Co-operative cow makes headlines

Southland teenager Hannah Simpson rides her dairy cow Lilac on her family's farm in Otatara this week.

FIRST a video of Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt riding a scooter goes viral, now a Southland teenager riding a cow is attracting worldwide attention.

A video of dairy worker Hannah Simpson (18) jumping her cow Lilac bareback over a log posted on Instagram two weeks ago has attracted nearly 5500 views. The post had since drawn national and international attention from media outlets including The Huffington Post, Australia’s Channel 9News, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and Fox News, and has now been viewed by over 400,000 people worldwide.

Hannah said she was surprised by the response.

Hannah Simpson and her cow Lilac
Hannah Simpson and her cow Lilac

“I usually get about 50 likes. It is kinda cool, I guess.”

Hannah started riding Lilac, a Swiss Brown dairy cow, when she was about 12 and Lilac was six months old.

When Lilac was only a couple of weeks old, she would often jump out of the cow shed, she said.

One day her younger brother Tim dared her to ride Lilac, a challenge she took him up on.

“…any crazy adventure, I will try it,” she said.

“I found out I could [ride Lilac]…and it was fun… so I kept going.”

Lilac can now jump over obstacles such as gates and logs up to about a metre high, she said.

“I think she enjoys it.

“If she didn’t want to do it, I couldn’t make her.”

She had always wanted a horse, but her parents would not let her get one, so riding her favourite cow was the next best thing.

Hannah now has a horse and although the horse is faster, she said she still preferred to ride Lilac because she was “different and more chilled out”.

Lilac was not the only unorthodox animal Hannah had tried to ride.

She had also tried riding goats and sheep until her parents put a stop to it.

Hannah said the seven-year-old dairy cow had produced several calves, but her progeny had not shown the same inclination for being ridden.

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