Invercargill teen who rides cow 'wasn't allowed' a horse

We've all heard about the cow jumping over the moon - but how about a cow jumping over a log?

A jumping cow is normally something you only hear about in children's nursery rhymes, but this tale's for real.

A South Island teenager free-rides her cow like a horse - that means cantering and jumping - on the family farm.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Simpson is a real cow girl - she first started free-riding her beloved Lilac five years ago.

And now the pair can be seen jumping over logs on the family farm on the outskirts of Invercargill.

"I've always loved adventure and I wanted a horse but I wasn't allowed one - so I think it was actually a dare from my younger brother so I just jumped on and I went," Hannah said.

The six-year-old Brown Swiss dairy cow was born and raised on the farm, but she didn't need to be taught to jump. Hannah says it was clear from the start Lilac had her heart set on it.

"I knew she was a good jumper because when she was younger, like only a few weeks old, she always jumped out of the cow shed - so we had to put blocks up against the gate to stop her jumping over."

Standing around 1.4 metres-tall, Lilac sure has a large personality, and although there can be times when she misbehaves, slow and steady wins the race.

"It depends on her mood I guess - sometimes she loves going up the road and down the river. She gets bored being ridden on the farm so new places she loves," Hannah explained.

And if you thought jumping for could be bad for a cow, it turns out it's quite the opposite.

"I don't think it will do any harm for the cow as long as it's ridden for the right reasons, and if anything it's probably good for the cow to get out and do something different," vet Sunita McGrath said.

And that means the pair won't be stopping anytime soon.

"I definitely couldn't imagine ever getting rid of Lilac - she's definitely not for sale."

And with brown Swiss cows living to as old as 25, who knows? Lilac might even one day take a shot at dressage.