No Mention of Money Back to Donors
The sale of 829 horses on a Crow Reservation ranch that was touch-and-go for weeks ran smoothly on Saturday.
The sale, believed to be the first of horses impounded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for trespassing on tribal lands, attracted 1,000 people, including 200 to 300 buyers to the ranch 16 miles east of Billings.
BIA Regional Director Ed Parisian said trespassing cases just never get this far, so this sale is special.
“If your livestock is trespassing, you move them. We’ve never been here before,” Parisian said.
The mares with last year’s babies brought $300 to $800 even without registration papers with the American Quarter Horse Association.
The horses formerly belonged to James Leachman of Billings and were seized by the BIA after he failed to move them off the Home Place ranch. Leachman had until 8 a.m. Saturday to pay the bills to round up his horses, feed them and prepare them for the sale. When he didn’t, the sale started as scheduled at 10 a.m.
The rest of the horses will be sold as fast as one a minute Sunday starting at 10 a.m.
Despite the depressed horse market, more than 200 buyers from a dozen states plus Canada showed up for Saturday morning’s sale of 829 quarter horses on a ranch south of Billings.
Bureau of Indian Affairs regional director Ed Parisian said there are too many on lookers in the sales ring.
“There are people who want to buy, but can’t get in to buy,” he said.
Last month the BIA seized the Leachman horses for trespassing on Crow tribal land. Parisian said this is the first trespassing sale in Montana.
The bidding began at 10:10 a.m. after a prayer in the Crow Indian language and mares were going for about $300 to $500.
It was standing-room-only in the area where Rick Young Auctioneers of Absarokee was selling horses at a clip of one every 60 seconds. More than a dozen people were watching the sale on a television in a large tent nearby.
Late Saturday morning, a pair of Canadians led the active bidding.
“You’re never going to see these many foundation-bred Quarter horses in one place again,” said Cory Wilson, of Meadow Lake, Alberta.
He and another buyer drove 900 miles for the horses and hope to fill a tractor-trailer rig with 40 horses to drive back to Canada. They paid a top bid of $800 for a roan mare at 10:30 a.m.
R.T. ~ “I have watched this case since the beginning and when all is said done, it is a heartbreaker on so many levels. People from across the country rallied to help these horses survive when Leachman criminaly turned his back on them and shut down his moral compass. For months both local and distant organizations and individuals reached into their pockets to feed these horses and now that the Crow are putting them up for sale there is no mention of the tens of thousands of dollars that were donated to keep these horses alive being returned. Nice rosey, fat deal for the Crow don’t you think?
And although I am confident that many of these horses will find good homes due their strong blood lines and high prices being paid but the bulk will surely make it across the boarder to the slaughter plants in Canada, it is heartbreaking.
One single human being started this avalanche of equine suffering moving and even though decent folks managed to hold the disaster at bay for a bit, in the end, they get kicked in face…not by the horses but by the Crow. Totally reprehensible.”
- 800 Montana Horses Head to Auction Block (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Tribal horsemen round up hundreds of Mont. horses (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Hay dropped to starving horses at Montana ranch (sfgate.com)
- Authorities airlifting hay to starving Montana horses (reuters.com)
- Ranchers rally to save starving horses (msnbc.msn.com)