Aston, the bull who thinks he is a horse

(Viéville-sous-les-Côtes) “Look at all the people in the world who ride animals like ostriches, camels, elephants…”.

At the foot of the vineyards of a village in the Meuse, in the east of France, Sabine Rouas takes an early morning outing riding her bull, Aston, which advances with a peaceful step.

At the wheel of his van, a man stops, taken aback, mobile phone in hand, to immortalize the scene.

At each of its outings, Aston triggers the same reactions and Sabine Rouas likes to laugh: “Frankly, I didn’t invent anything! “.

As soon as it pokes its nose, this singular bull attracts attention in the region and far beyond. On social networks, Sabine’s husband, Yannick Kirschhoffer, is responsible for giving as wide an echo as possible to her exploits: 62,000 subscribers on TikTok, 90,000 on YouTube and almost as many on Facebook.

The story of Sabine and Aston begins with that of a bereavement, that of the competition horse of the emeritus rider. “Every rider in his life has a special relationship with a horse. When he died, I didn’t want to hear about horses anymore.”

At that time, Sabine was living in Luxembourg in a building next to a farm. As the days go by, she observes the ballet of the cattle and the idea comes to her to contact the farmer “to find contact with the big animals”.

“I still had trouble with the horses, I missed their contact. So I went down to the farm and saw this cow who was more interested than the others. I started brushing it. I saw that she was intelligent, that she was learning to give her paw, to say hello, to respond to her name”.

For Sabine, it’s a revelation. When the cow gives birth to a male calf, she buys both animals.

“For me, this is the beginning of hell”. In the rush, Sabine has to find a place to put the cattle. “I was told that I was completely crazy and it’s true that I knew nothing about it”.

“It weighs 1.4 tons and has its character! »

The former commercial executive with a strong character sticks to her idea: as with the cats she trains, she believes in the special bond that exists between humans and each animal. And thinks that training Aston might not be a bad idea. Sabine clings to this bond and… to her reins: she falls 38 times in 3 months while trying to unstuff the bull.

But she quickly detected encouraging signs. “Seeing me ride horses, Aston wanted to do the same thing,” she says enthusiastically. “By observing them, he learned a lot from their behavior so we played on mimicry”.

The result ? Aston, now nine years old, jumps small obstacles, performs lateral movements, canter.

“When people see that, they tell me that Aston thinks he’s a horse and it’s true: he likes to imitate them. Afterwards, I can only make him do what he wants to do: he weighs 1.4 tonnes and has his character! If he jumps obstacles it’s because he likes it! “.

“I often say it, in terms of education, it’s a lot like the cat. They are similar in character.

Aston’s success prompted Sabine to present it at equestrian shows, to develop the “Aston, the Bull” brand.

“Today people contact me to find out how to mount their cattle, I advise them. Aston plays in movies… I still can’t believe it. Aston is known even in Japan! “.

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