Manitoba horse fetches top price at Alberta sale

Thomasina Arthur has been selling horses privately most of her life, but ‘Drifter’ is the highlight so far

Thomasina Arthur and horse Drifter.

A registered quarter-horse buckskin gelding from the Parkland region was the top-selling horse at an Alberta horse sale this April.

‘Drifter,’ owned by Thomasina Arthur of Rossburn, Manitoba, fetched $20,000 at the eighth annual Top Gun Horse Sale at Ponoka, Alta., which was held as a timed online auction between April 6 and 10.

Arthur said she was proud to see the horse be the top consigned lot, which earned her a belt buckle.

“I’m new to consignments, this was my first time involved in the Top Gun Horse Sale, and only my second consignment ever,” she said. “I’ve been selling horses privately most of my life, as the thought of riding a horse in a ring used to bring shivers down my spine.”

Arthur owned Drifter for two years during which she barrel raced, team roped, ranched and rode him in a feedlot setting.

“I make a living on horseback and currently ride at Hamiota Feedlot,” she said. “Presently I own five saddle horses and one year- ling.”

Drifter was born in Virden to breeder Chelsea Driedger and trained by the Plett family in Grunthal. Although he wasn’t for sale at the time, Arthur said she knew she had to have Drifter as soon as she saw him.

Arthur described Drifter on the sale’s website. “For the last two summers he’s seen lots of miles and cattle at a 2,500-head community pasture then at a 3,500-head ranch… used for all aspects of herd health. Currently used daily at an 8,500-head feedlot… we’re a team, my go-to horse, truly worth his weight in gold. It has been the highlight of my life to swing a leg over this gem but a change of discipline forces sale. My program is more focused on cow horses now and this guy shouldn’t sit.”

The 2021 Top Gun Horse Sale offered a large selection of quality horses. Eighty horses were consigned with the top five averaging $18,700 and the top 10 horses averaged $17,500 thanks to 500 registered online bidders.

One of Arthur’s cow horse mares also was sixth-highest seller out of 30 lots at the Best of the West Sale in Saskatoon, Sask. last September.

Arthur said about 1,000 hours were put in on these last two sale horses. Drifter and the Top Gun Horse Sale have been a highlight of her life thus far although a future goal is to be involved in the largest monthly horse sale in the United States, held in Billings, Montana.

Although online worked for her this time around, she feels an education in advertising helps, and how one markets a horse is more important than ever since the coronavirus pandemic.

“I sure do miss the people and all the excitement that comes with the in-house sale,” Arthur said. “I feel that camaraderie is the heart of the horse industry and I doubt it will ever be replaced by computers.”

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