A Westman buckskin gelding named Drifter came out on top during a recent auction in Alberta, with the castrated horse bringing in $20,000.
The top-place finish surprised owner Thomasina Arthur, who noted Ponoka, Alta.-based Top Gun Horse Sales are known for bringing in the best of the best.
"I’m just a nobody," said the self-described "lone wolf cowgirl" based in Rossburn.
"I’m not connected to any breeding program or ranch or outfit. … It’s a nice feeling for me to know that I’m on the right track."
Drifter, born in 2012, was bred by Virden-based breeder Chelsey Driedger, with Dale Barkman putting 30 days on him as a two-year-old and Leanne Plett starting him on barrels in Grunthal.
Arthur purchased Drifter from Plett two years ago, and said the gelding wasn’t up for sale at the time, "but I knew I had to have him."
During her time with Drifter, Arthur said she put some real work into him.
She ran barrels with him, team roped, ranched and used him in feedlot work.
"I like them to be able to rope and barrel and (do) trails, and I like for them to be able to do everything before I’m able to sell," Arthur said.
"I know for a fact the buyer wouldn’t have bought him if he hadn’t done some real work. They wouldn’t have been interested if he’d just been in an arena his whole life."
The sale was held online earlier this month, at which 80 horses were put
up for auction, with 500 bidders registered to participate.
The top five horses averaged $18,700.
Auctions of this nature are usually held in person, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed everything online.
As such, Arthur said, horse owners’ sale videos had to be top-notch.
Drifter’s video featured him participating in conformation, walking through rough terrain, barrel racing, used in roping and various other activities.
Arthur also discussed his breeding background and personality.
"He’s fancy broke, safe, easy, uncomplicated, dependable and good looking," she wrote in his description, posted to the auction website.
Drifter "walks out like the boss and covers serious ground, strong on the horn and doesn’t back down from anything."
After taking Drifter as far as she could, reaching his "full potential" with her, Arthur said now was the time to sell him.
"The horses get to a certain point and I’m satisfied," she said, adding she’s always working with a few sale geldings at any given time, and puts them up for sale when they’re ready.
Her goal is to one day put a horse up for auction at the largest monthly horse sale in the United States, based in Billings, Mont.
Arthur was scheduled to drive Drifter out west to his new home out west yesterday, and she said her time with the gelding will never be forgotten.
"This horse and this sale have been a highlight of my life and I am every day grateful for every ride."
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB