A local auction barn was overwhelmed Friday when a record number of horses were delivered and sold in the wake of one of the worst droughts on record.
At final count, 763 horses from Texas, Kansas and Georgia were taken to the monthly horse auction produced by Rusty Addison held at the Stephenville Cattle Company.
Friday's auction broke the previous record of 550 horses sold in August 2010, according to co-owner of Stephenville Cattle Company Cheryl Moore.
About 350 horses are sold each month at Addison's auction.
Horses were sold at prices ranging from as low as $1 to $3,000 at the sale that lasted 10 hours.
Lines of more than 60 trucks and gooseneck trailers extend for more than a mile down Highway 281, and Erath County sheriff's deputies were dispatched to control traffic.
Mike McBarron brought seven horses to Stephenville from his Kaufman ranch to be sold and is calling the drought's affect on the horse industry "catastrophic."
"It's sad to see the horse industry in the state it's in today," McBarron said. "Being a horse trader and rancher is all about adapting, overcoming and improvising, but right now all we can do is sell everything we have."
J.A. and Kathy Hinsley of Denton have raised horses since 1972 and sold the remainder of their herd Friday.
"We hate to sell out, but the stock tanks are dry and there is no hay to feed," J.A. Hinsley said.
Numerous other ranchers also cited the effects of the drought as the reason for selling their horses.
It was good news, however, for those looking to buy a horse.
Erath County resident Kylee Hudson, 24, attended the sale and left with a $30 pony she said would sell for $250-$350 at a typically monthly auction.
Meanwhile, Stephenville resident Lindsey Sykes purchased a female pony for $15.
"It's really bad out there," Hudson said.
It is difficult to speculate where all of the horses bought Friday will end up, but Moore believes many of them will be used in rodeos and as ponies for children.
Amanda Kimble contributed to this report.