Local Clydesdale first to be sold at Mecum auction

Pictured is Jim Poole with his Clydesdale named WaterLou, who sold at auction during a special event in Davenport, Iowa. (Sean McGowan photo)

His four white legs, beautiful black mane and tail, and bright bay color put him “right up there, quality-wise” with some of the record-breaking Clydesdales Jim Poole of JFP Equine Inc. in Waterloo has auctioned in the past.

With a white blaze on his face, he weighs a little more than a ton and is best described as “challenging” and “mischievous.” On April 7, local Clydesdale WaterLou — a 4-year-old best-of-breed Clydesdale gelding — made history as the first of his kind to be sold at a Mecum Auctions event.

“It went really well. I’m confident they’re going to continue this trend in the future,” Poole said.

Mecum Auctions’ Gone Farmin’ Spring Classic typically includes the sale of tractors and collector cars but also featured WaterLou at this year’s event in Davenport, Iowa. Poole said one of his friends with connections to Mecum Auctions made the arrangements.

“They were talking about Clydesdales and my friend mentioned JFP Equine. I thought it would be fun,” he said.

After starting JFP Equine in 2011 — in which he sells Clydesdales and offers consultation to those interested in investing in the Clydesdale industry — Poole made a record-breaking $60,000 sale in 2014. He tied that record in 2016.

“It’s hard to compare them,” he said of the National Clydesdale Sale and Mecum event. “It’s apples and oranges.”

Regardless of the format of the event, Poole said he and Mecum Auctions worked well together in getting WaterLou ready for sale. 

“They did a phenomenal job of promoting him prior to the sale,” Poole said. “It was great.”

Poole sold WaterLou to a couple living on a ranch in Idaho. While he declined to share the sales total, Poole said WaterLou performed well in front of thousands of people.

“When they had him come out onto the track, he just stood there very still behind the podium loving every minute of it,” he described. “People loved him. They were all cheering and clapping.”

Leading up to the event, Poole said he, employee Doug Fog and Poole’s son Barclay spent about six weeks driving WaterLou and grooming him to prepare him for the auction.

“He’s intelligent. That’s just a fact. It’s the way he is,” Poole said. 

WaterLou’s name started out as “Lou” and was later changed to WaterLou after one of the first gasoline-powered tractors out of Waterloo, Iowa known as the Waterloo Boy.

“It’s a play on the fact that horses were the original tractors,” Poole explained. 

Following the success at the Mecum event, Poole and his employees are working diligently to get two Clydesdales ready for the National Clydesdale Sale slated for April 26 in Shipshewana, Ind. Poole described Apollo and Zeus as “two beautiful specimens.”

“We’re hoping they do well. I’m hoping they beat Torch’s record,” he said of the Clydesdale sold to tie the record in 2016.

Poole’s Clydesdales maintain a diet of oats, flaxseed, rice bran, and vitamins and minerals. More information on his business is available at experiencehorsepower.com.

Clydesdale horseshoes measure more than 20 inches from end to end and weigh about five pounds, which is more than twice as long as shoes worn by a riding horse. The horses are most commonly a bay color — characterized as reddish-brown with a black mane, tail, ear edges and lower legs.

Anheuser-Busch turned these “gentle giants” into a marketing campaign in 1933 shortly after the repeal of Prohibition. They continue to serve as a symbol of the quality of the brewery’s production through the years.

Poole worked as Clydesdale operations manager at Anheuser-Busch for 25 years, during which he oversaw expanding operations to breed and raise more horses.

“I knew all my life I wanted to work at Anheuser-Busch, and I got to do that,” he said. “I also knew all my life that I wanted to do what I’m doing now. It’s a fun thing for me. I always make sure they go to good homes.”

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