On Marilyn Austin's 62-acre farm just west of Atlanta, Boss is boss. A registered quarter horse, Boss found his new home through the Georgia 4- H Horse Benefit Auction.
"He's become like a family member," Austin said. "I bought him because he looked like an easy horse to ride."
Boss turned out to be a very talented horse.
"My daughter rode him and qualified for the regional riding competition in Baton Rouge, La.," Austin bragged. "He's been a wonderful horse. I now use him with my horseback-riding students who ride in the Special Olympics."
Last year, the Austins went back to the auction and came home with another horse.
"He's not the multipurpose horse Boss is. But there's nowhere I can imagine getting that quality horse for that price," Austin said.
Reasonably Priced Expertise
"For me, it's one of the best ways to find a reasonably priced horse," she said. "I trust the specialists at the University of Georgia, and I know a little about his background. We've been very happy with our purchases."
1999 Auction and Events
This year's auction is Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Ga. It will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Arena.
The auction is conducted in conjunction with the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show. The horses are tax-deductible donations, and all proceeds go to the Georgia 4-H horse program and UGA equine research.
GEORGIA 4-H'er Amy Wheatley from Wilkes Couty, on "Cody F Bar" won first place in the 1998 show in the Jr. Hunter Under Saddle category.
"This year we have more than 20 horses to auction," said Laura Perry Johnson, state livestock specialist for the Georgia 4-H program.
"We have something for every type of horse owner," she said. "We have everything from a three-year-old Appaloosa mare and a three-year-old Arabian up to a 26-year-old walking horse for those who like trail riding."
A complete catalog of the horses to be auctioned will be available at the sale.
The auction is a great place for bargain hunters and first-time buyers, Johnson said. "Horses sell as low as $550," she said. "Our highest seller in four years went for $4,200."
The auction has a slower pace than most horse auctions, too. That makes it a good place for inexperienced horse buyers to learn the ropes.
"Many 4-H'ers buy horses at the auction," Johnson said. "We also get real horse traders who are looking for the bargains.
Proceeds Benefit 4-H Horse Program
"I'm almost scared to tell too many people about the auction, because that brings more bidders," Austin said. "But it's a great way to raise funds for the 4-H program."
Austin supports the 4-H horse program because it teaches more than riding skills.
"The 4-H program is primarily educational," she said. "They have the opportunity to compete. But they have to learn about horses, too. They have to have more than money and the ability to ride. It gives kids a good foundation in horsemanship in general, and they can go in any direction they want from there."
(Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)