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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — Spartacus, an 1,850-pound Brahman bull, is what Cyana Briles calls a gentle giant.

“He’s really just an overgrown puppy dog,” she said. “But I breed for this temperament.”

Briles raises Brahman cattle which sometimes has an ornery reputation.

“Spartacus is just really special and he’s got a great personality,” she said, rubbing under his ears. “He’s a great ambassador of the Brahman breed.”

He’s so gentle she started thinking the unthinkable.

“Could I ride him?”

Before she tried it out, she had to convenience Spartacus of the idea. She was able to do that gradually, by getting him to use to the saddle and doing what’s called “ground driving.”

“Ground driving is a pre-exercise to make sure he stops more than anything,” she said. But riding him would be a whole different thing.

“A little bit unnerving when you have a green person and green animal,” said Briles. “They say green and green equals black and blue.”

She brought professional animal trainer Terri Lindley from Oklahoma to do the honors and Spartacus was a natural.

“Everything Spartacus does is a great testament of who he is.”