It’s a well-known fact that when you’re looking to buy a horse, you’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you finally find your prince. It’s just like dating or buying a house — what sounds great on paper is often very different in reality. And chances are you’ll come across these horses for sale in your search…

1. The one that feels like it’s about to take off

It was advertised as a “novice ride,” “totally bombproof” and “dope on a rope” — but the tense, snorting and sweating horse you’re sitting on feels like a ticking time bomb that could explode at any second. Maybe you’ve got a “hot seat,” maybe it’s having a bad day — or maybe the seller was cynically aware that only a novice would be naïve enough to buy the crazy beast. But whatever the reason, get off the horse. Get off now!

2. The one in the creepy, run-down yard

You’re convinced your satnav has sent you to completely the wrong place as the “yard” consists of a few derelict buildings, a big heap of broken furniture, and a lot of mud. A horse is mysteriously produced, apparently from nowhere, and true, it’s not the one in the advert you answered, being a 13.2hh mare, when you were after a 16hh gelding, but apparently it’s ‘just perfect’ for you. You leave, completely mystified by this random experience.

3. The one you just feel sorry for

You’re told it’s “been there, done that, and got the T-shirt” — and yes, it has, but now it’s so run-down and arthritic that you’re reluctant even to get on the exhausted-looking animal for a test ride. It looks like a canter might finish it off. You want to buy it, if only to stick it in a field so it can chill for the rest of its life.

4. The one that’s actually as described (so much so, it freaks you out)

This is that rare beast, the horse that lives up to its advertisement. It moves like a dream, is easy to handle, and better-looking than all of One Direction put together. You fall in love immediately. Of course, this is why the advert reads £POA — and when a price is named, your eyes actually start watering. Still, you can always re-mortgage your house, or sell a kidney — you only need one, right?

5. The one that doesn’t tick any of your boxes, but you’re viewing it anyway

You’re really not sure why you’re there. The horse isn’t what you’re looking for at all but there was something about the advert that persuaded you to pick up the phone and check it out. Whether it was the horse’s kind eye, a sense of hidden potential, or because you just loved its markings, your gut instinct told you it would be worth a look. There’s a good chance you’ll buy this horse.

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6. The one with the terrifying, overbearing seller

“I hope you’re not another time-waster. I’ve been let down so many times already,” the seller barks, before you’ve even got out of your car. You immediately feel guilty — and even though you can tell straight away that the horse isn’t for you, you feel obliged to go through the whole rigmarole of trying him and discussing his routine, all under the gimlet eye of a seller who’s determined that you’ll be the one to take this beast off his/her hands. Later, you send a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’ text, aware that you’ll be lumped in with those other ‘time-wasters’ who, like you, probably just didn’t feel the horse was right for them but were too scared to actually say so!