Ogallala, Nebraska, September 3, 2006 - It was midway through the third and final day of the Haythorn Land & Cattle Co. Production Sale when the weanling filly stepped lightly into the ring. Her relatively late appearance didn't seem to dampen the crowd's appreciation of her.
Named FF Thirty Gun, the filly was an athletic-looking gray, fresh off a sand hills pasture and taking in the auction-ring noise and action with wide-eyed wonder.
Still at her dam's side, the youngster was among the best the Haythorn had to offer. PG Shogun, her sire, was a proven performance champion, and Figure Four 530, her dam, was a classically bred Haythorn Ranch Eddie/Sport descendant.
It seemed as if the filly was only in the ring for half a heartbeat. The auctioneer called for an opening bid and it came in a hurry. That bid was just as quickly trumped. When the smoke had settled a few short minutes later, the typey weanling was owned by Claude Lipscomb of Foley, Alabama, who paid $7,700 for her.
By sale's end, the Haythorn Ranch had transferred 343 head of horses to buyers from 31 states, three Canadian provinces and Mexico. The finished gelding section, always a sale highlight, posted an average of $7,132 on close to a hundred head.
Figure Four 526, an 11-year-old grullo gelding by Poco Buenos Image and out of Cranberry Jane, topped both the gelding section and the overall sale when he was purchased for $29,000 by John Wells of Atwood Ranch in Red Bluff, California.
Be Four Time 240, a 9-year-old black gelding by Easy Go Reb and out of Continental Bar Mea, was the second-highest-selling horse in both divisions when he elicited a final bid of $22,000 from Lee Fogleman of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
FF Thirty Gun was the Haythorn sale's high-selling weanling. What's more, she was just one of a total of 10 Haythorn horses to be purchased by Claude Lipscomb to add to his Black and Blue Quarter Horse operation, situated just 10 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.
Now, it's a long way from the coastal shores of southern Alabama to the sand hills of northwestern Nebraska-1,500 miles to be exact. So what would compel Lipscomb-or any of the other 2,500 sale attendees, for that matter-to make the trek to the Haythorn Land & Cattle Co. in search of a horse to buy, and then keep them coming back year after year?
These are easy questions to answer, as far as Lipscomb is concerned.
To read the rest of this story, pick up the December 2006 issue of Western Horseman.