New Zealand Girl Trains Cow To Fulfill Dream of Having A Horse

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When New Zealand teenager Hannah Simpson was 11 years old, she wanted a horse more than anything in the world. But when her parents told her a horse would be too expensive, she didn’t whine and cry about it. Instead, she got the next best thing, a pet cow.

For the last six and a half years, Hannah has been riding a Swiss Brown cow named Leila, who has become her best friend. It was actually the suggestion of her young brother, Tim, that Hannah give riding Leila a try.

“We just jumped on and away we went, there was no training. And she’s got better the more I ride her,” she explains. Before that, her only riding experience was a couple occasions on a pony and once on a sheep.

Hannah works at a dairy farm and has tried to ride other cows aside from Leila, but with little success. There appears to be something special about Leila that allows Hannah to ride her.

In fact, Hannah has even taught Leila to jump obstacles, much like a horse would do. Video evidence of Leila jumping can be found on Hannah’s Instagram account.

“I have always loved jumping, I always wanted to do show-jumping on a horse,” Hannah explains. “And Leila was always jumping out of the cow shed when she was young so I think she likes it, too. We started her off with stepping over logs and it just got bigger and bigger.”

Of course, Hannah knows that riding Leila isn’t the same as riding a horse, and she admits to being thrown off quite a few times. “She is a cow and I can’t expect her to ride like a horse,” Hannah says. “Without a bit of prodding she wouldn’t really do anything, she has a very chilled-out nature.”

Ironically, a couple years ago Hannah finally got the horse she wanted. But after years of riding together and learning to jump together, Hannah still prefers to ride Leila as often as possible.