For the week of June 9, 1999  thru June 15, 1999  

Women of the West sell horses

Sale highlights horses and women

Express Staff Writer

u9horse.jpg (9563 bytes)Auctioneer Bill Lefty and rancher Katie Breckenridge presided over the sale that she founded.

At the Women of the West performance horse sale over Memorial Day weekend, Picabo rancher Katie Breckenridge was queen for day.

Breckenridge sat atop the auction stand along with renowned California auctioneer Bill Lefty. Breckenridge introduced horse and rider. Lefty started the bidding.

"Fifteen hundred, fifteen and a half." Lefty paused and looked out over a sea of cowboy hats and baseball caps. "Two thousand on this nice mare, two thousand to you sir."

Ringmen Robbie Schacher from Boise and Jerry York from Denver paced around the sale ring, searching the crowd for buyers. Ranchers set their price with subtle nods of the brims of their cowboy hats. The ringmen dressed in white shirts, jeans, neckties and cowboy hats threw up their hands and barked out bids back to the auctioneer.

During a lull in bidding, Lefty worked the crowd of about 100 people.

"She’s only three years old. She’s got some cow in her, some pedigree in her, and she steps over a log, not leaps over."

"Twenty-one fifty, twenty-one and a half, what do you think sir? Twenty-two, twenty-two, twenty-two fifty. When I say sold it’s too late." Lefty pauses, trailing off like a horn player holding a note, then slams the gavel down. "Sold!"


Five years ago, Breckenridge took two of her colts to a horse sale in Reno Nevada. Bill Lefty was the auctioneer.

"I felt women weren’t getting the same hype that men were getting," Breckenridge said.

During the drive back to Idaho Breckenridge decided to put on her own horse sale.

"I was real impressed with Bill," Breckenridge said. "I could tell he was a straight shooter and an honest person."

A partnership was in the making.

"When I got home I called Bill and asked him if he’d be the auctioneer at my horse sale and he said yes."

Four years later, the B-Bar-B Women of the West performance horse sale has become an annual event in Blaine County.

For Breckenridge the affair is more than just equestrian in nature. It is a showcase and recognition of the important role that women have played in the development of the West.

"I think it’s about time for women to be recognized for their ability in the horse industry and all facets of the ag industry," Breckenridge said. "Women of the West know how to raise kids and cattle. They’re part of the backbone of our western culture and way of life."

According to Breckenridge, the Women of the West horse sale provides an opportunity for women to market horses in a professional atmosphere.

"I feel very strongly that many people want to get into the horse business and buy a horse, and they need an honest atmosphere in which to do this."

The Women of the West horse sale, according to Breckenridge, combines the best of both worlds.

"The sale provides the opportunity for women to market our horses and for people to buy horses in an honest atmosphere."

This year’s sale featured some of the finest performance horses from Idaho, California and Oregon.

One horse, a chestnut gelding named SD Sand Mann, sold for $9,250 and was the high selling horse of the day. Owner Karen Parton of Burley commented in the program that her daughter was graduating this spring and had to reluctantly sell Sandman so she could pay for college. "He is guaranteed sound and whoever buys him will love him as we have."

The sale also featured horses bred and raised by Breckenridge and fellow rancher Rob Struthers.

Over the years, Breckenridge said, people have purchased their horses for many different jobs—roping, cutting, team penning, ranch work, pleasure riding, pole bending, reigning and working cow horse events.

B-Bar-B horses are raised with Breckenridge’s philosophy—develop a trust with your horse by being as honest to them as they are to you.


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