A 15-year-old girl denied a horse from her parents has turned to a cow to fulfil her riding dreams. Teenager Regina Mayer, from southern Germany, is able to ride her cow, Luna. She has even trained her bovine pet to soar over a beer-crate hurdle like a regular show jumper. Why, you may well ask, when most cow-owners are surely content to let the creatures chew and lactate and sit down to indicate the imminent arrival of rain? Well, Regina's parents wouldn't let her have a horse.
Of course Regina could have chosen to ride a tried-and-tested elephant, camel, or even ostrich. In the Galapagos islands children can ride giant tortoises and turtles; in Vietnam, you can hop on a water buffalo; in China, you can trek astride a yak; and some native peoples in Mongolia and northern Russia ride reindeer. Zebras, however horse-like, are generally unresponsive to training – though in 1891 a certain Captain Horace Hayes apparently broke a mountain zebra stallion for his wife to ride.
But is it cruel to ride a cow? Possibly, says the RSPCA. "Regina's cow looks quite docile," a spokeswoman said, adding that this is the first time in 10 years that she's encountered a show-jumping cow. "But we'd be worried about any potential damage to her udders. Riding a cow is definitely not something we'd recommend."