Determination has paid off beautifully for one German teenager. Denied a horse by her parents, she quickly made due by riding – and teaching to jump – an animal at hand … in her case, a cow named Luna.
"She thinks she's a horse," Regina Mayer 15, told the Associated Press from her home in the pastoral countryside near the Austrian border. And Luna acts like a horse, too.
"She was really well behaved and walked normally," Mayer said of training Luna shortly after she was born two years ago. "But after a couple of meters, she wanted me to get off! You could see that she got a bit peeved."
Repeated training, rewarding with treats and constant cajoling turned Luna around. Jumps over beer crates and painted logs followed, and Luna now responds to commands of "go," "stand" and "gallop" – that is, if she feels like it.
"When she wants to do something she does it, when she doesn't, she doesn't," said Mayer, who admits that Luna thinks of her as her mother. Like any child, Mayer says of Luna, "She's often very headstrong but can also be really adorable."
At least she's cute to Mayer. To her fellow and sister bovines, as well as to genuine horses, the jury is still out.
"Cows don't really like her," says Mayer. "They're jealous because she always gets goodies." And the ponies? They either run away scared or, more to the cow's liking, they hop the trail and ride along with Mayer and Luna.
Notes Mayer, "She really enjoys that and gets totally into it."