My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The 2018 National Clydesdale Sale

A few months ago, my friend Queenie and I attended the 2018 National Clydesdale Sale, a yearly auction held by the National Clydesdale Association (  The venue had moved to a new location this year—the new Michiana Events Center (The MEC) ( in Shipshewana, Indiana.  The vendors set up in the open area of the MEC, and the horse auction was in the colosseum area on the other side of the L-shaped building.

The first photo is the front cover of the auction brochure.  It shows the highest-selling horse from last year—a mare—which brought $45,000!  The second-highest-selling mare in 2017 brought $29,000.  The highest-selling stallion brought $8,200, while the highest-selling gelding brought $18,500—which surprised me, since geldings can’t be used for breeding, but they seem to be favored for parade and show horses.  Notice in the pictures that the Clydesdales have braided-up manes and their tails are twisted into a sort of bun… This seemed to be the common practice.

Queenie is an animal lover, so we spent a couple of pleasant hours at the Saturday auction in the colosseum.  There was a mixture of Amish and “English” people in the stands, but mostly English in the VIP area at one end of the arena.  The Clydesdales are about the same size as the draft horses that the Amish use in the fields, but the Amish prefer Belgians, or occasionally Percherons.

One thing that surprised us was the wide range of prices for animals that (to us) seemed quite similar…  The first gelding we saw went for $33,000—but later ones of the same age and appearance (to us) went for as low as $2,500.  We figured it must have something to do with their pedigrees.*

Almost every horse was described in detail in the brochure.  Notice the difference between horse #45, “Rex,” and horse #46, “George’s Cristal’s Kid.”  Horse #46 has the extensive pedigree which apparently increases the value and sales price.  Quite a few of the horses came from Canada, and the rest from various American horse farms, mostly in the Midwest.

Many of the horses were described in terms of their looks, and also in terms of being broke to pull a wagon single or double, or as part of a larger team.  Some were described as being great prospects for winning prizes at the fall WCS (World Clydesdale Show).  Others were described as being good brood mare or stud prospects, or well-suited for farm and field work, and often in terms of their personality or intelligence.


Here is a link to a little of the action at the sale…

* A footnote about prices:  One of my readers said that prices can vary widely due to factors such as pedigree (quality show animals); training; proven success in prior shows; conformation; and/or proven breeding or proven brood mare capabilities.

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