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Zebras Doing Horse Work

Updated on December 9, 2017

It may be easier to use a plain old horse to ride or pull a cart. Horses are a species with a long history domestication, and herd animals that stay in groups even when startled, which makes them so much easier to herd, train, and handle. Zebra will tend to scatter when pursued and can be extremely intractable. But let's face it -- for extra style points, you just can't beat a zebra!

Riding Zebras

They are certainly more challenging to train, but plenty of people seem to have tackled the job.



Osa Johson, and her husband Martin, were well-known explorers. Osa is shown here in Africa riding her trained zebra (1930).

But, taking it one step further, MrsAlice Hayes rode her zebra sidesaddle (also shown in an engraving here).

More recent examples include"


  • An unknown Englishman pictured riding a zebra over a jump (~1890) is shown below.
  • Rosendo Ribeiro, a doctor, was known to get around on zebra-back (1907)
  • "Laffin Leslie" rode a zebra in Berkshire in 1935.

More recent examples include:



In a picture dating from around 1930 we see circus owner Clifton Sparks, his son Clifton Sparks junior and his granddaughter on the back of a zebra.

The Sparks family ran the Sparks Circus from 1889 to 1931. The show was founded by John Sparks and continued by his sons Charles and Clifton. The Sparks circus was known to be free of gambles and cons, and to put on a good show.

Three generations of the Sparks family
Three generations of the Sparks family | Source

Zebras Pulling Carriages

Or for a change of pace, you can train zebras to pull carriages.

Walter Rothschild

Rothschild kept a large collection of animals and specimens. He was known to hitch one or as many as four zebras to draw carriages.


Mr. Gustav-Grais

This picture from around 1915 shows a zebra pulling a carriage in Brixton (United Kingdom). This zebra was used to promote the show of music hall artist Mr. Gustav-Grais.

See Also

In Art:


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    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      5 months ago from Beautiful South

      This is interesting and unique. And I thought I was unique because I got to ride a zebra when I was about the size of the little Sparks girl in one of the photos. Barnum and Bailey came to our little town in the Ozarks and were unloading at our local train station. My dad took me down to watch the animals unload. I was 3-years-old. A circus employee started talking to us, and then he picked me up and put me on a zebra's back. He led the animal around the train yard for a little while. Since I was a little farm girl, I enjoyed the ride. That has been one of my brags ever since. Thanks for bringing back a great memory.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      What a unique and so interesting hub.

      I love anything to do with animals/nature etc.and this one was a treat .

      I now look forward to reaing many more by you.

      Take care and have a great day,



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