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Horses to find new homes through MU horse auction

Thursday, November 6, 2008 | 7:06 p.m. CST; updated 7:21 p.m. CST, Thursday, November 6, 2008
Emily Newsom coaxes Barney to step over a board on the ground of the MU Horse Barn. Barney’s skills are being honed to prepare the horse to be sold in the MU Animal Sciences Division online horse auction taking place now until Nov 13.

COLUMBIA — Bam Bam sniffs the trailer apprehensively. The gray gelding tosses his mane and hoofs the ground, sending a cloud of swirling golden flecks in the sunlight. He slowly places two feet in the trailer, pauses and then steps the other two feet up. For Bam Bam, Sunday's lesson of entering a horse trailer was a success, and he rewards himself with some hay.

Bam Bam, a yearling quarter horse measuring 14.2 hands, is one of nine horses that will be finding a new home in the upcoming weeks. The Animal Sciences Division at MU is holding its second online horse auction, which will end Nov. 13.

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There are 22 horses at the MU Horse Farm. Nine of them make up the breeding herd. Of the nine being auctioned off, there are six yearlings, two 2-year-olds and one 4-year-old.

The horses are bred, raised and trained by students. Marci Jennings, MU equine instructor and extension specialist, said that there are 10 students in the behavior and training class, six students in the barn management class and 28 volunteers who feed the horses throughout the week.

"The horses are worked with by a variety of people," Jennings said. "Our students range from novice to those who have been around horses their entire life, so the horses are very well-rounded."

Each of the horses up for auction has been paired with a student for the semester. Jessica Abell, a senior at MU, has spent the semester with Dino, a year-old gelding who seems to enjoy chewing at his wooden stall.

"They have all made a lot of progress actually," Abell said. "For how old they are, they're ridiculously calm."

Abell said that all of their yearlings are now carrying saddles.

She said that the auction is a unique opportunity for potential buyers because they will also receive a professional log of the horses. The log details the horses' training and other details of its past.

Christine Jenkins, a junior at MU, works with two horses. Squeak is a 2-year-old mare that will be going to the University Teaching School, and Ariat is a weanling up for auction.

"He's a very sensitive boy now," Jenkins joked about Ariat, who was gelded a few weeks ago.

Jenkins playfully jokes with and teases Ariat as she grooms him.

"They have quite a bond with their horses, and the horses with their trainers," Jennings said.

Jennings said that, historically, most horses have gone to the western performance field. She said that some of the horses are bred more for pleasure while others are more the working type.

Proceeds from the auction will go to the MU Equine Program for horse care and teaching resources. Jennings said that last year's auction raised $10,500.

"We're striving to become a self-funded program, so this is our big fundraiser for the year," Jennings said.

Bidders can inspect horses, visit with student trainers and read training journals from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the MU Horse Farm. The farm is located east of Highway 63 on New Haven Road.

The online auction closes at 7 p.m. Nov. 13. More information and a link to the sales site can be found at MU's equine Web site.


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