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June 20, 2011

A moooooooving story

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Sidekicks come in all shapes and sizes.  We recently came across this heart warming story out of Germany so we thought we would re-post the story in honor of those who choose for their animal companions to be of a different breed.

AP’s Veronika Oleksyn reports from Laufen, Germany: When Regina Mayer’s parents dashed her hopes of getting a horse, the resourceful 15-year-old didn’t sit in her room and sulk. Instead, she turned to a cow called Luna to make her riding dreams come true.

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…

It all started about two years ago, shortly after Luna was born on the Mayers’ sprawling farm in the hamlet of Laufen, just minutes from the Austrian border. They started off with walks in the woods during which Luna wore a halter. Then Mayer slowly got her cow more accustomed to human contact and riding equipment.  About six months later, it was time to see how Luna would respond to a rider on her back. Mayer sat in the saddle, and all went as planned — at least at first.

“She was really well behaved and walked normally,” said Mayer, decked out in riding gear. “But after a couple of meters, she wanted me to get off! You could see that she got a bit peeved.”

Luna and Mayer are now soul mates, spending most afternoons together once the teen — who aspires to become a nurse one day — comes home from school. Their extensive routine involves grooming, petting, jumps and a roughly one-hour ride. That’s also the case in winter, when Mayer lovingly drapes a blanket over Luna to keep her warm.

Now, Luna understands commands such as “go,” “stand” and “gallop.” If she feels like it, that is. “When she wants to do something she does it, when she doesn’t, she doesn’t,” said Mayer, who proudly says Luna thinks of her as her mother. “And she’s often very headstrong but can also be really adorable.”

Mayer hasn’t given up her hopes of having a horse and may soon get one. But she says Luna will always have a special place in her heart.
Read more from Sidekicks

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