friends I do business with throughout the year.”