Every day after school, Ahmed trains with Rihanna for about 30 minutes, where he slowly raises the obstacle higher to test her limits.In the small village of Belqas in Egypt’s Nile Delta, a 14-year-old boy and his pet donkey are causing quite a stir.
Ahmed Ayman, who lives on agricultural land belonging to his family, has been training his donkey Rihanna to jump hurdles.
Every day after school, Ahmed trains with Rihanna for about 30 minutes, where he slowly raises the obstacle higher to test her limits.
At first he was just using Rihanna to run errands for his late grandfather, when one day she jumped on her own accord over a small stretch of water.
“When it was still a foal I didn’t know how to ride her at the time. But my uncle taught me how to, and then I started using her to run errands. And then one day it jumped, and after that I started training her. Foals are known to be light on their feet and my uncle encouraged me to try jumping over barriers with her, and so we did and she jumped,” Ahmed said.
His family, who often sit and watch Ahmed and Rihanna jump, say the young rider has a real talent.
“Ahmed is extremely smart, but here our resources are very limited. For example we do not have any scouts around who can enter him into this field (horse jumping). We want officials that are responsible for horse jumping sport to get him involved because if he enters this field he will succeed,” said Ibrahim Wahby, Ahmed’s uncle.
The land on which Ahmed lives has a modest-sized barn and other animals like goats and cows.
But Rihanna is the one getting the most attention.
Another of Ahmed’s uncles, Sherif Abdelwood, said Ahmed’s skill in riding shows he would be able to ride a horse.
“Horses are much smarter than donkeys. For example, if we get him a horse, not even an Arabian horse, one that is sturdy, he will be able to train with it,” he said.
Ahmed and his family say they dream one day he will eventually work professionally with horses.