The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For the cob with everything: an anti-fly rug!

After our day off yesterday, Dad came down at 11.00 to ride. It was dry and sunny..hooray! I wore my double bridle and dressage saddle. The showjumping fences had been removed and we had the whole school to ourselves.

We worked on walk on both reins for a long time. Dad was trying to give the flexions to the inside very subtly and oocasionally to give one to the outside. He was pleased that my head stayed stiller and that my neck was round for longer and longer. We did some leg yield, shoulder-in and shoulder-fore and went up to trot and canter. We practised the upwards transitions and Dad tried to sit deeper into the saddle to improve the canter. We finished with a lot of walk on both reins on a very long rein going around the school with Dibbs. Dad was satisfied with the session. He was also pleased later when Simone said she had seen us schooling and praised the canter.

Inside, I was groomed and Dad tried on my new anti-fly rug which was grey, extremely light and smart. Dibby and I had a good afternoon out in the field - in my shiny new rug - and came in at 4.00. Dad had been dealing wih the stables since our schooing finished and hadn't bothered to go home. It had been a long day. We were groomed and given tea.

Dad had 'phoned the vet in the morning to confirm an appointment when he was due to see Young Bailey on Monday 12th. June. Dibbs had schooled today and looked his normal self, so we will keep our fingers crossed for the examination. Both Dads and I love Dibby; he's a very special cob.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The back lady cometh

Today was fixed for our annual back check up. Maggie had looked at us last year and had given me a clear bill of health and found Dibby "all wrong" and treated him successfully. This time she was visiting seven or so horses including Tod, Edward, Harvey, Cricket and Bonny.

Dad came down at 10.00 in time to groom Dibby and me. Maggie saw Dibbs first. Dad walked and trotted him up and down and explained how he had been going recently, particularly that he had been tripping a little more than usual (and not in a good way) and had been a little "puttery" in the trot - with choppy steps on the forehand. He also turned him on a tight circle both ways in the stable. Maggie examined him and found that he needed more treatment in the middle of his back - perhaps as a consequence of the trip when Other Dad fell in the school a while ago.

Dibbs was very tense during the examination and treatment, but perfectly behaved. I on the other hand decided to seek a bit of attention by taking Dad's anorak off my stable door on a mint hunt and stamping on it. I just missed his mobile phone.

Maggie completed the treatment and also suggested that Other Dad arrange for the vet to see Dibbs to check what was causing his problem and said he shouldn't be ridden for the rest of the day.

Maggie then watched Dad walk and trot me up on the concrete. She could see no problems. Dad also turned me on tight circles in the stable. She also examined me and found I was in good order. She could see how I had levelled off behind as a result of all the schooling we had been doing and was pleased with me. We were than given some mints, rugged up and put out to graze whilst Dad attended to the stables and Other Dad sorted the haylage and water.

Both Dads came to get us in at 4.30. and decided to let us both have the whole day off and not to ride. They washed our hooves and applied eucalyptus oil, groomed us and gave us our tea. When Dad was standing outside the stable talking to Sharon, I put my head over the door for a chat. She said I was very cheeky; it seems more people are realising that amongst a myriad of other qualities, cobs do "cheeky". We are the cheeky cobs, we are the cheeky cobs.....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Another Bank Holiday

After yesterday's inactivity Both Dads wanted to give us some exercise this morning. Dad came down at 10.00 and took me in the school between showers in my double bridle. The fences were still up from the jumping clinic yesterday, including over the area normally marked off for dressage, so we couldn't trun through a test.

We did a lot of work in walk and trot on both reins and practised softenening to gentle flexions. We did a little shoulder in and some leg yield and worked on upwards canter transitions. Dad was pleased with my reponsiveness and for a while tucked the curb rein away and rode me using only the snaffle. We aslo worked on walking on a long rein and doing a slow trot on a long rein - to get me to loosen up and stretch my neck.

Other Dad also schooled Dibby. The forecast predicted heavy showers in the afternoon, so we were put out in our lightweight rugs. Both Dads disappeared home for a break and returned to prepare our stables at 3.00. When we came in, Leo decided to knock down the temorary fencing around the gate area, which Dad had to reconstruct. Once inside, we had our hooves hosed and were groomed and given tea. Not really a memorable weekend with the weather too wet and the yard too busy. Fortunately unlike our Dads sometimes, we cobs are pretty stoical. There again, we are fed, watered, exercised and housed in a cosy stable every day; Dad says "stoical" is the least we should be and perhaps he's right.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday of rest

More mad mixed May weather on Sunday morning. Other Dad came down early to put us out to graze and Dad appeared at 9.30 to attend to the stables. Another jumping clinic had been arranged for the middle of the day, but after last time, Dibby and I didn't take part. During the morning it varied between warm sunshine to cloudy blusteriness, but we just carried on grazing.

Both Dads disappeared to see a friend over a sandwich lunch at home. We stood by the fence and watched some of the jumping clinic. Leo pulled off my fly fringe, which both Dads had to search the field for later.

Dad came down at 3.30 and put down our beds. We then came in to have our hooves hosed and be groomed. By now another jumping lesson was taking place in the school, so Dad gave up on riding and put us in our stables and gave us our tea. Later, when I was enjoying my haynet, Dad came in and sat on the straw in the stable. He said it was very comfortable and so Other Dad joined him and they just sat there talking to me. I enjoyed some company since I don't often have visitors in my stable; we cobs are very sociable - and I am, more than most.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday cob

Another gloomy and wet start to the day. Other Dad topped up our haylage early and Dad came down, hoping to ride, at about 11.00. Even by then, it was still precipitating big time. After tidying us up and waiting for the downpour to abate, Dad gave up and put us out to graze. Although wet, it was really humid and so we went out naked.

Dad dealt with out stables and went home for lunch, returning at 4.00. We were quickly groomed and tacked up for a quick schooling session. We practised walk, trot and canter on both reins with lots of flexions. We worked on a twenty metre circle for the most part as others were jumping in the larger part of the school. Dad thinks it's good for me to be schooled when there's a lot going on, so this wasn't a problem. Dad said he was pleased that I was responding to gentle flexions by softening and being more controlled in the canter, so the late session was a success.

We went in and were hosed off in the wash-box and put in our cooler rugs before being rested for a while and given our tea. Other Dad came down later and took off our cooler rugs, skipped us out and gave us extra strong mints. For a fair day's work, we cobs really appreciate a fair day's mints.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Really a service industry

As a rather rainy week drew to a close, for once it wasn't pouring down when Other Dad put Dibbs and me out to graze at about 8.30. Dad started on the stables at about 11.00 and both Dads brought us in for 1.15.

The field is muddy now and our hooves had to be hosed. Dad put on my black exercise bandages whilst I ate my haylage and then groomed me. Both Dads sat next to us and had a coffee and I was then tacked up in my double bridle and dressage saddle. Teacher Steve came at 2.30 and we had the school to ourselves for the most part.

We did a lot of work in walk practicing flexions to the inside and the same in trot on both reins. We practiced on a twenty metre circle and then going large around the school. We changed rein inside and outside the circle and across the diagonal and then worked on upwards and downwards canter transitions on both reins, trying to achieve smoothness and consistency. Teacher Steve said it was the best I have gone and Dad was very pleased.

Next week we will probably try some of the elements of Prelim1 in preparation for Pinley on 4th June - if Dad decides we should go, that is.

We then went in and Dad hosed me down and put me in my blue cooler rug. He gave me an apple and some treats - and to Dibby too - and sat ouside my stable and brushed off and rolled my exercise bandages, whilst I cooled off. When I had recovered he gave Dibbs and me our tea and left us in peace. All in all that was a very satisfactory day. I was happy that Teacher Steve and Dad were pleased with my progress. We cobs aim to give satisfaction; being a cob really is a service industry.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bryter layter

A much brighter start to the day. Other Dad topped up our haylage early and Dad came to ride at 10.00 or so. Dad took me out of my stable, groomed me and put on my pelham. I thought it was a good idea then to snag it on the door and pull back. This was an effective way to destroy the cheek piece of an expensive bridle, so Dad wasn't very pleased. He was however relieved that I did it when he was standing next to me and so I didn't get tangled up or frighten myself too much.

After that little diversion, he put on my elevator bridle with the dropped cheek snaffle instead and we eventually went out into the school. We practiced a lot of walk and halt transitions with lots of flexions to the inside to increase roundness. We also did shoulder-in and some leg yield and worked in trot and canter on both reins.

We also practiced Prelim 1 in front of Other Dad and Dad was reasonably pleased. We managed the correct canter lead both ways and reletively sustained canters. Dad also sat on Dibby in walk and trot whilst Other Dad and I watched. To finish off, we cantered around with Dibby and had a little race, which was fun.

Dibby and I were then put out to graze in our fly fringes with some spray but no rugs, since it was quite warm and sunny.

Dad attended to the stables including Dibby's banks which took ages. We came in at 4.30 or so to be groomed again and given our tea. We will probably have a lesson tomorrow with Teacher Steve, weather permitting. I won't try too hard to compose myself in readiness; we cobs are known for composure. It's another cob thing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cob of mystery

The Dads had arranged to go out to lunch today, so Other Dad put us out to graze early at 8.30. We scampered off into the field first thing and felt quite jolly. They came to the yard by 10.15 and attended to our stables. When he had finished, before rushing off to lunch, Dad stood by the fence and I saw him and walked all the way over to have a chat. In this instance virtue was rewarded because Dad gave me a handul of extra strong minties before he left.

We had a relaxed day in the field. Dibby, Cricket and Leo tend just to get their heads down and eat, whereas I like to socialise over the fence a little and to have a play. Dad hasn't put my muzzle on yet, but I know he's thinking about it, since the odd comment is being made about my increasing weight. Today Kate said my bottom was getting like an apple: I hope it is like a good English one like Dad gives us and not a woolly French Golden Delicious.

Both Dads came to get us in at 4.00 and washed our hooves and groomed us. Dad was thinking of riding but, since it was still blustery, decided to leave it for today and hope that the weather isn't too bad tomorrow morning. Whilst he was grooming me Dad was telling me about the inquiries he has been making about my previous life.

He learned from Michelle that I was acquired for Elaine, my previous owner, by Robin who's is well known in the Warwickshire Hunt and Countryside Alliance circles. Dad wrote to Robin to ask about my origins and he responded on the telephone very quickly and helpfully. He explained that I had been seen with a dealer in Yorkshire called Julie. He thought I would be ideal for Elaine and so he popped me onto the lorry with the other horses he was acquiring.

Dad spoke to Julie, who obviously remembered dealing with Robin and confirmed that I had been brought over from Ireland from a dealer named Peter, but since he dealt with many horses each year from numerous farms, he wouldn't be able to remember me. She did comment that many of the Irish cobs like me were broken to harness, which ties up with what Sara and Julie thought. I know ideally Dad would have liked to send a photo to Ireland and see if he could get any more background information, but there you go.

Dad asked me if I remembered going on a boat and being with all the other horses coming over, but I didn't want to talk about that and frisked his pockets for mints to change the subject. It seems funny to be a cob with a past; I may start to think of myself as David, cob of mystery.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What a grey May day

What a grey morning! At least the rain stopped for a few hours. Other Dad topped up our haylage and Dad came downto the yard by 10.00. By then we had a few minutes respite from the rain and Dad wanted to ride. Unfortunately, unusually for me, I had some stable stains and was quite messy , so Dad had to tidy me up. This only took a few minutes and we tacked up quickly in my pelham and dressage saddle and went into the school.

We did some good work in walk, trot and canter. Dad was particularly keen to practice some flexions with the inside hand to get me rounder - without necessarily having a real contact, but whilst holding the outside rein in place - and this worked quite well.

Other Dad joined us after half an hour or so on Dibby and we cantered around together when Dibbs had warmed up and then we went in.

By now it was clouding over, so Dibbs and I were put in our rugs to go out to graze. It rained on and off during the afternoon and we were brought in at 5.00. Dad hosed off our hooves and picked our feet out before applying tecsin - just like the winter. We ate our haynets whilst we were groomed and rugged up for the night. November in May, but fortunately we cobs are resilient. Dibbs and I blame it on Bush for not adhering to the Kyoto Protocols; cobs are sounder than Republicans on key environmental issues.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The rain it raineth - still...

The rain carried on into Monday. I know Dad wanted to ride this morning, but it was still persisting down, so we were put out to graze in our rugs at 8.30. Dad came at 11.00 and, since it hadn't stopped, got on with the stables. It brightened up for half an hour when he was still busy and, just before he had finished, it started again.

Dad went home hoping to ride on his return, but by 4.00 ,when we came in, it had started raining yet again, so we gave up.

Dibbs and I were both groomed and had eucalyptus oil painted on our hooves to combat thrush from the continuous wetness. I know Dad is concerned about the lack of exercise, but Dibbs and I have enjoyed two consecutive days off. Being cobs we can be relied upon to behave properly when we are next ridden; calmness is quite the done thing amongst cobs.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Apres Samedi, le deluge

I think that's how a French cob would say it rained a lot on Sunday. Both Dads came down ready to ride at 10.00, but it was already pouring so they put us out to graze in our rugs whilst they attended to the stables. The rain continued until after 4.00, when we came in and were groomed, put in our night rugs and given tea. Sometimes even a cob can't make it more interesting than that.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cantering in the rain

The greyness continued into the weekend. Other Dad topped up our haylage first thing, but left us in our rugs since it was still quite cool.

Dad came down at 11.00 and took me in the school in my double bridle. He said he wanted to practice the things we covered in our lesson yesterday. I noticed he had put a plaster on the fourth finger of his right hand, rubbed raw in the lesson and also wore gloves. I don't think he will make the mistake of riding without gloves for a while.

We worked quite well in between showers and surprising gusts of wind. Sue had called into the yard and watched. We did Prelim1 and it went well, so Dad was pleased.

By this time we had been joined in the school by Other Dad on Dibby, Caroline on Leo and Ali on Pheonix, most of whom were practising canter, so we did too. Again, Dad was quite pleased with the upwards transitions and some resonable regular steps.

We came in just before another major shower to be groomed and given treats and put out to graze whilst Dad got on with the stables.

By the time Dad and Other Dad arrived to bring us in it was 5.00 and I was standing by the gate. As ever, Dibby just carried on eating and wandered over when they arrived. They hosed our hooves and groomed us before putting us in our stables and giving us our tea with extra carrots and an apple. I save my carrots and eat them later whilst Dibby eats his immediately. That's diversity for you; it's a cob thing.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday lesson day

This week's autumnal spring weather continued into Friday. Other Dad came early and put us both out to graze in our rugs. It drizzled on and off through the morning as Dad attended to the stables, before bringing us in at 1.00.

Dibbs and I stood outside our stables and had some haylage as we were groomed. Dad put on my black exercise bandages and later on fitted my double bridle and dressage saddle.Both Dads sat by the stables and had a coffee before we were tacked up. Dad took me out to warm up at 2.15 and Teacher Steve arrived at 2.30 as planned.

He checked my bridle and tightened the curb a little. We did some work in walk and trot on both reins. Today we focussed particulalry on Dad setting the outside rein firmly and getting roundness by taking a flexion on the inside rein towards the knee- but not so as to hold on to the flexion. Teacher Steve said he wasn't concerned to have roundness immediately, but Dad was to use the rein aids correctly and consistently - so he was not ever to take it over my neck or to pull back on it. It took Dad some time to get the hang of this, but after many repetitions we went on to practice canter on both reins. Again, here Teacher Steve was concerned to have good quality trot and a slight but clear movement back of the outside leg to obtain the upwards canter transition. Once Dad had improved the aids to obtain roundness, this went much better and we ended the sesion on a positive note.

Dad brought me in and took off my bandages. I wasn't too hot and so Dad brushed me and gave me an apple and meadow herb treats before putting me in my stable to chill.

By this time Other Dad had been schooling Dibby for some time so Dad sat on him for a while in walk and trot and went up to canter on both reins for the first time in several years.

When Dibbs was in and had cooled off we were given ur tea. Other Dad came back at 7.30 or so to check we were OK. Since it was another cool and gusty evening and we had been clipped a few weeks ago, he put us in our rugs. Cobs really enjoy being taken care of.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rugs back on

This May had been strange so far with brilliant sunshine followed by torrential rain and back again. Dad took me in the school in my pelham this morning. At times it was blowing a gale but sunny and then came the rain. Anyway, we fitted in 40 minutes of reasonable work in walk, trot and canter with some leg yield and shoulder-in. Dad said my medium trot wasn't very medium today and that he found me a little resistant at times. He said he would see how I went in my double for our lesson tomorrow.

Other Dad also schooled Dibby later - until the rain intervened and they put us out in our rugs whilst they attended to the stables. We turned our bottoms to the wind and rain and just carried on eating - Leo,Cricket, Dibby and me all in a row. We came in about 4.30. When we saw both Dads at the gate we cantered over-which always plays well; some cobs have a very well-developed sense of theatre.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Drizzly day-off

Dad and Other Dad weren't planning to ride today since they were going out to lunch, so Dibbs and I had the day off.

Both Dads came down and put us out to graze without rugs by about 9.45 and then dealt with our stables and disappeared home by 11.45.

We had a leisurely day in the field. The intermittent drizzle didn't bother us.

Dad asked Kate and Di to bring us in if the rain was really bad. Di brought me in when it started but Dibby was naughty and wouldn't be caught. I think he enjoys running away from Di and doesn't seem to do it with anyone else. It's a privilege of being a senior cob, I suppose.

Other Dad brought Dibbs in whilst Dad groomed me and dealt with my feet. Dad also groomed Dibbs whilst Other Dad went to Gibbs for carrots and treats. We then had our tea early as the rain started to come down heavily.

You may be surprised that a cob uses words like "intermittent"; you shouldn't be presumptuous; it's what we do.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A good half-hour

After our strenuous lesson last night, Dad only wanted a gentle schooling session this morning. So we left Dibbs to have a lie in in his stable with a full haynet and we went into the school alone. I wore my pelham.

We warmed up in walk and trot on both reins and practised shoulder in and leg yield with lots of halt transitions. We tried some medum trot and had a blast around the whole school in canter both ways. My upwards transtions were on the right leg without too large an aid. Dad was very pleased and said I had been very odedient and we went in after 3o minutes. Dad said it was a good half hour and that we didn't need to do any more today.

Dibbs and I were put out without rugs and had a pleasant afternoon in the field with Leo and Cricket.

Dad came to bring us in at 4.45. We were groomed and given tea and left to chill. Cobs need an uncomplicated day sometimes.

Monday, May 15, 2006

New Shoes

An interesting day. Dad came down at 8.50 and gave Dibbs and me some haylage. He then tied me up outside my stable and groomed me. A new farrier called Richard came at 9.30 and did my shoes and then Dibby's. He did a very neat job and explained to Dad how my front hooves were of different sizes, why this might have come about and how he adjusted the shoeing to give them a chance to equalize. Much the same story at the back , I'm afraid. Dibb's feet were less complicated. We both had road nails and a stud hole in each shoe.

When Dibby was having his turn Dad tied me up again outside my stable with a net whilst both Dads had coffee and a sit down. They then finished preparing the stables and when Dibby had been done too - and both of us had cotton wool in our stud holes - we were put out to graze. It had been raining quite hard all morning and so they put our light rugs on.

We stayed out until 4.15 and then came in. We were groomed and tacked up in readiness for a group lesson with Liz at 5.30. I wore my pelham.

We warmed up in walk and trot and did leg yield and shoulder fore/- in on both reins. We also contrasted working trot with a medium trot down the long side and across the diagonal, which was fun. We worked in a 20' x 40' space for the most part and there were 5 horses -Me, Dibbs, Ev on Leo, Kate on Todd and Louise on Tesco. Towards the end we cantered as a ride on both reins and gave the rein one at a time. It was tiring but good fun with all the other horses.

When we went in we were hosed down and dried and put in our cooler rugs - me in blue and Dibby in red. We had mints and an apple and after 35 minutes or so were given out tea. That was a busy and varied day - just how a cob likes it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Our Day of Rest

Dad and Other Dad had volunteered to do dressage writing for the novice class in the Mini One Day Event at Solihull Riding Club today so, for Dibby and me, this Sunday would be a day of rest.

Both Dads appeared at 8.30 and put us out to graze. Dibbs was put in his light rug but I wore nothing but my flyfringe and fly spray.

They then attended to our stable and disappeared off home to shower and rush to Solihull. Dibby and I had the field to ourselves for much of the day since Leo was competing in the mini with Anna and Cricket in the novice section with Sally. They came back and told us all about it when they were put out in the field later in the afternoon.

The Dads came to get us in about 4.30. Most of the others were jumping in the school, so we had a little peace whilst we were groomed and given our tea. It was pleasant having the whole day off: a cob could get used to luxury like that.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

As Bianca said: "It's not werf it, Reiki!"

After an undistinguished day yesterday, Dad and I were hoping today would be better. I hope you found the stories about the reiki ladies over the past few days interesting.

We are due to see Sara for another consultation in August and I will tell you what happens then. Some people are very sceptical about horse whispering - like that Bianca in East Enders who kept saying "It' not werf it Reiki!" . That was a favourite joke amongst cobs - sorry about that.

Other Dad came down early and topped up our haylage. Dad arrived by 10.30 and tacked me up in my double bridle. It seemd to take an age to make sure it was on comfortably, but we eventually managed it.

We went in the school and warmed up slowly. We did some good work in walk and trot, including some leg yield. We cantered on both reins and it went much better, smoother and on the correct leg for the most part.

Caroline was riding Leo in the school and doing some jumps whilst we were schooling. Dad quite likes this because it makes me learn to concentrate with other horses around or alone. Dibby joined us and we ran through Prelim 1 to finish, whilst Other Dad watched. Dad was very pleased because I stayed round for the most part and did both canters correctly. We walked around together on a long rein to cool off and then came in to be hosed down, doused in fly spray and put out to graze. Some of the other horses were out in rugs but we didn't wear ours....which was nice.

Dad and Other Dad prepared the stables and went home to watch the Cup final. It drizzled slightly in the afternoon but didn't bother us.

Dad came to get us in at the end of ordinary time and Other Dad came down after extra time, when Liverpool beat West Ham on penalties. We were groomed and given tea after a much better day. I know Dad wishes we could attempt a Prelim test in a double bridle; and, even though I worry about walking backwards, he may check out the Elementary tests where we could wear a double. Even a cob can dream.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Hard Lesson

The warm spell continued. Other Dad put Dibby and me out to graze by 8.30 this morning. Dad came later and prepared our stables.

Dad brought me in at 1.00 and I stood for a while in the cool, whilst Dad put on my black exercise bandages and groomed me. There was a haynet but I wasn't really bothered with it.

Dad and Other Dad sat and had some coffee next to me by my stable and then Dad got changed and tacked me up. Our lesson was fixed for 2.30 and we went out to warm up at 2.15. This went well, including some work without stirrups, but went on rather a long time. Teacher Steve arrived at 3.00 or so. He had 'phoned Kate to say he was running late but her mobile didn't receive the call when she was out hosting lunch for a departing member of staff. There you go.

Dad explained how our competitions had gone last week and showed the sheets and snaps. He also outlined the problem in schooling with upwards transitions in canter. We only did a little work in walk and went up into trot and, much quicker than usual, practised transitions to canter. It didn't go very well and I either went on the forehand or cantered off on the wrong foot quite often. Dad wondered if it was because the underlying quality of trot wasn't good enough -because I had already been out foran hour. We repeated the process a lot and there were quite a lot of instructions - particularly to give a strong half-halt on the outside rein and just to slide the outside leg back to give the canter aid.

We eventually improved a little . In the clammy heat Dad got rather groggy and was pleased to have a sit down when he dismounted at the end of the lesson. Teacher said I was very well and a bit strong and full of myself just now. Dad would need to use half-halts and give a clear canter aid and not be too fussed if it was necessary to repeat the process in practice to obtain a consistently accurate transition. Others were in the school when we were having our lesson and cantering past, which made it harder- although I guess it was a pretty good rehersal for most warm up arenas at competitions. Teacher thought we should alternate between the pelham and double bridle for a while and have the next lesson in a double. We finished and it was all fairly discouraging compared to our earlier lessons - possibly one to put down to experience; Dad hasn't decided yet.

We got inside and Dad sat down for a while and drank some water, whilst I stood by the stable. Sue came in and kindly untacked me and hosed me down by which time Dad felt better and brought Dibby in. When we had rested for sufficiently long, Dad gave us our tea.

I meant to talk about the other reiki consultation a few weeks ago, when I was visited by a nice lady called Sara. Dad told me Sara would come and would probably be better at speaking to me than most people. He said I should enjoy speaking to her and that there was nothing to worry about.

When Sara arrived she introduced herself and came into my stable whilst Dad stood in the background. I wandered around a little until I settled down. She ran her hands over me without touching and I could feel it was going on – particularly in the more sensitive places like my back and hind quarters.

Sara thought I had some soreness in my pelvic region and offside rear thigh, and some pain in my hooves. She wondered if I had any known history of abscesses in the hooves and Dad told her that the farrier who saw me when I was brought in from the field a long time ago found some problems, which are now rectified.

In the past I remember being teased, especially in my ears; someone had “hung off them” which was very painful. Dad is now very careful when he touches my ears and it isn’t a problem any more.

Sara asked me some questions about my early years. I found it sad to talk about and didn’t want to say much. I couldn’t help but give the impression that there had been times of lengthy and severe hardship in the past – specifically being very cold, wet and hungry for a long time. This was a really negative experience for me and I didn’t want to feel the same again, so Sara let it rest at that.

I didn’t have much to say on how I was backed, but there was some long time after when I didn’t do much. I think I may have suffered from a virus for a while a long time ago. Sara said she thought I had a tendency to chest or respiratory infection.
Sara asked me about my previous owners. I have a strong memory of a fair haired woman who sat leaning forward in a way that was not always comfortable. Afterwards Dad sent Sara a copy of a photo of my previous owner Elaine sitting on me and Sara said it was the same person I had described to her.

I have very clear memories of being driven in harness. I remember the pain caused by this and uncomfortable, ill-fitting tack. I think I sustained the injuries to my back and pelvis whilst being driven. I have a distant memory of being involved in a
collision involving a metal object – possibly galvanised – such as a large water trough.

I like my pelham bit and am used to consistent poll pressure. I don’t like it when there is too little contact and I have no support. My current tack is comfortable, but I have strong memories of pain when being driven and an uncomfortable brown saddle which hurt.

Generally I’m happy with our current activities. I don’t particularly want to get back to hacking because I do worry and get tense when we are out on the road. I would quite like to jump, but suffer some pain in my front hooves – I don’t know if this was from a past accident. It may explain why I tend to go through rather than over even small jumps from trot.

My sight seems OK, but I have some confusion over past memories perhaps from driving days – perhaps relating to when I wore blinkers. Obviously blinkers are designed to obscure peripheral vision, but after my accident I am uneasy about anything behind me I can’t see.

When he rides Dad is a little twisted with his right hip higher than left and he slips to the right. He needs to continue to work on this and to sit up straight – unlike my
previous owner. He should also ride forward. I definitely don’t want Dad to resume any work in harness – absolutely not.

I’m happy with my current life and enjoy my current activities. I like my current home and Dad very much and feel happier and more secure. I’m happy with my companions and enjoy having other horses around, even though I’m not in charge and not very high in the pecking order.

Generally I’m content and very centred. Sara said I am an “old soul” but being a cob I’m not sure what that means!

Other Dad came down later to check that we were alright. It was in the middle of a loud thunder storm by then, but Dibby and I weren't unduly worried; we cobs have a calm approach to most meteorological conditions

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This cob's not for hacking

The lovely weather continued and so we had the same routine: in the stable with our haylage until 11.00 and then schooling for me.

Dad had put out some poles and a little staight pole to pop over. We warmed up in walk, trot and canter and then attempted the poles in both directions. I managed to step on them occasionally and also to knock the little pole, which we were supposed to trot over; so we didn't actually "pop over" anything really. Dad thinks he will get Teacher Steve to help us with that in a few weeks. He thinks we need to practice cantering into, and hopefully over, little fences.

Whilst we were working, Other Dad brought Dibby out ready for a hack. I know Dad would like to hack out, but I do get very nervous out on the roads around here. It's not really the traffic; it's what's behind things - like hedges, walls and fences. It's also that great big slobbering Great Dane down the road which runs up and jumps up and down and down and up, right under your nose.

I know we cobs are supposed to be calm and collected under these circumstances, but it does my head in. Dad discussed it with Teacher Steve who said there wasn't much point in hacking out from the yard if neither the rider nor the horse enjoyed it: so for the moment, this cob's not for hacking.

Dad brought us in about 4.45 - with help from Simone, who held Cricket to enable Dibbs and I to get through the gate. Speaking of Simone, Dad sat on the floor and played with her Jack Russell puppy, Swapsy, for a while, which always chills him out. Swapsy likes carrots almost as much as I do, but I digress. We were groomed and given our tea. The level of hard food had been reduced a little, but Dad added some carrots and apples - and gave us the odd mint after; so, all in all, we can't really complain. We cobs are usually quite philosophic. In fact Dad was chatting away to me whilst he was combing my tail and it struck me that he listened to my request several months back.

One day when he was also brushing me he said he had arranged for a lady called Julie to speak to me and that I wasn't to be surprised if someone spoke to me in the night. I wasn't to be worried and it would be a friend. Sure enough, when it was quieter it happened. A woman’s soft voice seemed to come into my head from a long way away. We talked about the past and I told her some things:
My first home was quite nice and I found it easy to be backed. To be honest, I’m not sure I told her everything about my early years. I explained I had done some showing and am comfortable in a double bridle as opposed to a snaffle. I like jumping and would do more. I’m not unhappy with my current schooling. I have been driven in harness. Sadly I wasn’t really comfortable in harness and tipped over. Dad wonders if that's where I hurt my pelvis and gained the scars on my hind legs.

I found my walk “restrictive” in the past, especially behind the shoulder blades, which may have also have been due to a badly fitting saddle.

I’m a gregarious chap and love company. I’m stubborn and strong-minded; I feel I’m often misunderstood, but my face-pulling and ears going-back don’t mean anything. I admit I’m very nosy and like to know what’s going on and get involved in everything. I’m usually happy.

I hate things approaching me too fast from behind, since my peripheral vision isn’t brilliant. I often need to turn my head more than other horses on account of this. I dislike too much noise, since it makes it difficult for me to think straight.

When Dad rides he tips slightly to the left. I’d like him to rectify this and particularly relax his stiff shoulders and tight lower back. I’m quite happy to do the kind of activities Dad wants. I really love praise and really want to be told what Dad and I are doing together. I wish Dad would talk to me even more.
Since Julie told Dad what I said to her he has tried to talk more and to ride better. I'm glad he tries; we cobs like a trier.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sunny Spring Wednesday

Another warm and sunny day. We stayed in during the first part of the morning with our haylage - since Dad and Other Dad are worried about our weight this Spring. Dad said he would now reduce my hard feed like Dibbs - so it's just as well there's lots of grass just now.

Dad came down at 11.00 and took me in the school again in my pelham. We did some good work in walk, trot and canter - although I struggled with my upwards canter transition when we practised Prelim 1. Dad says he will ask Teacher Steve to work on this in our lesson on Friday.

Other Dad schooled Dibby too - and they did some good work - particularly in trot.

Once inside, Dad hosed me down slowly and I cooled off and went out to graze. Dibby joined me later after he had been washed down. No rugs, fly fringes on and plenty of fly spray.

We were allowed to stay out until 4.45 or so. When Dad brought Dibby and I in, it left Leo in the field alone. Although Dad pointed out to Katie that Leo didn't look too happy, she had to finish bathing Vadio and quick as a flash Leo jumped over the fence into the next field to find some company. Dad went out with his hammer and put the fence rail back in place. They should understand, he's only four and gets lonely quickly. I remember when they left me out for a few minutes on my own in the dark a few months back; I got quite fractious and I'm a cob of 13.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Back to Work

A much better start to the day - overcast but not raining. Other Dad topped up out haylage and Dad came down and tacked me up at 11.00. We went back to our pelham this morning and did some good work in walk and trot.

Kate said our trot was good and that my shoulders were moving well - which was nice. We ran through Prelim 1 and on the less positive side my transitions into canter on the left rein were stuffy and for the first time in ages I occasionally started on the wrong leg. We worked on that and got it right in the end, but Dad says he will ask Teacher Steve to work on transitions in our lesson on Friday this week.

When we came in Dad took me in the wash box and hosed me down. I was much warmer than usual - due to all that canter- and you could see steam rising from my back. Dad stood me for a little while to recover and put me out to graze with Dibby when I was cool. I wore my fly fringe but no rug and we had a lovely afternoon grazing in the sunshine.

Dad attended to the stables and brought us in at 4.30 to be groomed and put to bed with tea. Hard rations are reduced a little now to stop is putting on too much weight. I haven't been put in my new muzzle yet -thank heavens. Dad says it's because I don't just graze all the time like Dibbs; sometimes I just like to stand in the corner of the field and stare into the distance.

It's nice to have a few days off, but feels better when we earn our keep. We cobs are quite hot on the work ethic, you know.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A grey, rainy Monday

After a rainy night the morning was just as bad. Other
Dad came and put us out to graze in our rugs. I think Dad was irritated, since he gave us the day off yesterday and wanted to school this morning... but there you go.

Dad dealt with the stables and, since the rain had not abated, went home without riding. He came back at about 4.00 to get us in. Cricket decided to try and barge past when he first tried to get me out but backed off by the time he tried again.

Inside, we were thoroughly groomed and our hooves were treated with Tecsin before being put in our stable and given tea. Dad said he found it a form of slavery, but that's the way we cobs like it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Wasn't it the Small Faces that used to sing about a lazy Sunday afternoooon? Well. whoever it was, Dad decided we all needed a little rest today after quite a busy week. To make sure we didn't eat too much grass, Other Dad came down early and topped up our haylage.

Dad then arrived at 11.00 and, after much internal debate, put us out in our light rugs - because we had been clipped, it was overcast and drizzly.

After a relaxed afternoon - during which Dad and Other Dad watched the Badminton showjumping on TV - we came in about 5.00. I suspect we will make up for our day off with some extra schooling next week, but cobs can be pessimistic at times.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Work and play

Saturday morning dawned bright, warm and reasonably dry. Other Dad gave us some haylage to keep us going until schooling time at 11.00. It's different haylage and so they have to be careful not to give us too much initially.

To school today I wore my dressage saddle and hanging cheek snaffle again. I took quite a while to warm up, but eventually we did some reasonable walk and trot. We practiced leg yield and shoulder-in on both reins and went up into canter.

Towards the end of the session we ran through Prelim 1 which has some canter and Dad was quite pleased -although I'm still never consistently soft and round. We also practiced walk on a log rein and experimented to see if I could balance on a long rein in rising trot. I could when we grew used to it

Once inside Dad washed me down, dried me off and put fly spray on. He also put me in my blue fly fringe. Dibby has a red and white one and looked just like a rasta.

We stayed out for the afternoon - whilst Dad prepared our stables and then went home to watch some of the Badmintion Cross Country on TV. It rained intermittently, but we weren't cold. Dad and Other Dad then came back, brought us in, groomed us and put us to bed without rugs. Later Other Dad thought it was a little less warm and came back after 7.00 and put our rugs back on. We cobs are quite hardy, but we have just been clipped.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Day at leisure

After all the activity yesterday, Dad and Other Dad decided Dibby and I could have the day off. Other Dad came down and put us out to graze without rugs by about 8.30. It was warm and sunny and the flies were irritating, but we had some spray on. Dad said he would put my fly fringe on tomorrow - which should give Leo something to try to pull off.

Not much else to report really. Dad came down and prepared the stables and went home. We were brought in to be groomed and had tea tree oil on our hooves. We were then put in our stables without rugs and given tea. Sometimes chillin' is just what a cob needs

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My first rosette of the year

Thursday dawned the hottest day of the year so far. Dad and Other Dad came to the yard at 8.15 and kitted us up in out travelling wear - boots, tail guards and light rugs. We boarded the lorry and were off by 8.45.

The journey to Solihill wasn't too bad despite the rush hour traffic and all the mothers in those 4 x 4's. We parked close to the main building, unloaded well and were tacked up. Then both Dads changed into competition wear.

We had a good 40 minutes to warm up. I felt more comfortable in my drop cheek snaffle on the elevator bridle and it went reasonably smoothly, although we practised mostly in walk - leaving the trot to take care of itself. We were about third on in the Open section at 10.25 and did our test in the main arena -which seems very large when you're all alone with only the judge and her writer looking at you from in their little glass-fronted box.

The test went reasonably well. I was fairly soft in walk and stuck my nose out a bit in trot. The walk on a long rein and two 10 metre half circles went particularly well (mark of 8) and Dad was very pleased, especially given the trouble we had over the last few days with bits.

Since it was so hot, we went back to the lorry and removed my saddle and Dad changed out of his jacket, hat and breeches and we walked back in hand. Other Dad then schooled Dibbs prior to his Prelim 16 on the outdoor surface. I just stood in the corner watched what was going on, ate the odd extra strong mint and talked to Dad.

We then went outside and watched Dibbs do his test. Apart from one or two minor errors, he did the test very well and Other Dad was pleased too. We then both went back to the lorry and were tied up with a large haynet to relax whilst results were awaited.

Dad and Other Dad were very pleased that we came fourth in the Open Walk and Trot with 63.2% . We had the same number of marks -139 - as the rider in third place, but she had a few more collective marks. The judge said I was a lovely obedient horse with nice free paces but that Dad needed to relax and show the paces off more. She advised him to get me softer in the mouth and over the top line to gain better marks. If only she had known what we've been through over the past few dauys to achieve the softness we actually managed!

Dibby's score were even better and he achieved 68.5%. The judge said he was a super chap working well at this level.

We went home by 1.30 or so. Since we were warm, they washed us down and put us out to graze with some fly spray - and Dibb's first sun cream of the season. We stayed out until 5.30 and then came in to be groomed and given our tea. We were both pleased we our successful day. Don't let anyone tell you that cobs don't enjoy winning rosettes.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Our record: three bits in one day

A brighter and warmer start to the day. Other Dad came early and filled up our hay nets. Dad came down at about 10.30 and tacked me up to go in the school.

After yesterday, he had swapped over bridles, but we still used a snaffle in readiness for the walk and trot test at Solihull tomorrow. This was put on the bridle I usually wear with my pelham with thicker leather. We warmed up in walk and trot on both reins and ran through the Solihull walk and trot test. Dad wasn't very pleased, for despite putting his leg on and trying all the usual things - such as leg yield, shoulder-in and various transitions - I still wouldn't soften. Nor would I soften when he took a hold and let me pull against his hand.

Instead of enduring this stalemate we went in, but rather than just putting me out to graze, Dad changed my bit from a pinchless snaffle to a straight bar snaffle and we went out and started over. I could tell Dad still wasn't too pleased with the change, but he had to admit that it was better than our first attempt. He then brought me in and after washing me down put me out to graze in the sunshine without a rug but with plenty of fly spray since the litle devils have started now. He muttered something about the fat lady not having sung yet, so we shall have to see what happens later.

After he had prepared both stables and been home, Dad came back and Dibbs and I came in. Instead of just going in my stable, I was tacked up again and put in yet another different snaffle. This time it was a drop-cheek snaffle, but on my soft elevator bridle. We went in the school and warmed up in walk and trot and then ran gently through the test. Dad said I seemed more comfortable and that this was much better; after a short session, we came in. I was groomed, put in my rug and given my tea and an apple. I know Dad is concerned as to how I will go tomorrow on my own in the whole of the Solihull arena in just a snaffle without brakes. I guess today wasn't the best of preparations. I've heard of people being rude and calling someone a "two bit" something or other; I wonder what "three bit" means. We cobs are full of questions.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Back to schooling

Back to normal routine after yesterday's little holiday. Other Dad made sure we were OK at about 8.30 as usual and we stood in with our hay nets until 11.00 when Dad came down and tacked us up.

I was put back in my pinchless snaffle bridle and dressage saddle and taken into the school. It made a change from my pelham or the double bridle. It meant I could stick my nose out and be uncooperative when I felt like it. We did a lot of walk on both reins at first as Dad tried to get me to soften. We moved forward quite well and Dad was reasonably pleased. We tried some lengthy trots around the whole school and, when Dibbs came in, did some canter on the opposite sides of a large circle.

We ran through the Solihull walk and trot test a few times and Dad was a little disapppointed with my roundness, although the walk on a long rein and halts were much improved.

Dad said he might switch my pinchless snaffle or even drop-cheek snaffle from the elevator bridle over to a harder conventonal bridle for schooling tomorrow to see if a little more poll pressure might assist my roundness.

Dibbs practised Prelim 16 and went well, so Other Dad was pleased with him. They rang for our times on Thursday morning. I am on at about 10.25 and am indoors which is more civilised that bouncy rubber surface next to the scary fence and the wild wood.

We went in and, because it was cold and showery for May, Dad put us out in our rugs. Dad got on with out stables, but popped out occasionally to see all was OK. He saw Dibbs with his head down as usual enjoying the Spring grass. Leo and I were flirting with Breeze over the fence and generally rearing and playing about. Fortunately it didn't get out of hand.

We came in at about 4.00 and were groomed, rugged up and put in our stables. It was a full day with schooling and socalizing in the afternoon. I hope Dad understood, cobs need a social life too.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My May Day off

After yesterday's exertions, both Dads thought we should have the day off, so Other Dad came and put Dibbs and me out to graze by about 8.30. It had been raining overnight and May Day morning was grey and overcast, so we were in our lightweight rugs.

We had a pleasant, lazy day and, to be honest, our heads didn't often leave the ground. Dad came and attended to the stables and left without bothering us. We came in at 4.15, by which time I was waiting by the gate in readiness.

We had a good groom and a chat and Dad paid special atention to our hooves, which are now green and painted with Tecsin. Tea was served early. Now that our rations have been reduced a little, our evening haylage is in haynets again. It takes a little longer to eat, but ends up in the same place. I imagine we will be doing some work again tomorrow, but it was nice to have May Day off; even cobs need a little me-time.