17 animals bred and raised by students sold
On June 24, the 25th Annual Production Sale auctioned off 17 animals — 15 horses and two mules — which were bred and raised by UC Davis students. The students were accepted into one of two six-month horse-based management internships. With around 200 people in attendance at the auction, in addition to bids that had been placed over the phone, the sale raised close to $50,000, a record-breaking total.
The money raised will support and maintain the UC Davis Equine Teaching Program. Dan Sehnert, the facilities coordinator for the Animal Science Department, helped organize the first horse sale 25 years ago and has remained involved in the subsequent auctions. Sehnert said the money raised from the sale is vital to the maintenance of the UC Davis Horse Barn, which hosted the sale.
“Something that a lot of people don’t know is that […] the only funding we receive to operate [the Horse Barn] is for the salary of the barn manager,” Sehnert said. “We don’t receive any money whatsoever for feed, for veterinary care, for bedding [or] for supplies. The money raised in this sale helps offset those costs.”
The day’s events included a preview of the animals, a dinner — which served top sirloin steak courtesy of the Meat Lab — and the auction itself. During the preview, the student-interns answered questions about the animals they had worked with over the past two quarters.
“A big thing in the horse world is pedigree — we had to learn those bloodlines,” said Alyssa Atilano, a UC Davis alumna and one of the nine foal managers. “Mostly, as we found out, people wanted to see how they moved. In the horse world, if people don’t buy your horse, it’s most likely going to go into an auction and you have to make him or her look good.”
Dr. Amy McLean, the equine operations supervisor, also helped to promote and organize the auction. McLean worked with the students throughout the courses of their internships.
“The students have been here, some of them, from the time the horse was literally conceived — they were responsible for breeding,” McLean said. “They were there when it was born, and they spent the last six months of a lot of these horses’ lives preparing for the auction. It’s really amazing to […] go from the very beginning of the process to when they’re then trained and ready to find a new home.”
Atilano said that as part of the internship, one or two students were assigned to a yearling and two to three people were assigned a pregnant mare; her yearling was a Quarter Horse.
“He was a perfect gentleman by the time the auction came, he really showed off,” Atilano said. “He didn’t act up at all during the auction. Ultimately, he was bought by someone who wants to use him for trail riding in Oregon. I’m really happy with how that turned out, I think that he will be happy over there.”
Deanna Overton, another one of the foal managers and a UC Davis alumna, said that watching the sale of her yearling was bittersweet.
According to McLean, the average sale price per animal was around $2,822. The animal sold for the highest bid was the Andalusian weanling, which sold for $8,600. The third highest-selling horse was bought by the father of one of the interns.
“She did an outstanding job training this horse,” McLean said. “I thought that was really nice to see one of the students directly involved in the program having her family’s support and giving back to the program.”
Dan Macon, the assistant specialist for rangeland science and management in the Department of Plant Sciences, who has served as auctioneer for 24 of the production sales, conducted the auction again this year. Compared to the very first year of the sale, Macon said the quality of the breeding has improved immensely.
“They’ve all been successful,” Macon said. “But this one really set the mark.”
Written by: Hannah Holzer — firstname.lastname@example.org