"KINDA sad" was how 10-year-old Caitlin Fogarty described feeling as her precious Welsh pony, Pinkie, went under the hammer at the annual Warwick Rodeo Horse Sale on Friday.
The eight-year-old pony, which was broken in by Caitlin and her mum Bronwyn, sold for $2000 at the auction.
A resolute Caitlin said parting with Pinkie was tough, but part of the process of growing up.
"I am too big for Pinkie now and my brother Declan is too little," she said.
We saw good prices for quality horses and, as always, the ponies on offer attracted considerable buyer attention.
"But we are looking for a bigger horse for me right now."
The children's pony was one of three offered among more than 60 ridden horses at McDougall and Sons Rodeo Week sale.
Auctioneer David McIvor said this year's sale had been a success with an increase in prices.
Greymare horse breeder Scott Bloxsome sold this year's top-priced horse, an eight-year-old quarterhorse mare called Smarty Felina, which was bought by a Victorian buyer for $8000.
Tamworth's Tim Cone also enjoyed success selling a four-year-old Australian Stockhorse mare for $4600 to Warwick businessman and polo player Gerard O'Leary.
"This year we limited the number of ridden horses we auctioned to just over 60," Mr McIvor said.
"Last year we had 90 and the market was saturated so we limited numbers this year and it resulted in a significantly better sale.
"We saw good prices for quality horses and, as always, the ponies on offer attracted considerable buyer attention."
Other notable transactions from the ridden sale included a second Australian stockhorse mare from the Cone family stable, which sold for $3300.
Rob Leach from SDM Quarterhorses at Goondiwindi also sold a three-year-old mare, Posado Diana, sold for $3500.
Mr Leach said the Warwick sale was the ideal opportunity for people keen to invest in a riding horse, without the high price tags of some of the specialist performance sales.
Mr McIvor said the penned horses had also sold exceptionally well on Friday with considerable interest from New South Wales and Queensland buyers.
"We had more than 200 penned horses this year, which was up from 175 last year and represents our largest number ever," he said.
"Overall we were happy with the sale.
"I think quality horses sold well and we had a significant number of repeat vendors combined with a lot of new buyers."
220 penned horses averaged $280 at Friday's sale.
While 42 ridden horses sold for an average $1900.