Horse News

Sale of 829 Montana Horses Moves Forward Undaunted

Story by Jan Falstad of the Billings Gazette

Domestic Horses Seek Forever Homes

Montana Department of Livestock inspector Travis Elings, left, places a numbered neck band on a horse as U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northern International Livestock Exposition and Crow Tribal officials work to start sorting, identifying and banding more than 800 horses belonging to Jim Leachman on March 24. The horses fill corrals at the ranch, with new foals being born daily ~ photo by LARRY MAYER

Planning started in earnest Tuesday to set up for this weekend’s sale of as many as 829 horses on a ranch east of Billings.

The sale of the horses formerly belonging to James Leachman of Billings is an ambitious undertaking.

“We’re basically taking a six-month process and cramming it down to four days,” said Justin Mills, executive director of the Northern International Livestock Exposition, which is assisting the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the sale.

The BIA confiscated the horses for trespassing on tribal lands and is selling them April 2 and 3 to pay the bills racked up to feed them, round them up and prepare them for sale.

Rick Young of Absarokee was hired as the auctioneer for the sale at the Home Place ranch 16 miles east of Billings. The sale is expected to attract thousands of people, including buyers from as far away as Wisconsin and Texas.

As many as 44 people will handle the sale, including eight from Rick Young & Sons Auctioneers. The rest of the crew will be employees of the BIA, the Crow Tribe and the NILE.

After the preview day Friday, a handful of horses will be in the sales ring and the high bidder gets first choice of horse. Then the second-highest bidder will get a choice, and so on.

“There may be four or five in the ring at one time, but technically they will be sold individually,” Mills said.

Logistics include setting up a big tent, sound and video systems, backup computers, three or four food concessionaires, a dozen toilets and a possible bus service from the parking lot to the sales barn.

Gates must be set up to control the flow of the hundreds of horses. The sale requires a veterinarian to draw blood for Coggins tests. Out-of-state buyers must prove the horse doesn’t have a contagious viral disease called equine infectious anemia before they can haul the animal across state lines.

Horses that are registered with the American Quarter Horse Association in Amarillo, Texas, are more valuable for breeding and showing.

But NILE horseman Ward Fenton said probably only the horses carrying Leachman butt brands, as many as half the horses, can be registered. The AQHA is not guaranteeing registration.

“The colts last year definitely have no record, and the colts bred this year will have no records because they were just bred to these 2-year-old studs they were running with,” he said.

Leachman has been charged with 14 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, which carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a fine of up to $7,000. He has pleaded not guilty and a jury trial has been set to start June 3.

Leachman had until 5 p.m. Tuesday to redeem his horses by paying for the expenses they have accumulated since the massive rescue effort began several weeks ago.

Click (HERE) to view listing of Horses for Sale

13 replies »

  1. I think we all know where most of these are going to go, the kill buyers will be all over this.

    Lets see if the AQHA and HSUS step up to helpf these horses.


  2. I am so hoping Madeliene Pickens steps up for this …………………… To expect anything from HSUS I think is futile……………………..These horses so deserve a break……………..These horses have suffered enough from the cruelty of man they are innocent………………….of any wrong doing, it is horrible they will lose their lives because of a series of horrible events that took place, that should have not happened to them, again we are their caretakers I just feel horrible for them………. I pray for a miracle for them……………………….


  3. This just makes me sick to my stomache! POS owner and innocent horses suffer as a result-so shameful!

    Couldn’t say 10 horse groups come forward and take 8-9 horses a piece? Trucking them to slaughter is such a horrific end!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Nice to see they are bringing them into the ring in groups. These horses are be no means tame and this will help to keep them quiet.

    Would love to see someone step up to pay for DNA testing on them so parentage can be determined.


  5. Where do the kill buyers figure into this? Can some of these horses be sold to slaughter? It seems a shame to put all that money and effort into them only to have them sold to slaughter.


  6. While there are many of us who can nothing but pray for the best possible outcome for unfortunate horses there is something we can do to change horse history. It will take Reason, Money and Marches to mail petitions to make America safer for horses. Together, we can do this.
    4% Fair Tax Averages on America’s 9.2 Million Horses
    Replaces Horse Slaughter with Logic and Value

    A. *Horses under 501©3 is 0.00 tax until Adopted.
    B. *est. $1,200 valued horse in range of $300-$2,500 is $48 tax.
    $48 x 4mhorses = 1billion.9m.2k Revenue
    go to Petition
    site, for more figures.
    This is vast revenue to pay for land, training, and wages for Committees to
    oversee America’s horse industry, including reclaiming the Wilderness Preserves
    for Our Mustangs.
    Sanctuaries should not only foster horses but should be learning facilities to
    teach responsible horse ownership. Sanctuaries become county revenue builders
    as fees are paid for horse adoption, trail rides, horseback riding lessons, and
    host competitions. Ideally, Sanctuaries should adjoin Federal land already
    utilized by equestrians or with promise to do so, such as land owned by The Army
    Corps of Engineers, State Parks and National Forests.


  7. I am very proud of us, Montana’s! this past winter we have more then stepped up to the plate and helped, adopted, etc.! now is the time for the rest of the country to step up and start doing!!!! yes these horses NEED NEW HOMES, i agree with that, then you all need to step up and DO IT!! no more crying in your milk, start doing!!
    Be there at that auction, be there for those horses and MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE GOING TO NEW HOMES! DO NOT HAVE A PITY PARTY, GO OUT AND DO!


  8. There’s that Department of the Inferior again:

    Fiscal Resources

    The Crow Tribal Government is financed by Tribal Priority Allocation Funds for tribal administration granted by the federal government, interest income from a judgment fund, coal severance taxes, and numerous leases, rights-of-way and other encumbrances of tribal lands. The trust assets of the Tribe are jointly managed with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and must be managed in accordance with federal regulations. All funds derived from tribal trust assets are managed by the Department of Interior, Office of Trust Funds Management.


  9. Do we have someone that will be onsite adopting these horses? Can we help with monthly pledges or something? I live in an area where board is outrageous. I don’t ride anymore but to save a life and pledge funds might be something more within my range. Aside from my city ordinance would have a field day with me if I brought home a horse much less my neighbors!


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