Round 'em up: Local cowgirl's 'different' hobby
RIDING horses was never an option for Meagan Neumann, so she had to make do with cows.
Growing up on her parents' dairy farm near Theebine, the Gympie High School student was "about 6 or 7” when her hobby of chasing calves around their pens led to discovering that they didn't mind jumping over obstacles.
The 16-year-old was soon training some of the more easygoing cows to interact with her and get comfortable with her climbing aboard.
Her father Garry said he was initially miffed to see the cattle allow his daughter to ride them.
"She used to chase them around the pen and put sticks up to make them jump over,” he said.
"Then she decided she'd start riding them and it went on from there.
"She starts at them when they're about 4 months old, and they're just happy to leave her, and she'll just sit on them.
"At first, I was surprised they let her do it, but they actually take a bit like a horse.
"They get used to it after a while.
"Now she rides them all the way through the paddocks and they don't worry too much.”
Mr Neumann said Meagan's unusual hobby occasionally attracts the attention of passing motorists.
"It's not a very common thing,” he said.
"Sometimes people will pull up when they see her out in the paddock and take photos.”
While the Year 12 student has fallen off the cows "a few times”, she said it's "not that hard” for her to stay upright without a saddle.
"I've had a few good busters,” she said.
"One time I was coming down the driveway full-pelt and something was flapping in the distance, so the cow hit the skids and I fell off pretty hard.
"I've come off a few times, but I've never been injured.
"If they buck, they buck.”
The teen said she's always been happy with her compromise, and embraces the fact that her interest is a little unique.
"I was never allowed a horse, and the cows were here, so I just started riding the cows,” she said.
"A lot of people say it's a bit different, and that they've never seen anything like it before.
"In the future I want to take them out to events and stuff and ride them around for people to look at.
"I reckon people would love it, it's pretty unique.”