St James horse sale draws large crowd

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Keeping an eye out . . Hugh Dampier-Crossley in the yards with some of the St James horses put up for sale. Hugh says he was very happy with the sale and the condition of the horses on offer.PHOTO: TERRY KING.

By AMANDA BOWES

An iconic kiwi station, a still summer’s day, a huge crowd and a top price of $10,000 for an unbroken station horse, provided the perfect mix at the St James Station horse sale.

Nestled in the Clarence Valley, a record crowd turned out for the two-yearly sale behind Hanmer Springs, where temperatures soared above 30 degrees.

Not just a horse sale, but a social gathering from near and far, the sale saw all horses – unbroken two- and three-year-olds – sell for an average price of around $3100.

The horses are renowned for their toughness and are sought after by those wanting a horse for hunting, jumping, three day eventing, endurance or events like cavalcades.

Peter Walsh & Associates (PWA) were auctioneers for the day and were kept busy by the enthusiastic crowd of buyers. Alby Orchard, from PWA, said the 27 lots were met with “buoyant bidding” with most horses having at least two to three buyers chasing them, sometimes five.

“We were very happy with the result on the day. There were buyers from Papakura to Southland with 120 registering,” says Mr Orchard.

The St James horses are managed and owned by the Dampier-Crossley family, who try to keep the herd at around 80 animals.

The station is now owned by DOC and since cattle are no longer on the property, the young horses have grown out well with most growing to around 16hh by the age of three.

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 Ida Valley.

Hugh Dampier-Crossley says they are bringing the horses in more often than they used to and graze them periodically around the buildings to act as “lawn mowers” and get them used to yards, people and activity.

The stallion used for the past few years has been a home bred one, but he will probably be replaced by an outside stallion for the next generation – either a cross-bred or a thoroughbred.

The young horses that sold this year were transported by a deer transporter to begin their new lives off the high country.