When Hannah Simpson was 11 years old she asked her parents for a horse, but they told her they were too expensive. But that didn’t dissuade Hannah from fulfilling her dream of riding. Instead, the young girl from New Zealand hopped on a Swiss Brown dairy cow named Lilac at her family’s farm and trained her to ride.
Seven years later, the pair can be seen regularly riding in the fields of Invercargill, on New Zealand’s South Island.
Hannah, now 18, recalls the first time she climbed on the dairy cow’s back. “Lilac was only six months then and I was just a midget,” she told the Guardian. “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.”
She’s since taught Lilac to jump, but says the cow will only do it if she wants to.
“I have always loved jumping, I always wanted to do show-jumping on a horse,” Hannah tells the paper. “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.”
Hannah says that she’s attempted to ride other cows with little success and that Lilac is truly “special” in that she loves to ride with her. The two regularly go on long walks together as well as river swims.