By ROBYN BRISTOW and DAYNA BURTON
There was huge interest in the two-yearly sale of St James Station horses last Saturday.
The average price for the 20 unbroken 2 and 3-year-olds was $2600, with the top price being $5600, for a 3-year-old gelding.
There were 100 registered buyers and a gallery of 600 at the sale in the Clarence Valley, behind Hanmer Springs. Prices were down on 2017, when the average price was $3100 and the top price $10,000.
The horses are renowned for their toughness and are sought by those wanting a horse for hunting, jumping, three-day eventing, endurance or station work.
They are run in the St James Conservation Park, with the herd of about 80 managed and owned by the Dampier-Crossley family under an agreement with the Department of Conservation.
Auctioneer Alby Orchard, from Peter Walsh & Associates, said buyers came from throughout the South Island, with three from the North Island. Demand was strong, with many repeat buyers returning because of the solid reputation of the horses.
The horses are weaned as yearlings and have some basic handling in the yards.
Colts are gelded and the youngsters selected for sale are run in the Ada Valley. The horses are mustered and travel 55km to the venue, over several days. Sales: Lot 1: 3-year-old female, $1500; 2yr (f) $2500; 3yr gelding $5600; 3yr (gelding) $2700; 3yr (f) $3200; 2yr (f) $1000; 3yr (g) $3300; 2yr (g) $1000; 3yr (f) $2800; 2 yr (g) $2000; 3yr (f) $3000; 3 yr (g) $1400; 2 yr (f) $3000; 3yr (f) $3200; 3yr (g) $2100; 2yr (f) $2300; 2yr (colt) $2000; 3yr (f) $3600; 2yr (f) $3600.