A team of registered Gypsy Vanner geldings brought $100,000 as the highest sellers. Hip Nos. 138 and 139 were consigned by Quarter Circle 4R Ranch Horses, of Cody, Wyoming. • Photo by Jann Parker

Team of Gypsy Vanner Geldings Brings $100,000 at Billings Livestock Auction

A broad selection of recreational mules, teams, draft crosses and trail horses headlined Billings Livestock’s Spring Special Catalog Sale, featuring outfitters, guides, trail and guest horses on March 23, 2019.

Two days of performance and ride previews paved the way for one big sale day as 436 head of horses and mules were offered, with only 24 no sales. Ten out of the top 20 selling horses were draft or draft crosses, with the top 20 averaging $13,912. Horses and mules were available for every budget, and 51 head of cataloged stock brought between $2,800 and $4,700.

The stars of the show with a $100,000 sale price were Hips 138 and 139, a pair of registered Gypsy Vanner geldings. The two horses, which were three and five years old, were offered by Quarter Circle 4R Ranch Horses, of Cody, Wyoming. The fancy duo were broke to drive single or double, had been driven in parades, were used as a feed team on the ranch and came traffic safe. They were ridden by novices on trails and on the ranch, and came gentle, kind and willing. This one-of-a-kind team sold to Wells Ranch, of Gill, Colorado.

Second highest-selling honors, with a $19,000 final bid, went to Hip 49, Hancocks Hand, a 2011 American Quarter Horse Association sorrel gelding by Sasabes Apache (out of JA Miss Cracker Hand x Docs Cracker Dowdy). “Happy” was offered by Schmitt Horse Ranch, of Holland, Iowa. Gentle and kind, this family horse had been ridden on the trails, used to move cattle in the pasture and was a “been there, done that” kind of guy that sold to Denise Edmonson, of Phoenix, Arizona.

Pete and Jill Houck, of North Branch, Minnesota, offered Hip No. 115. Big Sky, a 2006 grade bay roan crossbred gelding, had been Jill’s personal riding horse. Good-as-gold, Big Sky had been ridden everywhere — from trail rides to hunting trips — was tolerant and forgiving, and sold to David and Vickie Lyon, of La Grande, Oregon, for $17,000.

The day’s top selling mules with a $7,600 sale price were Hip 70 and 70X, Ricky and Lucy. The fancy team sold to Rueben Miller, of Moore, Montana.

Hip 193 and 193X, Dutch and Dutchess, were a 6-year-old Paint/draft cross gelding and mare consigned by Colton Thorson, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Both were broke to ride and drive. Used in parades, sleigh rides and hooked to all types of farm machinery, they stood 16.2 hands and weighed 1400 lbs. The well-matched team brought $11,000.

Black Mountain Outfitters, of Emigrant, Montana, offered 11 head from their outfitting business, including Hip No. 60, Hudson, a Grullo Paint John mule that was broke to ride or drive. The flashy, well-built mule brought $4,300.

Overall catalog sale averages include the top five at $31,650; top 10 at $20,325; top 20 at $13,912; top 50 at $8,833; and the top 100 averaged $6,223. Loose horses remained strong on a light run as 138 head were offered with 92 head prospected out in that division. The top loose horse hit $2,900, with a top five average of $2,620; top 10 at $2,275; top 20 brought $1,867; top 50 at $1,277; and top 100 averaged $895. Twenty head on the loose brought $1,000 or better, with 14 head bumping $1500-plus.

Billings Livestock’s next sale event is set for April 26 & 27 and includes the Spring Rope Horse Sale. More information can be found at