By any stretch of the imagination, it was a case of horse-play that went too far.
And three schoolboys were left counting the cost after they decided to bunk off school and indulge themselves at the Goresbridge Horse Sales in the Republic of Ireland.
The students -- all seniors at Kilkenny College, one of the country's top Church of Ireland secondary schools -- decided a trip to a Careers Information Day in Dublin provided the perfect cover for "mitching".
While their schoolmates from the prestigious, fee-paying boarding and day school travelled by bus to Dublin last month, the three boys headed in an entirely different direction.
They changed out of their school uniforms and travelled by car the 15 miles to the horse sales in Goresbridge.
There, they assessed the dozens of colts and fillies on offer at the auction rooms of Michael Donohoe and Sons. For fun, they began bidding.
By the time they were finished, they had ended up as top bidders of three lots. Lot no 1305 was knocked down for them to €1,000, lot no 1310 went to them for €2,000 and lot no 1319 was also theirs for €2,000.
When sales staff asked for the identity of the purchaser, the youngsters gave the name of a fellow student at Kilkenny College and provided his address.
Staff at the auction rooms smelt a rat when they noticed that the three lots were not sent for re-vetting -- a standard practice by any buyer to ensure the soundness of a new purchase.
The home of the supposed buyer of the three lots was contacted and his parents were flabbergasted to learn of his apparent purchases. They managed to contact their son on his mobile and learnt that he was nowhere near the sales ring.
Further inquiries eventually uncovered the identity of the three Leaving Cert students.
Their actions were condemned by two horse breeders who had supplied two of the horses "bought" by the trio.
Michael Byrne, based in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, said he could not understand what possessed the boys to bid.
"It was an outrageous thing to do. Maybe they did it for a challenge, or God knows what," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Byrne's son Ciaran had spoken to the boys after they bought the three-year-old colt, but all appeared to be in order.
"The next day the mart rang us to tell us what had happened. We were treated okay by the mart -- as well as you could expect in the circumstances," Mr Byrne said.
Castledermot breeder Michael Pender said that he had prepared a three-year-old filly that had apparently been bought by the three youngsters.
"It was a nasty thing to do... Martin Donohoe from the mart rang my brother the next day and he was looked after," Mr Pender said. Mr Donohoe yesterday declined to comment.
All three boys are understood to have been severely disciplined by Kilkenny College.
Acting Headmaster Aubrey O'Keeffe said he could not comment on individual students.
"It's a private matter between the school, the students and their parents," he said.
Source Irish Independent