The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Friday, June 30, 2006

Lunge lesson

Other Dad put Dibby and me out to graze before 9.00. Dibby was put in my fly rug today. I gather there is another on order for me which, hopefully, will fit better. Dad came at 11.00 and, since I wasn't at the gate, didn't bring me in. I was happy to stand in pole position in the corner of the field, talking to Jack and taking everything in.

Dad got on with the stables and I came in at 1.30 to cool off and be tacked up for a lesson at 2.30. Teacher Steve was on time and we had the whole school to ourselves.

I wore my black exercise bandages, dressage saddle and snaffle. He started by lungeing me in walk on both reins with lunge line in one hand and a lungeing whip in the other. I kept going up into trot but he made me come back to walk until he was ready. We then practised in trot both ways and stopped to put on the side reins. Here I walked quite well on both reins and started to trot. Then I kicked up into canter but Teacher Steve didn't panic and just got me back to trot and continued. We must have practised lungeing all over the school for forty munutes or so. By this stage I was much softer and rounder and quite hot. There were some horse flies.

They then undid the side reins and detached the lunge line and Dad rode me for fifteen minutes or so, looking for softness and stretching down. They were both pleased with the lesson and I was taken in to be hosed down, dried and put in my blue sweat rug. I had an apple and minties -as did Dibby.

I was allowed to eat my haylage as Dad sorted out my exercise bandages and put the tack away. After good interval we were given tea and settled down for the night. The lesson was instructive for Dad and me. Teacher Steve said I was cheeky and spirited; he was pleased to see I felt well. He was right, cobs can be cheeky and spirited.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A shoe for Dibbs and schooling for me

The weather has been getting hotter as the week progresses. Richard, the farrier came early to attend to Dibby's outstanding shoe. There were already two other farriers on site and so Richard saw to Dibby outside his stable. He shod him and inserted the plastic material and covered it following which it needed two hours to go off. So Richard went to see other clients whilst Dibbs stayed in his stable with a haynet and Dad took me in the school.

I wore my snaffle and we worked mainly in walk again with some trot and canter - partly to ward off the horse flies, which were bad again. Other Dad watched some of the schooling and took some photographs (see above, and the next few days). Dad was reasonably pleased with my roundness, but found I fell in too much in trot and so we will have to work on this in my snaffle.

We came in and Dad hosed me down and put me out in my fly sheetand fringe. I was in the field with Leo. Cricket is on box rest since he seems to have pulled a suspensory ligament - probably when charging around with Leo on the very hard ground.

Richard came back after a couple of hours and finished off Dibbs, accepted a cheque (overĀ£180!) and booked us up for six weeks hence. Dad then put Dibbs out and got on with the stables before going home for a few hours.

Dad came back at 4.30 to put down Dibby's bed and bring us in. Other Dad came and we were groomed and given our tea. Both Dads and Debbie talked about the difference in the way Dibby and I deal with our tea. Dibby eats his immediately in case it might be taken away, whilst I like to leave some for later. Once supper is served, I prefer to deal with it with style and relaxation. Cob is a broad church with room for a wide range of approaches to the evening meal.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mid-week school

Today began with some schooling in my snaffle. We warmed up in walk, trot and canter to loosen up and then went back to walk for flexions, softening and some lateral work. Yet another lesson was taking place in the marked off area and so we worked in the rest of the school .

Other Dad soon joined us on Dibbs and we walked around with him. We then practised trotting and cantering off to join him again after a circuit of the arena. It was quite warm and the horse flies were numerous and we were glad to come in after 50 minutes or so.

I was hosed down and dried and put out to graze with Dibbs. Both Dads attended to the stable and went home for an hour or so.

We came in at 4.45 to be groomed and given tea. Dad is really tired from the unrelenting DIY and difficulties of competing. Cobs are quite bright, but even Dibbs and I can't work out an answer to that one

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Farrier's visit

We stayed in with our haynets this morning since Richard, the farrier was due at 10.00. Dad came for then and dealt with the stables whilst Richard worked. He saw Paddy first and then Dibbs.

Rob the vet had requested that Dibby be fitted with egg bars on the front with a plastic filler. Richard dealt with the right near, but found he had used up all his plastic and so will come back on Thursday to do the other one. The rest of Dibb's shoes were finished and he then did mine. Rob the vet called to see Richard with Cricket but also took the opportunity to look at Dibb's new shoe. We were put out in the field at 2.00 for the rest of the afternoon.

Since we had a disrupted morning, Dad decided to leave us out a little longer than usual and not to ride. We came in at 5.00, were groomed and given tea. Another disjointed day, but a cob takes such things in his stride.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Rain and a lesson

The week began with an overcast grey sky and some drizzle. Still, there seemed to be marginally less horse flies about when Other Dad put us out at 8.00 - which was an improvement on yesterday.

Dad brought us in at about 4.15. Other Dad took Dibby for a short hack down the lane, whilst Dad prepared me for a group lesson with Liz from Moreton Morrell. I wore my pelham and black exercise bandages. There were five others in the group - Tom, Patch, Izzy , Jack and Kamara. We worked on roundness in walk and practiced leg yield in walk and trot on both reins. We then changed the rein and leg yielded across the diagonal and worked on serpentine in walk and then in trot, leg yielding for a few paces on each side of the central loop. We also cantered as a group on both reins around the arena and walked on a long rein. By the time we were finishing it had started to rain gently again.

At one time Dad wondered if I had tweaked something but decided I was struggling with the deep sand at one end of he arena. We improved by going on the inside track and avoiding this. Those watching confirmed I looked sound.

Dad was very pleased with the lesson and Liz said I was improving, paticularly my canter. We went in and untacked and Dad hosed me down and put on my sweat rug. Afer a sensible interval we were given tea and Dad went home by about 8.00. We both enjoy the group lessons. Cobs do enjoy combining learning with some company.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fly-blown Sunday

A hot and humid Sunday morning. Other Dad came before 8.30 and put us out to graze. I was in my fly rug and fringe. Notwithstanding my anti-fly measures, I was very hot and bothered by the time Dad arrived at 11.30 standing by the gate and saying "Bring me in now, please". Fortunately, Dad took the not very subtle hint and brought me in, so I could stand in the cool by my stable whilst Dad mucked out. After another twenty minutes he also took pity on Dibby, who was also uncomfortable and we both enjoyed our haylage.

Dad had wanted to school me but the horse flies were ridulous which blew it, so he gave up. Some others on the yard aborted hacks out because the flies were too much. Like a sci-fi film..When the flies ruled the Earth..well, Chadwick End anyway.

Once the stables were ready Dibby and I were hosed down to cool off, dried and put in our stables with some haylage. Since I was a bit tense about my tea, Dad also gave Dibby and I a false one with hi-fi and carrots to stop me standing mithering by my door until tea time. Dad then went home to watch England -v- Ecuador. We had our tea at the usual time - so that was 1 and1/2 teas today.

Both Dads came back after full time and skipped out and topped up our water and haylage. They also tidied up the yard which was a mess; such selfless chaps. So today was derailed completely by those pesky horse flies. On the upside we had a day off and one and a half teas. Cobs do like to accentuate the positive where possible.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Horse flies - and not in good way

Saturday began with some showers before nine. Other Dad topped up our haylage and Dad came to ride at 11.00. We went in the school in my double bridle as Teacher Steve had instructed. Neither Dad nor I were really in the mood for this, but schooled systematically starting in walk with some lateral work and moving up into trot and then some canter. Dad found me a little unbalanced today - not as soft as usual and uncomfortable in some of the faster work. I was continuously bothered by nasty horse flies, which perhaps explained it.

By the time we went in, Other Dad had brought Dibby back from his hack and we were hosed down and dried off and given apples. We were put outside with me in my fly sheet and fringe, which soon became a little dishevelled. Dibby wore his fly fringe and muzzle.

Dad spent most of the afternoon dealing with our stables and brought us in at 4.30 or so to be groomed and given tea. We had eucalyptus oil put on our hooves. Dad has been rather down since the dressage at SRC and yeaterday and is wondering quite what to do for the best. I nuzzled his head when he sat down next to me for a few minutes. Cobs can sense when all is not well.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A lesson instead

Other Dad came down early and put us out to graze on a dry and sunny morning. Dad arrived much later after noon. By this time I was rather troubled by the horse flies and was standing by the gate, so Dad took the hint and brought me indoors into the cool. I stood by my stable with my haylage net whilst Dad attended to our beds. He gave me mints at intervals, so it was quite civilised.

He then put on my black exercise bandages, changed into breeches and boots and tacked me up in my snaffle. Our lesson with Teacher Steve was scheduled for 3.30 and he arrived about 3.15. This gave Dad an opportunity to talk through the marking of our Prelim 1 last week. In his opinion there should be some resemblance between the range of marks given for particular movements and the collectives awarded. Accordingly, if judges award on average a 5 or 6 for movements it followed naturally that the collectives should be approximately the same. The discrepancy was inappropriate. He suggested that we disregard the collectives in that particular test.

We went into the school. For the first time in ages I wore my snaffle. We practiced in walk concentrating on roundness and getting my neck longer and lower. This went well, despite having to break off periodically to swat horse flies. Teacher Steve suggested that we exercise two out of three times in the double bridle - doing some trot and canter and do a lot of walk in the snaffle until I was more consistently round. He also wanted to practice lunging at the begining of our next lesson. All told, it was quite positive and Dad took me in, untacked me and gave me my tea.

He than went down to Montgomery near Warwick to watch various horses from the yard compete in Prelim 1. These included Bonnie, Tom, Patch, Tesco, Leo, Harry and Jack. They all seemed to do very well and it was extremely competitive with our horses gaining 2nd to 6th place rosettes, so clearly some more practice in my snaffle would be a very good idea.

Dad was pleased with my work today and, after talking it through with Steve, recognised that I'm not really built to be a riding horse doing dressage and that we need to do a lot of schooling if we are to compete. Dad will keep plugging away. Such application is a very cob-like quality and to be commended.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More schooling

Having been delayed by the decorators at home, Dad didn't arrive until 11.00. He took me in the school in my snaffle, whilst Other Dad took Dibby down the road. Again, we worked mainly in walk trying to improve roundness with lots of lateral work and halt transitions. When I had gone on the bit on both reins we worked on some upwards transition and trot and canter going large. Yet another lesson was going on in the marked area so we didn't run through a test. To be honest this made a nice change.

We were put out to graze in fly masks whilst Dad attended to the stables and came in to be groomed and fed at 4.15 or so. Dad was quite preoccupied with various things and was pleased to go very calmly in our schooling session. He is relieved that we are not competing tomorrow evening and can consult Teacher Steve about the way forward in competition.Should it be this difficult to step on even the very lowest rung of the ladder? Should cobs ask questions like that? It's all very difficult, even for an inquisitive cob.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tactical withdrawal

Dad came at 10.30 and put Dibby out to graze. He tacked me up in my snaffle and we went in the school, which we had to ourselves at first. The morning was dry, quite sunny and breezy. It was good not to be troubled by the flies for once.

We worked for a long time in trot with lots of halt transitions, leg-yield and shoulder-in. Once I had softened we practiced some upwards transitions to trot and trotted large around the arena and tried a little canter. By this time Di ws teaching one of her external clients in the marked off section but today we were happy not to run through any tests. We aslo did quite a lot of work in walk and trot without stirrups.

Having re-read the result sheet for Prelim 1 last week, Dad decided to withdraw from the Prelim1 at Montgomery this Friday evening. He wasn't paticularly concerned with the 2 for the second canter but was worried regarding the 4's and 5's in the collectives and wanted to discuss this with Teacher Steve and consider what remedial work to undertake before venturing out again.

We came in and I was put out to graze after grooming. Dibby trotted over to me and started mutual grooming before I had got through the gate. It' s good to have him back in the field.

We came in at 4.45 and were groomed and given tea. Dad spoke to Teacher Steve on the 'phone and arranged to have our lesson at 3.30 on Friday in my snaffle and talk through the last Prelim 1. Dad told me he was pleased with our schooling work in the snaffle this week and reassured me that we were only withdrawing this time to marshall our forces and advance again. Fortunately, cobs have a grasp of elementary tactics.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Practice on Tuesday

The software or whatever is playing up again - today is Tuesday 20th June 2006! An earlier start than usual. Dad took me into the school at 9.30 or so. I wore my snaffle and again we worked mainly in walk with many halt trnsitions and lots of leg yield and shoulder-in. Dad was quite pleased with the session and included a little trot trying to keep some roundness.

By the time we went in, Other Dad was about to take Dibby on a short hack down the road. He joined me in the field on his return whilst Dad dealt with our stables and put down the beds.

He returned at 4.30. I know because I was waiting by the gate. We were groomed and given treats and then our teas. A nice routine day with no extremes of weather; cobs can cope with bland sometimes.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Box rest over

Today is Monday 19th June 2006 - bythe way. After two day's box rest, Dibby would be allowed out to graze in the field today...hooray! Dad took me in the school in my snaffle at 11.00 whilst Other Dad hacked Dibby down the road. The vet had directed that Dibby only do straight lines for the present, so they hacked to the end of the road and back along the same route without mishap.

Dad schooled me like yesterday, mainly in walk with lots of leg yield, shoulder in and halt/walk transitions. After 15 minutes or so, I was softening well but was rather ungenerous on some of the halts, until Dad remembered to soften his hands once the aid had been given. We can call it a draw since he had a lot on his mind.

He also 'phoned the farrier to ask him to speak to the vet about changing Dibb's front shoes.

We were then put out to graze. Dibby was very good and didn't canter off - though he was pleased to be outside. We did mutual grooming as best we could since Dibby was in his muzzle.

Dad sorted our stables and went home, returning about 4.15. We were groomed and given tea. I'm pleased Dibby is back with us in the field. I'm sorry I was so naughty in the halt, but cobs don't really do guilt.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Box-rest day two

A cooler start to Sunday. Other Dad visited early to check Dibby and top up our haylage. Dad came at 11.00 and schooled me in my snaffle for 40 minutes. It was much fresher than yesterday without so many horse flies, so it was more comfortable. We worked mainly in walk practising roundness with some lateral work, trot and canter. We ran through Prelim 1 quite well - in that I hit the correct canter leads. By the end of the session I was consistently round in walk - at least on my left rein - so that's a start.

When we were schooling we could see Other Dad hand grazing Dibby in our field. He then came and watched the end of our session.

I was put out to graze whilst Dad prepared both stables and then went home. He returned at 4.15. Other Dad brought Dibby out to the field again and we mutual groomed and grazed whilst my bed was put down and Dibby's was freshened up. We then came in to be groomed and put in our stables for tea. Hopefully, Dibby's box rest will end tomorrow and he can go for a hack and come in the field. I have missed him; call me a sentimental cob, but there you go.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Box-rest day one

The day after Dibby's visit to the vet began when Other Dad toppedup our haylage early. He was pleased to see Dibbs had kept his bandages on his hocks overnight. Dad came down at 10.00 and removed the bandages and skipped Dibby out. Rob the vet was visiting Richie who had conjunctivitis and laminitis and so he asked how Dibby was. He confirmed that he could be hand-grazed today and tomorrow, which is good.

Dad then took me in the school in my snaffle. It was very hot and I was troubled by horse flies, but Dad was pleased with my application. We worked mostly in walk on roundness and leg-yield and shoulder-in but did some trot and a little canter too. Louise was schooling Little Bailey, but it didn't bother us.

Once we were inside after about 40 minutes I was hosed down and put out in my fly fringe with Leo and Cricket. Dad dealt with the stables and went home for an hour or so.

I was brought in at 4.30. OtherDad hand-grazed Dibbs and Dad sorted out the stables . He let me put my head over Dibby's stable door when I came in for twenty minutes mutual grooming which was relaxing. We then had our tea and were left for the night. It will be nice when Dibby can come out in the field again; we miss him. Cobs have great capacity for fondness.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Vet Day

A funny day. We were put out to graze at about 10.00 whilst both Dads attended to the stables. They then took Dibby in at 1.00, leaving me out in the field with Cricket. I stood at the gate with Cricket and whinnied as they took Dibbs away in the lorry.

They took Dibby to the equine clinic here they X-rayed all his legs. There had been an emergency case when they arrived and so they had to wait an hour. Both Dads looked silly in bright blue lead lined tabards during this process. The X-rays showed arthritic changes in Dibby's hocks, not surprising in 17 year old, paticularly the off-hind and the vet recommended treatment by injections. This was done after injections of local anaesthetic. Dibbs will also need treatment on his front legs in a few weeks.

The vet gave some painkiller and joint supplement to go in Dibby's feed and they brought him home with his hind legs bandaged up. I gave him a big whinny of welcome when he arrived since I was so pleased to see him. I had been brought in with Cricket earlier and Dad made a fuss of me and gave me some carrots and apple when Dibby had his tea. It was good to have Dibby back after his outing. I had missed him; cobs are very loyal and companionable.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Topping day

We stood in our stable with our haylage until 11.00 when both Dads came. Other Dad took Dibbs for a hack and Dad schooled me in my snaffle. We did 90% of the work in walk trying to increase roundness but also did a little trot and canter.

We worked for an hour or so and were then hosed down in the washbox. We were only outside grazing for an hour or so because the man came with a red tractor to top the field. At this point Leo decided to run around and get excited, so Dad and Becky brought us all in.

Dibbs and I stood by our stables with haylage whilst Dad did the stables. He was hoping to put us out for a few more hours when the field was topped, but unfortunately the red tractor broke down and he also was worried that the topped material would still be there in the field -and not good for us to eat. We had a lengthy groom and our teas and both Dads disappeared to watch England on TV. So we didn't have our usual four hours out in the field and the topping day was and wasn't topping really. Cobs do like a good pun.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wet and warm

We awoke to a grey morning. Other Dad came down early and put Dibby and me out to graze in the very light drizzle. Dad attended to the stables and went home. He returned at 4.15 to bring me in first. We had a leisurely groom and a chat. Dad then brought in Dibby, who was a little reluctant since he had managed to jettison his muzzle in the field. He then groomed Dibbs and gave us our tea. Dad and I both needed a quiet day-off today; people are very like cobs in some ways...bless.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Damp and sultry

A muggy start to a Tuesday- again regardles of what the heading says - it's 13th June 2006. Dad rode me in my snaffle at about 10.45. We worked on roundness in walk, trot and some canter with lots of transitions, leg yield and shoulder in. We came in after an hour and I was hosed down and put out with Dibby. It rained on and off during the afternoon and was damp and sultry.

Dad brought us in after he had put down the beds at about 5.00. Dibby had rolled and was filthy so we were both hosed down again and groomed before being given tea. Dad had a few quiet moments with me when the usual bedlam had died down a little. He is rather depressed over the Prelim test yesterday, but I tried to cheer him up; cobs prefer to advocate a philosophical approach to adversity.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Thundery Monday

Here's another snap of Dibby and me tacked up next to the lorry at the dressage yesterday. Again the software seems to be doing funny things - today is Monday 12th. June 2006. Anyway, after all that excitement we were hoping for a quieter day. We woke up to a muggy morning with torrential rain and thunder. Other Dad came down before 8.00 and topped up the haylage and both Dads were with us by 10.00 when the vet was due to see Dibby.

I was put out in the field with Leo and Cricket, but after the vet had examined Dibby they took him outside onto the concrete to walk and trot up and then do the same after flexions on each leg. I came up to the gate to say hello to Dibby and see what was going on.

They then lunged Dibby in the school on both reins and the vet confirmed he could see the discomfort which seemed to be due to spavins which could normally be treated successfully by injections in the hocks. An appointment was made for Dibby to go for X rays at 2.00 on Friday -so no lesson for me this week.

I waited at the gate until they brought Dibby out to graze and we spent the rest of the afternoon out. Dad attended to the stable and went home, returning at 4.00 to put the beds down and bring us in. I do worry about my friend Dibby and hope he feels better soon; he's my favourite cob.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hot competition

Sunday morning was blazing. Both Dads came down by 8.15 and prepared us to go out. Dad could hardly move his left arm following an allergic reaction to Friday's horse fly bite; it was a very interesting colour. Neither Dibby or I had stable stains which made it much quicker to get ready. We were groomed and kitted out in our travelling boots and tail-guards and travelled in our lightweight cooler rugs.

We arrived at Solihull by 9.20 in plenty of time for my first test at 10.40. We were parked so that Dibbs and I could be tied up in the shade of the lorry. I'm glad we were parked in the field since a large carriage driving competition was going on on the cross country course, which I found rather alarming.

I wore my double bridle at first. We warmed up well and I went in for my CRC Walk and Trot test for beginners. It went quite well and we ended up in sixth place with some constructive remarks on my sheet and 64.02%.

Then Dibby did Prelim 1. I think he did it very well. We went back to the lorry and my double bridle was exchanged for my snaffle. For what I thought was an excellent test, Dibby was was awarded 58%. Some judges don't appreciate the way of going of some cobs, it seems.

When I was warming up for the Prelim test I had trouble sustaining my canter on the hard ground. We considered withdrawing then, but decided to give it a try. The test began well, particularly my canter on the left rein, but the canter on the right rein started on the wrong leg and when Dad took me back to trot to correct it and pick up canter again, I slipped and broke, so he completed the last few steps in trot. The rest of the test went Ok with what we thought was a respectable walk on a free rein and finish. The judge didn't seem to agree and also gave a spectacular 2 for the second canter. Dad gathers that a mark as low as that is not often awarded at Preliminary level. It certainly wasn't particularly encouraging in our very first Prelim test in competition. Our overall score was 50%. At least we earned one rosette from the outing (albeit a sixth) and Dad was very pleased with my attitude and behaviour. Other Dad was also pleased with Dibby and that he seemed to be sound.

After seeing how hard the ground was Other Dad decided to withdraw Dibby from Prelim 12. He has an appointment to see the vet tomorrow and Both Dads were concerned not to make him feel worse.

We went back to the lorry and our tack was removed. We were put in our cooler rugs and given some treats and our haynets whilst both Dads had a cup of tea and collected our sheets.

We went home by about 12.30 and were hosed down to cool before being put out to graze. Dad put up our beds whilst Other Dad sorted the lorry and made up the haylage. They then went home to cool off and rest for an hour or so.

Dad came back first. By this time I was having trouble with the horse flies and cantered over to the gate to ask to be brought in. Dad brought me in to stand by my stable in the cool whilst he put down the beds. He also hosed me down again, since being black, I had absorbed a lot of heat that afternoon. When Other Dad came down he brought Dibby in and we were put in our stables and given tea. It had been quite a long day. Dibby and I do enjoy going out to parties. It's very disappointing when judges award low marks, but it's necessary to dust oneself down and carry on and try to improve. As Scarlet O'Hara said in Gone with the Wind : "Tomorrow is another day"; resiliance is also very much a cob thing.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

About time

Since they've still put today's blog into yesterdays - here's a bonus picture. Cobs believe in making the most of a situation

Even hotter

It seemed even hotter today - which, by the way, is Saturday 10th June and not 9th June as shown above. It just refuses to be corrected. Other Dad topped up our haylage and Both Dads came down to ride earlier than usual to try to avoid the worst of the heat. Dad rode me in the school in my double bridle. We ran through the tests for tomorrow reasonably well and came in after about 40 minutes. I was hosed down and put out to graze whilst Dad dealt with the beds.

He came back after the England game and brought us in. We stood outside the stables as he put our beds dwon. Then Both Dads washed our tails and Dad replaced our cotton wool in our stud holes. Dad had been bitten by a horse fly during our lesson yesterday and it was very swollen today. They gave us or teas and went tome at about 6.30. It looks like the dressage will take place in blazing heat tomorrow. Dibby and I don't feel too nervous; as long as we go together, I'm usually alright. I'm keen on security; it's a cob thing.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Coo wot a scorcher! By the way, today is Friday 9th. June -which the software refuses to show for some reason.Other Dad put us out to graze at 8.15 or so and Dad started on our stables early. We had a lesson booked with Teacher Steve for 2.30 and Dad was wondering whether to opt for the easier option and do it in the double bridle or ride in my snaffle, in which we really needed the practice.

Dad attended to the stables and brought me in at 1.00. To be honest I was quite pleased to stand by my stable in the cool and eat a haynet. Dad put on my black exercise bandages and double bridle and took me outside for 2.25.

It was very warm and sunny but there was some breeeze, so it wasn't too bad. When Teacher Steve arrived, he said he didn't want to exert me too much in this weather and so we did a lot of work in walk and trot concentrating on roundness and no canter this time. We did some good work, especially in the earlier part of the session and then my mind began to wander and Dad had to win my concentration back. Overall though we were both pleased with the session.

Dad took me in and hosed me down. He let me stand with my head over Dibby's stable door for some very relaxing mutual grooming. After this quality time, he put me in the stable. After I had cooled - whilst Dad brushed and re-rolled my bandages - we had tea. I must admit I felt very smart with my clip, exercise bandages and Albion saddle; a smart cob is a happy cob.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The heatwave continued. Dad took me in the school in my snaffle at about 10.00. It was already quite warm and so we did a lot of work in walk - concentrating on softening, straightness, leg yield and transitions. I know Dad was already worrying about how it would be to compete at Solihull on Sunday when it's forescast to be even hotter.

Other Dad joined us on Dibby and watched as we ran through the CRC Walk and Trot and then Prelim 1. It wasn't very round and the second canter was uncontrolled, but we ran through it.

We went in and I was hosed down. When she was clipping yesterday, Claire noticed I had a small round sore on my left heel just above the hoof. It looked like an old mud fever scab and was red and weeping a little. Then we tried purple spray, but it hadn't cleared up so today Dad applied some hibiscrub. He then put on some fly spray and my fringe and put me out to graze. Dibby joined me later after he had been hosed and cooled off.

We pottered in the sunshine whilst Dad got on with putting up the beds. He went home and returned at 4.00 to put the beds down and get us in. We were very warm. Being black Dad says I'm just like a storage radiator, absorbing heat. We both enjoyed standing in the cool by our stables eating our haylage. Cobs often opt for simple pleasures.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

From Claire to here

Having survived 06.06.06 yesterday, this part of the world awoke to more sunshine and blue sky. Claire was supposed to be coming at 10.00 to clip Dibby and me and Other Dad came down early to top up our haylage.

Claire clipped me first. She was surprised by the extent of my summer coat and took it off, whilst Dad attended to my stable. Claire said I was playful like a puppy and that Dibbs was more tense and worried than usual. Dibb's coat was also quite thick and needed removing. Whilst Claire started on Dibby, Dad brushed and washed me down before putting on fly spray and my mask and putting me out to graze. When Dibby was clipped Dad gave him a bath - including his tail and brought him out to join me in the field. Both Dads then had some coffee and finished the stables, putting my bed down and leaving Dibb's to air, before going home for a couple of hours. Dad finished them off on his return.

Given all our activity over the past few days and the heat, we were given the day off today. We came in at 5.00 to be brushed again and given tea. It was rather like a grooming day at a spa; cobs enjoy a little pampering from time to time.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bath Day

Yet another warm day. Dad came at 10.30 and tacked me up in my hanging cheek snaffle with my dressage saddle. Other Dad put Dibby out and Dad took me in the school .We practiced in walk and did some quite poor work in trot with the upwards transitions to canter sometimes on the wrong leg and sluggish - which does not bode well for the tests at Solihull next Sunday. We practised the CRC Beginners test and Prelim 1 in a pretty undistinguished way. After running through it a few times, we finished more positively attempting Prelim 1 respectably once and did some loosening on a long rein in walk and trot.

Tomorrow we are due to be clipped by Claire and may have the rest of the day off, but I know Dad would like to practice these tests in a snaffle some more. The Swallowfield competitions at Solihull are all open and so we find it hard against strong pothunting competition at the best of times - let alone with me above the bit, doing incorrect transitions on the wrong leg and being disobedient. Still, we'll just keep plugging away.

When we went in Dad hosed me off and gave me a shampoo - including my tail - so I was nice and clean and cool. I felt better for this and went out to graze without my fly rug to dry off. Dad attended to the stables and came back to put the beds down and bring us in after 4.00.

Once inside we watched Dad put our beds down whilst Other Dad picked out our feet and groomed us. Dad applied eucalyptus oil to our hooves and gave us our tea.

When I'm tied up outside my stable I sometimes eat some haylage, but often just lower my head and rest. I remember at Little Manor when Adelle first saw this she was so concerned that I was unwell she insisted on calling the vet - who came and found nothing wrong. Sometimes I just relax and am not ashamed to show it. Even cobs don't have to take the trouble to look magnificent all the time

Monday, June 05, 2006

On the fringe

A bright and warm start to the week. Other Dad put Dibbs and me out to graze early and Dad came down later to attend to our stables. After going home for a few hours, both Dads came back and brought us in at 4.00.

We stood by our stables in the cool and had some haylage for half an hour and were groomed. Dad put on my black exercise bandages with my pelham and dressage saddle. We went into the school at 5.30 for a group lesson with Liz from Moreton Morrell. There were four others in the class plus Dibby and me; Tod, Leo, Kamara and Tom. We schooled in walk and trot and did some shoulder fore and turns about the forehand. As well as cantering on a twenty metre circle in groups of three, we also practised walk on a long rein and trotting across the diagonal with a transition to canter on the far side and then cantering around to the rear of the ride. Dad was pleased with my transitions and that I didn't get too excited.

It was a quite tiring on a warm afternoon and we were both satisfied with the session. Dibby was good, as ever.We were all well behaved apart from Kamara who was "a little fresh"and gave Isabelle a difficult ride, but she coped very well. I miss our housewives' sessions at Solihull on Monday mornings but always enjoy Liz's group lessons at Netherwood.

When we came in we were hosed down and dried and put in the stable our cooler rugs. After cooling down we had tea and some treats whilst Dad sat outside and brushed and rolled my bandages. The lesson was the start of this week's preparations for the dressage at Solihull on Sunday which we hope will be a nice outing. Cobs do like to have something to look forward to.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

No business like show-cob business

The sunny spell continued into Sunday. Dad took me in the school at 10.45 - still in my pelham and dressage saddle. After we had warmed up, Gemma rode me for twenty minutes or so. We schooled in walk and trot on both reins going large, which made a nice change. We didn't canter today. Dad took some snaps.

When Gemma left Dad got back on and finished the session with some sitting trot, a little canter and a lot of walking around on a long rein to stretch and cool off.

I was hosed off when we came in and groomed before being put out in my new fly rug and fringe - as per the photograph! Dibby joined me when Other Dad finished his schooling. We grazed as Dad dealt with the stables and then went home.

He came back at 4.30 to put the beds down and bring us in - just as a thunder shower was starting. We ate our haynets outside the stables as he finished off. Then it was time to go in and have tea. It made a nice change to be ridden by Gemma today who hopefully will introduce us to some ridden cob competition later in the summer. We cobs do enjoy a change of scene, the chance to meet other horses and the challenge of competition, but aren't terribly competitive per se. It's so undignified. I would like to be a show cob one day, but will try not to let the fame go to my head. I'm ready for my mints now Mr De Mille.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Blue and green memories

The warm sunny weather continued into the weekend with a big blue sky and pleasant breeze. Other Dad put us out to graze early and we just pottered about the field for the day. The vivid greens and blues reminded Dad of some lines he had written about chestnut Patrick some years ago:

I loved that horse
Big ears swivelling
Back and forward
Often one pointing each way.
Dangly lower lip and elegant whiskers,
Mad for mints
Imperious and bullying:
A big copper shield
Shining in the sunshine
With four white socks on
Dainty giraffe legs.

A lively lad
Bored with schooling
Living and longing
To jump as high as the sky,
To gallop and fly
And snort and plunge
Just for the living of it,
To bound and buck
Just for the joy
Of breathing the breeze
And sailing
Through the blue and green.

Innocent in repose
Apt to shy at dragons in
Dock leaves and pose,
Like heroes do,
Distant and proud.
Good without thinking
Bad without malice
A joy and terror:
Patrick in the buttercups.
I often caught my breath.
I loved that horse.

Dad was very sad today because he had learned his friends' beautiful dog Julian had to be put down. Dad always said Julian reminded him of me; he had known great hardship but was a gentle soul. Everyone who knew Julian properly will miss him very much.

Dad dealt with our stables and went home to watch some of the football, returning about 4.00. We were brought in and groomed. Dad then tacked me up in my pelham - with an expensive new Sabre cheek piece from Horsesense - and my dressage saddle and took me in the school. We did half an hours work mainly in walk and trot with a little canter and the odd turn about the forehand for a change. Dad was pleased with my obedient attitude since I had been out all day and would normally have been having tea then.

Once inside, I was hosed down and dried and put in the stable. After I had cooled off, we were given tea and later wormed with Equest - but had lots of mints to take away the taste. Other Dad came down late in the evening to check we were OK. Even though we don't really like wormer, we know it goes with the territory and - unlike thoroughbred mares - cobs try not to complain.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Working trot and working knowledge

A brighter Friday at last! Other Dad topped up our haylage early and Dad came down at 10.30. He rode me in the school in my double bridle whilst Dibbs went for a hack. We practiced in walk with flexions, trot and canter and did some lateral work too. Dad found me excellent for most of the time with patches of resistance. He thought we could do with a break from schooling, but unfortunately I find hacking friom the yard stressful, so perhaps we could go out in the lorry to the members field at Solihull for a change of scene.

Unfortunately, the dressage at Pinley is cancelled for Sunday on account of a waterlogged field, so we will need to arrange an alternative outing before the dressage at Solihull on 11th. June - where I am now due to give the world my Prelim 1.

Dad attended to the stables and went home - to watch the deeply intellectual Coach Party.... he says all the mucking out is damaging his brain and may have a point. He came back and put our beds down at 4.30 or so - leaving Other Dad to enjoy the even more challenging Deal or no Deal -with Sir Noel.

They brought us in at 5.00 after a lovely sunny afternoon out in the field and, after grooming, gave us tea. You may be surpised that a cob has such detailed knowledge of daytime television scheduling, but just because you are a cob, it doesn't mean you can't have a working understanding of the media. Brighter cobs do, however, draw the line at Celebrity X Factor.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Drawing the line

A grey and overcast start to the day as Other Dad came to put us out to graze at 8.15. When Dad arrived, he found me exploring the tastier grass on the far side of the tape that's supposed to keep Edward in the next paddock from removing Cricket's muzzle.

By then Cricket had already dispensed with his muzzle, probably after a tug from Edward, so I'm not sure what the tape is supposed to achieve. Anyway, Dad untangled me from the tape and then had to do the same with Leo, who not being a cob and being only four, isn't that bright and worldly and just copied me. Then Dad brought out Di and they took down the tape around the gate but put back up and electrified the remaining tape next to Edward's paddock. Such fun....

After all the musical fences, since the Dads were going out to lunch, they attended to our stables quickly and were off by about 12.00. We were able to get out heads down and chill, which was pleasant.

Both Dads came back at 4.00 and brought us in. Dad took me in the school in my double bridle for half an hour and we did more work in walk and trot with a little canter. The pony Meg was a little naughty just before we started and her rider fell off. I guess she wanted her tea and wasn't in a good mood. Dad was satisfied with our schooling and we went in. I was hosed down and put in my cooler rug and, after a while, given tea. A funny mixed blustery day with being naughty in the morning and schooling well in the afternoon; we cobs know where to draw the line.