UConn Horse Auction seeks new homes for equines

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Tue., Apr. 30, 2013
Dolly, a miniature mare rescued by the Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture, grazes in a pasture as she waits to enter the auction ring at the UConn Horse Auction on April 27. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Dolly, a miniature mare rescued by the Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture, grazes in a pasture as she waits to enter the auction ring at the UConn Horse Auction on April 27. Photos by Melanie Savage.

There are usually quite a few rescue horses offered through the Connecticut State Department of Agriculture at the annual spring UConn Horse Auction and Tack & Equipment tag sale, held this year on April 27. This year, there were only two—miniature horses Dolly and Shadow. “We have a lot of horses up for adoption right now instead,” said state animal control officer Linda Wenner, with a nod toward a display featuring photographs and descriptions for six available horses. Many of the horses currently in the program, which enlists Department of Corrections inmates in the rehabilitation of abused, injured and neglected animals, have age, illness or injury issues that preclude their sale. “But they are still great animals for adoption,” said Wenner.

Dolly and Shadow, 4 years old and 13 years old respectively, are both mares that were seized through a cruelty case. “There were the two minis, a donkey and a full-sized horse,” said Wenner. The larger horse and the donkey still needed time for rehabilitation, said Wenner. But Dolly and Shadow were ready for their new homes.

Previous auctions have brought great prices for the miniature horses. “Sometimes they go for higher prices than the full-sized horses,” said Wenner. Dolly didn’t get a nibble, as the auctioneer lowered his starting price from $800 to $600 to $400, and finally all the way down to $200. But someone approached Wenner’s colleague as she lead Dolly from the ring. “They’re interested, they just didn’t have a bidding card,” she explained. After Shadow drew a bid of $200 during her foray into the ring, it looked like both little mares were going to new homes.

The other horses that were available were offered through UConn. “We just have so many horses coming into the program that we have to make room,” explained Catherine Maher, an equine science major and the equestrian team captain. Maher was seated outside the stall of a gorgeous, 15-year-old Thoroughbred mare, with a hand printed sign that read “Ask me about Jubilee” above her head. Jubilee was donated to UConn as a polo pony. “I think she will thrive as a trail horse or even continuing to play polo, because she really loves that,” said Maher.

With so many horses coming into the program, the auction provides an opportunity to rehome those that are not as good a fit as others, explained UConn animal science major Michelle Grant, who was preparing to ride MEM Flirting with Disaster into the ring. The horse was “kind of on the smaller side for lessons,” said Grant.

Among the horses available through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture program are: Isis, a 22-year-old Arabian mare; Sabrina, a 13-year-old quarter horse mare that cannot be ridden; April, a 10-year-old quarter horse mare described as a cribber; Santana, an 18-year-old quarter horse gelding still working to put on weight; Lightning, a 13-year-old pony mare with trust issues; and Thunder, a 1-year-old pony/Arab gelding with some growing left to do. Wenner said that the program also has guinea hens, turkeys, roosters, a pig, a sheep and some lambs available. Contact her at 860-713-2506 for more information.


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