Shea Inman, 18, bought her zebra, which she named Joey, about three years ago from a farm in Texas after seeing the sports comedy film, The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported.
"After seeing the movie 'Racing Stripes,' and the phenomenon of riding a zebra, it absolutely inspired me," said Shea, who lives in Franklin County. "So, I thought to myself, are zebras even possible to own? I looked it up on Google, checked my funds, and it turned out I could afford one. So, I talked to my mother and I convinced her to let me give it a go. So we did."
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries considers zebras horses, so there is no special documentation or permit is required to keep them, the news report said.
Shea has been riding horses since she was 8 years old and is well known in her community for buying, selling and training horses.
"Shea started buying rescue horses. She was kind of a horse whisperer. She could bond with horses that would run away from other people," said Shea's mother, Carolyn "Bunny" Inman.
"She wanted more of a challenge," Inman continued. "After seeing the movie 'Racing Stripes' and doing all her research and talking to the people in Texas about their zebras, I agreed we'd get one."
Shea said breaking, or training, Joey has been more difficult for her than with any other horse, the newspaper said.
"Some days it's like he's been riding for 30 years and other days he acts like he's never seen a human being," she said. "In that sense, it makes it really difficult to work with him. You have to know him really well and read him very well. It's made me a lot more intuitive. We've run into some challenges together."