BUYERS shrugged off the crippling drought to drive near-record sales at the annual Landmark Classic Campdraft Sale in Tamworth.
Even the most optimistic vendors were expecting the economic uncertainty surrounding the farming sector to compromise prices at the three-day sale.
But takings were only marginally down on last year’s record as $4.55 million was spent on 400 horses at a healthy average of $11,286 each.
Curlewis breeder Raelene Higgins, of Authentic Quarter Horse, was the toast of AELEC after selling her two-year-old stallion, Highway To Hell, for a sale-high $70,000.
The stallion, by imported USA sire Duel Rey out of legendary Australian mare One Hellofa Spin, was snapped up by a Queensland buyer.
Ms Higgins said although she knew Highway To Hell was an outstanding horse, it never entered her mind that he would top the sale.
“I just took a quality horse there and hoped that other people would appreciate it,” she said.
“I’m really happy with the price considering the way the economy is. It’s dry and everyone is feeding stock and I really expected it to be quite a tough sale because a lot people are in drought.”
Earlier in the week Landmark’s national livestock director Mark Barton told The Leader he would be satisfied with sales totalling anything over $4 million.
So to reach $4.55 million – just short of last year’s record of $4.75 million – was a pleasant surprise.
“With the economic and seasonal situation in rural Australia, we would have expected a significant impact on the value of horses,” he said.
“But the quality of the horses and the confidence in the market generally has meant that we’ve been able to realise a sale that was actually a bit better than 2012.”
Mr Barton said the campdraft sale had come at the perfect time to remind people in difficulty what it was they loved about the industry.
“I’ve had a lot of people say that things have been tough at home, but they’ve organised to come here and get away from the pressures of feeding and watering stock for a bit,” he said.
“There’s also an element of people saying that maybe this year there was an opportunity to buy, or look to try and buy, horses superior to what their budgets could afford normally.”