What's a budding equestrian to do when she cannot afford a horse? Improvise! That's what 19-year-old Hannah Simpson from Invercargill, New Zealand did when her parents broke the news that she would not be getting a horse for her eleventh birthday. Rather than pouting and pining away for an equine, Hannah made due with what she had - a six-month-old dairy cow named Lilac! Seven years later, the pair are inseparable and Hannah has even taught Lilac to jump!
In an interview with The Guardian, Hannah described her first ride atop the Swiss Brown heifer:
“Lilac was only six months then and I was just a midget. It was a dare from my brother to jump on and she seemed OK with it so we kept going. Before then I’d only ridden a pony twice, and a sheep.”
Today Hannah and Lilac take scenic daily rides through the outskirts of their lovely South Island town. Recently she decided it was time to take the heifer's training up a notch. She taught Lilac how to jump, and it turns out she's fabulous at it! According to Hannah, she can scale obstacles up to 1.4 metres high - pretty impressive!
There's just one small problem: Lilac only performs when the mood strikes her.
“She is a cow and I can’t expect her to ride like a horse. Without a bit of prodding she wouldn’t really do anything, she has a very chilled-out nature.”
Lilac is not a fan of cantering or going up or down hills, she also tosses Hannah off whenever she doesn't feel like cooperating. But her long-time friend doesn't take it personally, and Lilac does seem to enjoy bush-walks, long river swims and jumping.
“I have always loved jumping, I always wanted to do show-jumping on a horse,” said Hannah. “And Lilac 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.”
Despite her stubborn attitude, Hannah wouldn't trade Lilac for any horse in the world!
"...I don’t need to compete. She is more special than a horse, more rare.”
H/T to The Guardian
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Featured Image via Facebook/Hannah Simpson