Anna Salandar, from Båstad, Sweden, is an amazing 11-year-old with an unsual hobby. At an age when kids prefer to play video games, Anna is learning to jump hurdles like a horse – on all fours.
Anna’s unique hobby is her own choice; she wanted to be able to run and jump using all four limbs. When she was younger, she wanted to resemble her grandmother’s dog, Peggy. When she got older, she thought it would be more fun to be like a horse.
Pretending to be like a horse might sound like fun, but it involves a lot of hard work for Anna. She began her training without hurdles; she first had to perfect the art of galloping. It was important to get her arms and wrists strong. Once she got a hang of galloping, she started with low barriers, about 30 to 40 centimeters high. Over time, she has managed to increase the height to 110 centimeters. The biggest challenge for Anna now, is to jump several consecutive obstacles. “It is very hard, so I get tired in the arms and need to rest,” says Anna. Despite this, she practices every single day.
Sports physicians warn that jumping on all fours can cause serious injuries. They say that the human body is not designed for such use, so Anna’s hand and hip joints can take a beating if she keeps this up. Also, the body must not be exposed to more than its own weight before it is done growing, which is what Anna seems to be doing.
Of course, Anna can’t keep jumping hurdles on fours all her life. She wants to be an athlete and high jumper someday. Looking at a video of her jumping hurdles with such ease, I have no doubt she’ll achieve her dream.