A local Clydesdale broke the record for highest price paid at the National Clydesdale Sale in Howe, Ind., on April 26.
Mark, a 6-year-old gelding that Jim Poole of JFP Equine LLC in Waterloo owned for five months, was sold for $60,000 – shattering the previous record of $40,000.
Poole is a veteran Clydesdale owner, having been around large draft horses his entire life.
He was the manager of Clydesdale Operations at Anheuser-Busch for 25 years, and, after his retirement in December 2010, continued his work with the magnificent horses with his own operation, JFP Equine LLC.
Poole has attended this national sale every year for the past 30 years, but he said the “stars really aligned” this year.
“I’ve sold several horses through the sale, but none as good as Mark,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of having a sale-topper at this particular sale because it’s become a very classic, popular event.”
The sale is a three-day event sponsored by the Clydesdale Breeders of the United States that starts with training seminars, progressing into an equipment auction and finally the horse sale.
He didn’t buy any horses this year, but instead focused his time on presenting the Clydesdales he took with him to the sale.
“Mark was the star of the show,” he said. “There was always a line of people wanting to see him.”
For a gelding, or neutered male, like Mark, being a record breaker was a bit of a rare occasion.
Poole said generally the horses that sell for the most money are top-of-the-line breeding material and are purchased to start breeding programs.
“Usually, when people are interested in high-powered
geldings like Mark, they’re interested in hitching or competitions,” he said. “Totally different scenario with this sale.”
Mark was sold to a buyer out of Florida and will be ridden occasionally.
“He’ll be loved 24 hours, seven days a week,” he said. “He’s going to be the luckiest horse on earth.”
Poole has nothing but praise for Mark, and said he’s one of the best horses he’s ever had the privilege of working with.
“Spanning a career of decades in the draft horse business and hundreds of horses passing through my stables, this is one of the top five horses I have ever had the privilege to work with,” he said.
The Pooles have only lived on Kaskaskia Road for a few months, but Jim said he absolutely loves the Monroe County community and how welcoming everyone has been.
“The people in this community are absolutely wonderful to be around,” he said. “Everyone is willing to help you in any way they can.”
In his retirement, he’s started up JFP Equine LLC, which serves as a Clydesdale consulting operation for draft horse enthusiasts across the country.
Poole and his sons, Barclay and Brad, assist prospective buyers in finding a horse that meets their criteria.
The Clydesdales are generally on Poole’s 10-acre Clydesdale farm for five or six months from the time he buys them to the time he sells them.
That can vary, however.
“Occasionally, people will buy them and not have the facility ready to house them, so they’ve made arrangements to keep them here,” he said.
Poole said he started up JFP Equine to continue working with the magnificent horses he’s loved his whole life.
“It’s in my blood,” he said. “I wanted to do something to have a little fun, but it’s turned into something much more than I had anticipated. But now that I get into it, I’m really enjoying it.”
For Poole, the future of his operations look bright, as both his sons and granddaughter have shown great interest in Clydesdales.
He hopes they continue on in the future, just as his father introduced him to the great world of draft horses.
“My father came over from Wales at 17 years old and moved to Canada, where I was raised,” Poole said. “He’s been my inspiration for all of this. He’s one of the best horse caregivers I’ve ever seen.”
Because of Anheuser-Busch, Poole said the Clydesdale business has really taken off.
“It’s become a phenomenal experience for people who really want to get into it,” he said.