This annual invitational horse sale drew top bids despite modifications to the main event.

The past year has presented its share of challenges for equine event producers. Despite the global pandemic, however, horse sales have seen successful results. The annual Art of the Cowgirl Elite Horse & Select Prospects Sale presented by Western Horseman was no exception.

Held January 16, 2021, at Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre in Queen Creek, Arizona, the sale totaled $526, 500 on 17 horses sold through in-person, telephone and virtual bidding. The average was $30, 970.

For complete sale results, click here.

Sarah McKibben shows off her sale horse.
Cashed My CD, consigned by Sarah McKibben, topped the Art of the Cowgirl Elite Horse & Select Prospect Sale at $130,000.
Photo by Jennifer Denison

The sale figures were encouraging, especially since last December Art of the Cowgirl founder Tammy Pate announced that she had decided to postpone portions of the main event, including workshops, demonstrations and a trade show, in an effort to help control the spread of Coronavirus. However, the World’s Greatest Horsewoman and women’s ranch rodeo competitions and the horse sale would still take place with livestreaming on the Wrangler Network for people to watch from home. This was good news to competitors, as well as horse sale consignors and potential buyers who planned to attend.

“What really stood out to me [about this year’s lots of horses] was the maturity of the horses,” says sale producer Mesa Pate. “I feel like this was the most solid set of horses I have not only seen at our sale, but probably in comparison to most [invitational] sales. The Elite horses could fit just about anyone—from a recreational rider to a performance home.”

Pate also notes that the handful 3- and 4-year-old prospects in the sale “were all ready to go in any direction.”

The high-selling horse was Lot 2, Cashed My CD (CD Lights x Shiney Sushi x Shining Spark). Consigned by Sarah McKibben of Whitesboro, Texas, the 8-year-old gelding topped the sale at $130,000.

Bred by Aaron Ranch in Commerce, Texas, Sarah and her husband, trainer Mozaun McKibben, bought the horse about two years ago.

“He already had an extensive performance record and earnings in excess of $72,000 in the American Quarter Horse Association and National Reined Cow Horse Association,” notes Sarah, who also rode the palomino gelding in the World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition prior to the sale.

Mesa Pate and top consignors Sarah and Mozaun McKibben.
Sale producer Mesa Pate congratulates Mozaun and Sarah McKibben (and their Belgian Malinois dogs, Bronc, Sister and Deuce) on their high-selling horse.
Photo by Jennifer Denison

Familiar with the horse and its performance abilities, Pate knew he would be a good fit for the sale and bring big bucks.

“He’s the product of a great performance horse program, and the McKibbens did a great job of preparing him for a life outside of the arena,” she observes. “He had a lot of interest from performance homes, but his new owners will enjoy using him on the ranch and trail [in Florida]. It’s really neat to see people understanding the value of these safe, well-trained horses.”

When reviewing applications for the invitational horse sale and narrowing selections, Pate looks for ranch horses that have a variety of experience in and out of the arena.

Bailey Bachman sold a draft-cross horse.
Big Sway, a 16-hand Quarter Horse-Percheron cross, consigned by Bailey Bachman, caught the attention of several buyers. The 9-year-old gelding sold for $15,000.
Photo by Jennifer Denison

“I really like to see horses that have competed in some facet, because I feel they make an even more well-rounded individual than a horse that’s only been used on the ranch,” she explains. “Horses with a reined cow horse or versatility ranch horse background fit the best in our sale, as they really take to other jobs well, especially high-end ranch horses. While I fully believe ranch horses make the best horses, I know that those sold in this sale will be exposed to situations outside of the ranching environment.

“Providing the safest horses possible is the main goal of our sale. I’ve learned through the years to not only select horses that would fit me or someone who rides for a living, but also look for those horses that would fit a wide variety of riders.”

Art of the Cowgirl will hold a second Elite Horse Sale in June. For details and consignment information, click here.

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