The herd of recipient mares days after the auction.
Tim Jennings of Professional Auction Services says the mares are open due to Marshals taking over Rita Crundwell’s herd in May. Each was initially listed in the online auction with a minimum bid of $400, however the mix breed mares, while valued for their foal carrying abilities, and mothering skills did not get the necessary bids.
Known for producing halter horses, Tallent says he purchased the mares at last weekend’s live auction because they are “good, usable productive mares.” At first glance, it may look like Tallent practically stole the small herd, but he will ship the ladies halfway across the country to his North Carolina farm. The mares will do for him what they’ve been doing – carrying foals and being moms. “They’re good for the larger halter horses, and they’re proven.” Tallent Quarter Horses purchased 15 of the 19 mares. He says three additional mares were bought by Luke Castle’s operation.
It is hard to say what bred the negative speculation regarding the fate of the mares, however, the chatter made it from the internet to the American Quarter Horse Association’s office, according to Tallent. What we do know is that every potential bidder at the auction was required to sign a contract with the government stating:
“The Buyer of a horse or embryo agrees that he or she is not purchasing the horse or embryo for slaughter or for any person who plans to use the horse or embryo for slaughter. The Buyer further agrees not to use, or allow the use of, the horse or embryo for slaughter while in his / her / its ownership or control.”
Professional Auction Services and Tallent took being good stewards of horses a step further for the 19th mare, who couldn’t make the trip due to founder. Tallent says they donated funds for her life’s care to a rescue chosen by Jennings. “We really feel like we did right by all of these mares.”
The Crundwell auctions netted just over $6 million according to U.S. Marshals. Crundwell is the former Dixon comptroller accused of stealing $53 million over 20 years to fund her horse showing habit. Marshals have sold her horses, tack, equipment, and luxury motorhome to date. The proceeds will be held in escrow until the federal case wraps up. She has pleaded not guilty to a single count of wire fraud. The state charged her with 60 counts of theft last week.