Auction leaves ‘kill buyers’ empty handed |

Auction leaves ‘kill buyers’ empty handed

Courtney Diehl/Special to the Daily

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – A group of local horse lovers went to an auction near Steamboat Springs to save horses last week. They came home happy.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue supporters were joined last week by like-minded bidders at an estate auction that had more than two dozen animals crossing the sale block. In the end, all the horses found temporary or permanent homes, and none went into the trucks of a pair of “kill buyers,” people who buy horses at auction, then send the animals to Mexico for slaughter.

The idea was to get enough buyers to the auction to run up the prices for the animals to a point that made it unprofitable for the kill buyers to keep bidding.

In the end, the local rescue group bought seven of the animals. Four were adopted on the spot by people who were priced out of the bidding. The remaining three animals were taken to the rescue group’s facility up Salt Creek.

There, the animals were checked out by a local vet and found to be in reasonably good health.

Rescue group president Shana Devins said the next big project for the horses is foot care, since the animals apparently didn’t get much attention to their feet in the few years between the death of the original owner and the eventual estate sale.

But the hard work will come over the next several months, since two of the three horses now pastured up Salt Creek aren’t yet saddle-broken.

“We’re really happy to have them here,” Devins said. “But their journey has just begun.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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