B.C.’s wild horses put on the auction block

It was the wild horses’s eye that caught an auctioneer’s glance as he began calling out to bidders aiming for a deal in Kamloops, B.C.

An auctioneer gets bids on a horse at the Kamloops Agri-Centre this week: the province rounded up and sold about 20 animals for $170 to $230 each.

An auctioneer gets bids on a horse at the Kamloops Agri-Centre this week: the province rounded up and sold about 20 animals for $170 to $230 each.

It was the wild horses’s eye that caught an auctioneer’s glance as he began calling out to bidders aiming for a deal in Kamloops, B.C.

“She’s a pretty one,” Larry Jordan said. “Such a kind eye.”

“He can run, boys,” Jordan said about another wild-eyed gelding that charged from corner to corner in the small ring.

Not accustomed to being around people, about 20 horses were skittish as Jordan started his duties.

The animals had been rounded up around Deadman Valley and put up for auction by the province.

Wild horses are typically bought for processing into pet or human food. Slaughter is illegal in the United States but horse meat is Canada’s fourth largest meat export.

For prospective buyer Kevin Spears, the bidding went a little too high.

Spears, who lives in the Prince George area, said he bid about $100 for several of the horses that went through the B.C. Livestock Co-operative Association auction.

“They look like good horses,” Spears said. “If they went cheap enough you could make a go.”

Spears said he was looking to scoop up a feral horse for $100 or so in an attempt to break the animal for riding.

“It would give something for the kids to do.”

But he wasn’t a successful bidder for the horses that were likely abandoned by their owners.

In the end, the animals fetched between $170 and $230 at the auction. The province will not recover the $3,000 cost of rounding them up.

The Natural Resources Ministry hired a contractor last month to round up the rogue horses who fed on Crown range, often chewing new bluebunch wheatgrass down to the dirt as it grows in spring.

That can eventually kill the plant and invite noxious weeds.

Mark Canart, a regular cattle buyer, said he didn’t buy any of the feral horses Tuesday.

But he said the only market is for processing, adding that’s far more humane than letting animals out to starve on the range.

Canart said a run-of-the-mill broke horse might fetch $600 to $1,000 in the auction ring.

But the pretty, kind-eyed mare, her running companion and the other horses that once roamed free went for much less than that.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

People cheer after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office shows Ruben Flores, 80, who was arrested in connection to the murder of college student Kristin Smart at his Arroyo Grande home on Tuesday, April 12, 2021. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said the arrest warrants for Ruben Flores and his son Paul Flores were issued after a search of the elder Flores' home last month using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs. He said evidence was found linked to the killing of Smart but they had not yet located her body. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments, Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

This undated image provided by Matthew Pottage shows drought-tolerant succulents in a window box in London. (Matthew Pottage via AP)
Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. Female service members and veterans are blasting the way Canada's military police investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined virtually by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as they talk online to a group of front-line pharmacists from across the country to discuss the ongoing vaccination efforts in the fight against COVID‑19, from the Prime Ministers office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Most Read