Callaho crowd breaks the bank


Recession… what recession?! The horse industry is alive and kicking in cold Christiana, South Africa, with the Callaho 2016 auction seeing a record-breaking R11 510 000 come under the gavel this weekend. Riding horses averaged R261 829 a head over the 41 lots, with a low price of R80 000 and high of R730 000, and R70 456 over the 11 broodmares (with three lots being withdrawn).

Lissabon continues in his sixth breeding season here to reproduce his trademark flashy looks, with many of his progeny shopwing versatility over all disciplines. This is no surprise, as he finished his breeding career in Germany in the top 1% of all jumper sires and top 10% of dressage stallions, making him on of the best dual-purpose sires of warmblood stallions across all studbooks. The Lourdanos son retired last year from his show jumping career, and will be debuting in the show arena with legend Clare Marcus’s daughter Alexandra next month. The highest price of the auction, R730 000,  went to his son, Callaho Lucetto, out of a Cassini I / Caletto II line.


But the second highest price , R600 000, went to the leggy Lot 23 Callaho Coneisha, a Con Coriano / Granulit / Esplendor xx daughter. Con Coriano continues to breed excellent bold jumpers, earning his keep after having been retired from competition under Callaho rider, open show jumper Rainer Korber. International dressage sensation Benicio sees his limited-edition children going for good money, not only because of their paces and sensitivity, but because as all good athletes they continue to show ability over fences as well as on the flat.

Other stallions used in this vintage include Namibian sire Consuelo, Lord Z, and the now deceased crowd-favourite For Joy, all extensively proven stallions both in their own right and in breeding.

Callaho continues to improve their breeding pool by passing on broodmares in foal to their exceptional stallions; indeed this is the only way to get your hands on any possible Callaho stallions, as they do not sell semen direct to breeders, and geld all colts before sale. They do this to consistently upgrade their own dam lines, which saw international damsires in Weltmeyer, Zeus, and Escudo I, to name but a few within the immediate pedigrees. As any good breeder knows this is utterly essential, with geneticists estimating more than half of a foal’s quality being influenced by the dam as opposed to the sire.
A few older horses were also available, perhaps being left to mature or establish schooling before sale, as well as a couple of lots who were sold “voetstoets” with disclosed veterinary issues (such as a broken molar), under Callaho’s generous offer of only paying once they are vetted 100% sound again.
Many horses went to previous, obviously-happy Callaho buyers, and several top-money youngsters were bought as junior prospects.

Highlights of the event include the free-jumping on the Friday evening, as well as the stallion parade on the Saturday prior to auction, a prime opportunity to see stud stallions Casparon, Larison, Corinth and Sampras in action under their competition riders, as we have yet to see their progeny on auction (and are waiting in anticipation!).

  • Callaho Larison (Larimar x Ma Cherie I x Calido I)


There was a lovely tribute to their aging Calando mare, G-Cerise, who produced six wonderful progeny for this auction alone, obviously through their embryo transfer programme run by De Bruyn Equine Reproduction Specialists. In her honour, Highveld Horse Care reproduced a grey fluffy “Harriet” The Horse, who was auctioned off to help contribute towards their hospital facilities currently under construction.




Harriet the Horse going on Auction



The evening culminated in the traditional braai, booze, and boasting in the indoor, as everyone congratulated or commiserated together on yet another incredible weekend in Christiana, a credit to the Callender-Easby’s and the fantastic hand-picked team who show what happens when knowledge and quality meet one another in ambitious development – top production of horses for amateurs and professionals alike.


  • Find out what ‘extra’ costs you are in for. Most auctions you need to factor in VAT at 14%, as well as administration fees which can push the price up by as much as 20% on top of the gavel price.
  • Although horses have been ‘vetted’, this does not guarantee the cleanness of vet check. Try get hold of the full report and x-rays ahead of time for your own veterinarian to check out.
  • Understand what level the horses are being sold under – many auctions sell horses in various states of schooling, from just-backed to competition-ready. Consider that you may need to hire a professional to produce the horse further for you once it is home when you are considering what to spend.
  • As such, take the time to try the horses on the specific ‘try-out’ days. It is not enough to ask someone else what the ride is like; just like your best friend wouldn’t want to marry your husband, you may not like the horse once you sit on it!
  • Try not be subjected to fashions: overseas black horses can go for up to 15% more than chestnut horses, based on looks alone! New sires, taller horses, and pretty horses all tend to fall into this category, so you might get more value for money with the more-talented but less-handsome horses.
  • Have a budget and stick to it… have a strict wife sit on your buyer’s card if need be. Yes – this really happened!
  • Try not to drink too much at auction – this sounds obvious, but there are a few impulse purchases every year that are only remembered the next morning at breakfast!
  • Remember how much time is normally taken with private sales. People usually try, vet, and bargain extensively before committing to a horse, so beware of ‘auction fever’ and the misleading idea that “oh, it’s just another ten grand” when you are already way over budget. It is well documented over ALL types of auction where suddenly buyers are pitted against one another, and no horse should be considered a regret.