Friday 2 December 2016

The cow who thinks she's a horse

Published 05/04/2011 | 11:32

Regina Mayer jumps with her cow Luna over a hurdle in Laufen, southern Germany (AP)
Regina Mayer jumps with her cow Luna over a hurdle in Laufen, southern Germany (AP)

When Regina Mayer's parents dashed her hopes of getting a horse, the resourceful 15-year-old instead turned to a very different type of animal to make her riding dreams come true - a cow called Luna.

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Hours of training, and tons of treats, cajoling and caresses later, the results are impressive - not only do the two regularly go on long rides through the southern German countryside, they do jumps over a makeshift hurdle of beer crates and painted logs.

"She thinks she's a horse," Regina joked as she sat on the impassive brown-and-white animal.

Luna 's journey to become a makeshift horse began two years ago when she was born on the family's farm in the hamlet of Laufen, near the Austrian border.

They started off with walks in the woods, then Regina slowly got her cow more accustomed to human contact and riding equipment.

After about six months, Regina got in a saddle fixed to Luna's back for the first time, and said: "She was really well behaved and walked normally. But after a couple of metres, she wanted me to get off. You could see that she got a bit peeved."

But Luna and Regina are now soul-mates, spending most afternoons together once the teen - who aspires to become a nurse - comes home from school.

Their extensive routine involves grooming, petting, jumps and a one-hour ride.

Luna understands commands such as "go", "stand" and "gallop" - if she feels like it.

"When she wants to do something, she does it, when she doesn't, she doesn't," said Regina, who proudly says Luna thinks of her as her mother. "And she's often very headstrong but can also be really adorable."

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