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Riding Cattle

Updated on March 6, 2017

Riding cattle is generally seen as a novelty or tourist activity. It is something many kids (or older folk) on a farm might try to do at some point. Just because, well, the cows are there.

In general cattle are much better as draft animals, pulling a cart. Unlike horses, they are reluctant to move quickly and they have very wide bodies. However with patient training cattle will learn to jump fences and carry out other more athletic activities.

So most people use cattle for riding largely due to the lack of a better candidate. Horses have a much smoother movement, which is far less jarring to the rider.

But as a challenge or parade novelty a steer or buffalo does make an impression.

Texas Jack

One famous example (see below) dates from 1939 and the New York World's Fair Texas Jack, and his mount a bull called Scandalous John travelled from Texas to New York to appear at the fair.

Modern Cow-girls

A number of girls have trained cattle for riding, for example:

  • In 2011, Regina Meyer (15) from Germany trained a cow called Luna to tolerate a bridle and saddle and even jump.
  • In 2016, New Zealander Hannah Simpson (18) attracted attention with her well trained Brown Swiss cows Lilac.
  • Also in 2016 Ceci Schoenenberger (15) from Utah saddle-trained a big black cow called Daisy.

Steer Riding

However, steer riding actually has quit a long history and steers can make very practical mounts. Native American Blue Duck is reputed to have ridden cattle on raids as their tracks were more easier concealed.

There has been a revival in this activity with some cattle such as longhorns being raised specifically for saddle use.

But if you look at the barrel "racing" steer below, you might see why a horse is generally a better choice.

Bull Riding

And of course there is the kind of cattle riding where the difficulty of the task is the whole point: rodeo bull riding.


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    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      There must be a reason why this hasn't caught on as well as riding horses or camels. Could be those horns on the steers!

    • Josak profile image

      Josak 5 years ago from variable

      Great hub. I just love the facial expression of the cow? (sorry I am city folk) in the first image, just seems bored. "Human on my back? eh ain't no thing."

      Voted up etc.