Can You Ride a Cow? | Do They Like It?

You may have seen rodeo shows with some cowboys riding and controlling cows. It’s not a scene that you can see every day.

You can help but admire those cowboys and think that this activity is only for experts like them. Will you dare to do it yourself?

Can you ride a cow? You can ride a cow just like other four-legged animals. But you have to train this animal since it’s not mainly for riding. It will be a slow ride, and the experience is opposite to when you ride a horse, mule, or mare, but cows are much sturdier. Thus, it’s perfect for kids and novice riders.

In western countries, cows are typically grown for food. Oxen, or the male cow, is still used in India and Southeast Asian countries.

Some people ride them over hilly terrains and small-scale farms where machinery is not available. To feed your curiosity, spend some time reading this article.

Do Cows Like to Be Rode?

Do Cows Like to Be Rode

It depends on the cow’s personality whether they like to be ridden or not. As testified by a rancher named Mr. Barry Viljoen from Orlando, Florida, cows have different personalities. A cow’s personality depends on how they were raised.

There are distinct cow senses according to Dr. Roy Burris, a professor at the University of Kentucky. One of them is making a cow do something that it likes.

For instance, instead of driving cows away in the direction that they should go, you can use a feed truck to make them follow you.

It’s the same with riding a cow, and that’s why you have to train them to be ridden at a young age. If they’re used to it, they won’t mind doing it.

Does It Hurt Cows to Be Ridden?

It doesn’t hurt cows to be ridden, as it’s a common activity in some places. Several news articles feature people riding a cow without problems. Hannah Simpson, an 11-year-old girl from New Zealand can ride their family’s dairy cow called Lilac.

The girl wanted to ride a pony, but her parents said that it was expensive. Instead, she tried riding their cow and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a common sight to see on ranches that adults ride cattle, just like an American-African riding a Brahman cow on one of the farms in Texas.

Cow trekking or riding a cow while sightseeing is one of the activities offered by Bolderhof Farm, located in Hemishofen, Switzerland. Visitors can be in this activity for 1.5 hours, 4 hours, or half-day. It gives people the chance to enjoy the Alpine landscape.

For successful cow rides, visitors whether adults or kids are given time to be acquainted with the cows. The next step is that each person should put on a helmet. Visitors must lead the cows out of their pens before climbing on the animals’ backs.

How Much Weight Can a Cow Carry?

How Much Weight Can a Cow Carry

You can be in the safe zone of putting 15% or 20% of the cow’s weight on its back. Apart from this percentage, you have to consider these factors:

Loin Width and Circumference of the Cannon Bone

Researchers based in Ohio found out that the weight-carrying capacity of four-legged animals is affected by the loin width and circumference of the cannon bone. When these parts are particularly large on a cow, there will be less muscle soreness.

Fitness and Balance

Fitness and balance refer to the cow and the rider. An unbalanced or unfit horse will likely find it difficult to carry the load on its back. Well-developed topline is necessary for cows to bear the load and decrease muscle soreness.

An unfit rider can also negatively impact fitness and balance. While the person tries so hard to figure out the correct sitting position and fights the feeling of muscle fatigue, the horse can lose its balance.

Duration and Work Intensity

Make sure that you choose a fit cow to ride. More effort is needed when crossing rough terrain and for a longer period.

What Breed of Cow Can You Ride?

Here are the cow breeds that you can ride:

Bovine Cows

Bovine Cows

Bovine cows are usually used for riding, working the land, and hauling. However, it’s a rare practice in developed countries since appropriate pieces of machinery are more efficient.

Zebu from Southeast Asia and Taurine from North America and Europe are the Bovine cows that are assigned for these tasks. Zebu cows are used to transport people since using oxen for the said job is common in its place of origin.

Highland Cows

Highland Cows

While highland cows have unusual orange fur and large horns, they’re docile and friendly. Hence, they can be trained for riding. There’s even a farm that makes it possible for kids to ride these cows.

Can You Tame a Bull to Ride Them?

Can You Tame a Bull to Ride Them

You can tame a bull to ride it. Bull riding or rodeo, considered an extreme sport, is common in some places like Western New York. Bull riders work hard to prove their worth in taming the bull and managing the overall quality of the ride.

Pros and Cons of Riding a Cow


  • Cows are hardy, and they can tolerate small injuries.
  • The center of gravity is relatively lower, so cows can go tread on steeper terrains well.
  • They move slowly, so it guarantees stability when riding them. It also means that they’re easy to ride.
  • Cows don’t trot or gallop, which can surprise or catch the rider off guard.


  • Cows are less agile and slower compared to hooved animals.
  • Their horns can pose danger when they’re agitated or angry.
  • There are chances that they’ll get scared since they’re prey species.

How Can You Train Your Cow to Give Rides?

When you intend to ride a cow, you have to train the animal yourself. It’s not only about teaching the cow skills but creating bonding. Unfortunately, no school provides this kind of training to cows.

You can learn techniques from a professional horse trainer, so the process will be easy and effective. But you should do the necessary training needed by the cow. Here are some ways to guide you:

  1. Since the training normally takes months to finish, you have to be patient. It takes time for the cow to learn. You should know that cows have good memories, so you’ll need to be gentle to them.
  1. Cows have different personalities as well as temperaments. Hence, you have to choose the docile one for ride training. Those that are aggressive are not only ideal for training, but for giving a ride as well.
  1. Apart from their behavior, you have to choose a calf instead of a mature cow. You can give some treats to the animals to establish a bond. Spending time with it is a way to have a close relationship and gain the cow’s trust.
  1. The calf should be familiar with your touch, so put your hands on its back and caress it. When the animal is at ease with this action, you can start adding pressure to introduce the weight that can be placed on its back. Do it gently.
  1. Keep pressing the cow’s back for a week or longer without missing a day. You’ll know if the cow trusts you and is not threatened by your presence.
  1. The next thing that you have to do is to climb on the cow’s back and stay for a few seconds. Continuously do it for weeks until your cow is comfortable with it.
  1. Ride your cow in an enclosed area free from any distractions.
  1. When you’re at this point, you can make reins for your cow. Let it walk from wall to wall and see its reaction when you pull the left and the right reins. Some cows learn quickly, and some need more practice.

You have to know the cow’s point of balance, so you ride and control it well. It’s on its shoulder, so if you want them to stop or go to the opposite side, move in front of the said point. 

If you want the cow to continue on its track, be at 45° with the shoulders. Don’t place yourself directly behind a cow as it can’t see you. It will wonder about the weight that is on its back.

  1. You can take your cow for a ride to areas that have less traffic and distractions. Make it a daily routine, as this animal is not made for riding. Even five minutes a day will do.

Can a Fully Grown Man Ride a Cow?

A fully grown man can ride a cow, given that he weighs 15% to 20% of the cow’s weight. Also, the person should spend some time with the cow even if it’s trained, just like what happens in farms that provide cow rides. This animal should be familiar to the person who rides it.

What Would a Cow Ride Be Like?

A cow ride is stable but at a slow pace. You sometimes need to wait for a cow to move once something catches its attention. 


Although it’s surprising, you can indeed ride a cow. But it’s best to ride it with the cows that are trained for rides. You can train a cow yourself or experience it on farms that offer cow rides. The ride is slow, but it’s the ideal pace when you want to enjoy the view.

List of Sources

Alfred State to Host Bulls and Barrels Rodeo

Guidelines for Weight-Carrying Capacity of Horses

What Is “Cow Sense”?

The Riding Cow

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