There are many things you could buy with $230,000 — maybe a house or a very flash car. But what about a horse?
For Toni and Steven Hart of Googong in New South Wales, that money was spent on a quarter horse filly that represents the beginning of a long-awaited dream.
Originally based in the Northern Territory, the couple lost 25 horses, and everything else they owned, in the 1998 Katherine flood.
Since relocating to NSW they have been rebuilding their performance horse operation with one goal in mind — to find the perfect pedigrees to breed the ultimate campdrafting horse.
They have recently imported a colt sired by America’s Metallic Cat — considered the top sire of today’s cutting horses — and now they have filled the missing link with their expensive filly, named Yaven Smooth Spin.
The filly’s dam is One More Romance which has highly sought after blood lines and is a well regarded mare on the campdrafting scene.
“We have been working on a plan for a very long time; this did not happen overnight,” Ms Hart said.
The couple admitted that while $230,000 was a big figure, they believed their new purchase at Tamworth’s Landmark Classic Sale was worth every cent.
“Steven and I are not rich by any way, shape or form so we won’t be getting a new truck or caravan for a very long time,” Ms Hart said.
“We believe we have secured some fantastic bloodlines and we hope to come back to the sale bigger and better.”
A new era of breeding
The classic auction saw 578 of the horses sold out of the 630 registered for auction, with an average price of $14,772.
Overall the sale grossed more than $7 million, which Toowoomba auctioneer, Simon Booth, said was indicative of the quality of horses being produced.
“We’ve seen some very talented horses and horse people,” he said.
“The standard is getting higher and higher with people breeding these horses to sell them and training them through with that in mind.
Its own two feet
Despite drought across much of Australia and devastating floods in far-north Queensland, Hannah Murray of Landmark’s Equine Sales Support said the performance horse industry was still big business.
She said this year’s Tamworth sale attracted both local and international attention.
“The quality of the catalogue and the genetics of the horses is improving every year,” she said.
“We’re seeing the standard of competition is reaching a new high every single year that we come back, which is really exciting for us to see.
Ms Murray said the drought had little impact on prices and the majority of horses sold, with an 82 per cent clearance rate.
“We thought it [the drought] might have an effect this year, but this industry is really hard to pick and more and more standing on its own two feet and being less reliant on other industries, especially the cattle industry,” she said.
“The numbers are standing up, which is amazing for a year like this, especially with a lot of clients doing it tough either with the dry or obviously the terrible Queensland floods that are affecting our clients at the moment.”