The Western Heritage Classic is four days of everything West Texas. And one of the main attractions is the one of a kind ranch horse sale that offers over 60 ranch-raised horses from the historic ranches that call West Texas home. John Anderson at the Muleshoe Ranch has been consigning his horses to the sale for the past 15 years.
"It's probably the best ranch horse sale in Texas," Anderson said. "It's been real successful and these horses have quite a history. They've done a lot of things in the ranching industry, ranch horse competitions, ranch rodeos, even in the rodeo arena."
JoAnna Robertson is the sale manager and said that the horse market has been following the economy. It's been down for several years now, but it may be starting to turn around.
"Muleshoe Ranch, Guitar Ranch, Green Ranch out of Albany, Moorehouse Ranch, 6666 Ranch, just to name a few. There's 20 consigning ranches total," Robertson said. "It's been gradually increasing the sale every year, so we just hope that we have another good sale."
Anderson brought 12 horses total this year. He said that every ranch is required to bring one aged horse, five years or older. And each ranch has their own special bloodlines that work for them.
"I brought ten two-year-olds, a three-year-old, and a five-year-old," Anderson said. "I've got a Boon Bar, Freckles Playboy bred stud and then I've got an own son of Peppy San Badger and I've bred to an own son of Smooth Herman, and that's kind of been my program."
With some moisture relief in parts of the state, hay prices may begin to drop this summer. But most ranches have sold off most of their cattle, so selling ranch bred horses can act as supplemental income.
"You know the drought has adversely affected everyone, including me," Anderson said. "We've got about a quarter of the number of cow that we normally have, and so yea, the horse deal helps me a little bit."
The sale is invitational only, meaning the quality of horses consigned are the best in the ranch industry. And buyers this year could even shop on line.
"We have 70 lots and we have people from all over and most of our consignors are here locally, but it's invitational only," Robertson said.
"Buyers come from everywhere. There's a guy that bought a horse from me before from Indiana and he's back down here," Anderson said. "We get a lot of Louisiana buyers, of course Texas and New Mexico, and Oklahoma. But we get them from all over and for the first year were selling this via satellite, too."
And buyers at both the Western Heritage Classic sale and the upcoming Caprock Ranchers sale in July have an extra incentive to find horses through the program. Both buyers and sellers become eligible for an extra jackpot when their respective horses win the Ranch Horse Association of American National Finals competition.