The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Thursday, September 28, 2006

On not having the Latin

It was a warm but overcast morning. We went in the school and, after warming up with work on a long rein and some lateral exercises, went through some tests, the Walk and Trot and Prelim 18. It rained for some of the time but we just carried on. By the time we had finished I was quite soft and round and Dad was pleased - particularly with my roundness in walk and trot and some of the canter. The transitions still need a lot of work.

Once inside I was sponged off and put out to graze for the afternoon. We came in at 5.00 for grooming and tea. It was Dad's birthday today and Dibby and I sent Dad a charming card - well, Other Dad bought it and wrote it for us, but the thought was there. Cobs are very thoughtful you know, but don't have the Latin.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


After an easy day yesterday, Dad schooled me this morning. We began with the usual softening exercises - not that I was particularly responsive today. Dad persevered with exercises to get my hind legs under me with lateral work and transitions. We also practised the Solihull Walk and Trot test and, for the first time, the beginning of Prelim 17. We cooled off walking around on a long rein with Dibbs and then went out to graze.

Dad brought me in at 5.00. By then it was rather windy and I decided to get a little silly on the way in - mainly by running around Dad on my lead rope, one way and then the other. In the cartoons he would have spun round like a top or been screwed into the ground, but it wasn't as much fun.

Anyway, he eventually managed to get me in and calmed down. He said I was a tad frisky and needed to get out to a party and wasn't far wrong. I stood outside my stable and watched him put my bed down. Then it was grooming and tea.

You may wonder how a cob manages to have a working knowledge of cartoons, but then cobs are sometimes surprising. My favourite is the road runner...beep, beep.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Simple and minty

As suggested by Halina, Dad gave me the day off after my treatment yesterday. Dibby also had a rest after his energetic lesson. We went out without rugs and enjoyed a sunny day grazing. We came in at 4.30 to be groomed and given tea. Cobs like it simple and minty.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Halina's second visit

After calling in on their return last night, Both Dads came down quite early this morning. Dad took me in the school and we worked on softness and roundness in walk again with lateral exercises, half-halts, shoulder-in and leg yield. There were some fences out at first and we worked around them doing suppling exercises.

Other Dad came out when he had put Dibby out to graze an watched us for a while and we ran through Prelim 18. We practised canter and I had some fun going up into canter when Dad didn't want me to, but we eventually saw it the same way.

I then went in and ate my haylage watching Dad attending to my stable. I wondered why I wasn't put out to graze straight away and found out why when Halina came to see me at 1.30.

She worked on my neck, back and rump as before and said I had improved since last time. She also gave me ultra sound treatment on one side which tickled but Dad stroked my head and stopped me fidgeting too much. Halina said she was pleased with my progress and that unless I had any new problems she need not see me for a few months - so Dad made an appointment for her to check me and Dibby on 21 December.

I went out with Dibby and Cricket for the afternoon and came in at 4.30. I was put in my stable after grooming and couldn't take part in the evening group lesson with Liz following my treatment. Other Dad was able to join in with Dibby, who kept up with the lesson well, even after having his remedial shoeing removed. He worked very hard and got quite warm and had to be hosed down and put in his sweat rug on his return. Dad put down Dibby's bed whilst the lesson went on and so I had some company whilst I ate my tea plus the odd minty to pass the time.

So that was quite an eventful Monday; it's just as well cobs prefer to be kept busy.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

They're back

Neither Dad visited Dibby or me on Friday afternoon, all day Saturday or for most of Sunday. Dad had said they were going to Wales - but this didn't mean much to me.

Anyway after two sleeps and two and a half long grazes, we were back in our stables on Sunday night. We had eaten our haylage and not much was happening, when they both turned up. This was very nice because they made a fuss of us and gave us minties as well as a groom, skipping out our stables and topping up the haylage and water.

So all was well; cobs do like a happy ending.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Off for the weekend

Both Dads were preparing to visit friends in Wales over the weekend, so Dibby and I are going to have a weekend off too. We were put out to graze in the morning and someone else will be taking care of us until Both Dads return. They will leave notes and a copious supply of carrots, apples and minties, so hopefully we will be OK. Fortunately, cobs are very brave.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hot September

After yesterday off, we resumed schooling. Both Dads were primarily concerned to see if Dibby was more comfortable and steady this morning after having his remedial shoeing removed yesterday. Initially he had ben quite wobbly and stiff but he had been better when walked and trotted-up first thing today and went well in the school .

We concentrated on our homework of getting my hing legs under me and make me go round with lateral exercises-half-halts, leg-yield, shoulder in and lots of transitions. Dibby joined us and we spent most of the session practising this in tandem. We finished with a little sitting and rising trot.

We were out for the aftenoon and came in at 5.00. It was time to be wormed but we were given lots of mints to take away the taste and then tea. Today saw record hot temperatures for September, so we were glad to have been clipped and not worked too hard. Cobs usually count their blessings.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Call me oblivious

Richard the farrier visited today. Dibby and I waited whilst he dealt with Bailey and then it was my turn. I went out to graze whilst Richard saw Dibby. At the suggestion of Rob, the vet, he shod Dibby as normal without the plastic packing and webbing in his front hooves to enable Both Dads to judge whether it will be necessary for the remedial shoeing to continue. Dibby joined me in the field by 1.15 or so and we had the rest of the afternoon grazing.

We came in at 5.00. Both Dads thought Dibbs looked rather uncomfortable on the turn since his change of front shoes and walked and trotted him up to check. They will see how he is later in the evening and walk and trot him in the school tomorrow morning. If necessary they will consult Rob, the vet about asking the farrier to refit the remedial shoes at the front to make Dibbs more comfortable. I was fairly oblivious to all this since we both had our heads down in the field for most of the afternoon. Being "oblivious" is quite often a cob thing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Practising for parties

The dry sunny weather continued into Tuesday and we began the day with more schooling. Dad was feeling a little under the weather and so we worked mainly in walk with some trot at the end.

As before, we worked on obtaining roundness by getting my hind legs under me and moving forward into the bridle: leg-yield, shoulder-in, walk/halt/walk transitions and half halts. By the end of the session I was quite relaxed, soft and round and Dad found I was responding to inside leg into outside hand in walk and some of the time in trot.

We quit whilst we were ahead and, after grooming, some massage and an apple, I went out to graze for the rest of the afternoon. We came in at 5.00 for tea. Whilst I was being groomed I told Dad I'm happy to do all this practising, but do hope it means we get to go out to some parties before it snows.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lightening it up

More schooling this morning. The warm and dry weather continued and so we tried to make the best of it. We worked on the elements covered in our last lesson, so there was plenty of walk, shoulder-in, leg-yield, transitions and softening lateral work. We also practiced sitting trot and transitions to nine of ten strides of controlled canter, which went well.

Earlier Dad had found me a little more resistant today, but thought this might be due to a need for a change of routine. It was unfortunate we weren't able to get to Solihull either time last week. We need to go out to a party some time soon. Unfortunately details of the autumn seasons competitons at the club aren't out yet, so we can't plan. We will have to go in the field tomorrow, if it's still unoccupied.

To lighten things up before finishing, we went round the school with Dibby which was fun. We went out to four hours in the afternoon before coming in for grooming and tea. Dad asked if we could use the field by the school in the week, but Leo is turned out there each morning, so we can't. The large area at the back of our field is unoccupied in the mornings and we can use that. Twice on grass in one week; not exactly over-indulgence, but cobs are rarely spoiled.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cob walks on grass

It was a lovely sunny morning with a pleasant breeze and few flies. We went back into the school and practised what we had covered yesterday, but mainly in walk. We did a lot of leg yield and shoulder in, walk-halt transitions and circles pushing the hind legs under to gain roundness.

Dibby joined us and we walked round together doing the same things large and over a pole. We also practised sitting and rising trot on both reins and finished off on a long rein.

Afterwards we walked around the larger field together and looked at the logs laid out for cross country jumps. It must have been a year since I walked on grass other than at Solihull and Dad was very pleased that I didn't get too excited. It was very relaxing in the sunshine.

We went out to graze until 5.oo and then came in for grooming and tea. It's definitely a slow news day when the main item is "Cob walks on grass".

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday afternoon lesson

This Saturday morning Other Dad came early and put us out to graze. Dad brought me in to be groomed and tacked up after a few hours at 11.00.

I wore my snaffle, dressage saddle and white exercise boots and Liz came for lesson at noon. We began work in walk concentrating on getting round by getting my hind legs under me and moving forward into the bridle, rather than just using the hand. We did lots of leg-yield and shoulder-in and inside leg into outside rein.

We went up into trot after I became rounder on both reins. We found this much harder and sometimes had to return to walk to regain softness. We even went large in trot and crossed the diagonal. It was fun going down the long side in trot taking the rein down a little with Dad trying to ride me between hand and leg for some of the time.

With some breaks to stretch on a long rein, we finished the session by working on a slow sitting trot and taking 9 or 10 steps of controlled canter on both reins. Dad needed to use his inside leg and a gentle flexion to gain roundness when I stuck my nose out. He needed not to lean back too much in going into canter or generally not to lean forward too much or to let me go too fast and onto the forehand at any stage.

Dad needed to give me clearer aids and to ensure there was a consistent contact and to remember to use the outside rein rather than overuse the inside rein. We both had a lot to work on but the session showed some improvement and everyone was pleased.

After the lesson I had an apple and mints and was groomed before rejoining Dibby in the field. We stayed out until 5.00 and came in to be groomed, have Tecsin applied and have tea. After a disappointing week for us both, Dad and I were pleased to have had beneficial treatment from Halina and a constructive and encouraging lesson. Even cobs need cheering up from time to time.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A cob marches on his hooves

A more routine day after the excitement of yesterday. It was fine and warm. Dad schooled me in my snaffle in the morning. We worked for an hour or so with lots of walk and halt transitions, lateral work and some trot and canter. We practiced Prelim 18 and I managed the canter elements with the right lead, so Dad was quite pleased.

After grooming I went out in the field with Dibbs, who was given the day off after his efforts at the Championship. We stayed out until 5.00 when we came in for grooming and tea. Dad is already a little concerned about our feet at the first sign of damper weather and applied eucalyptus oil, having used Tecsin yesterday. He feels a cob marches on his hooves - and who am I to disagree?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Waiting for Dibby

After raining for most of the night, the deluge continued in the morning. Other Dad topped up our haylage at 8.15 and both Dads came back at 10.00. Dad groomed me and put me out in the field with Cricket, since it was far too wet to take me on the lorry to Solihull just to warm up. When Dad released me in the field, I squeaked a little and trotted off after having some minties, so Dad got the impression that I could cope with the disappointment of not going to the party.

It absolutely poured with rain during the morning, but Cricket and I weren't too bothered. We were very pleased to see Dibby come back at 2.15 and stood by the gate to welcome him when we saw the lorry arrive.

Dibby told us he had competed inside in Prelim 16 and had come joint first in the Championship and won a rosette with long ribbons and had had an apple, minties and a large haylage net on the lorry - so everyone was very pleased.

We grazed for the afternoon and came in at 5.00 for grooming and tea. Dad told me we would be going in the school tomorrow morning and spending some more time together, so no harm was done. I was pleased for Dibby's success after all his recent problems with his joints. Provided Dad's not involved and it doesn't extend to minties, cobs don't stoop to jealousy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back in the saddle

After two day's off, it was back to school this morning.

Dad rode me in my snaffle for forty-five minutes or so. We did a lot of work on a long rein and then in medium walk with leg yield and shoulder in and halt/walk transitions. Only toward the end of the session did we go up into trot and for the much of the time I was on the bit.

We then went in to be groomed, massaged and put out to graze. Dibbs joined me after he had been ridden too.

We came in at 5.00 and were given a bath and had our tails shampooed. This was mainly because Dibby will be going to Solihull tomorrow to take part in the Prelim 16 Championship. I won't because the Walk and Trot Championship is now being held on the surface next to the scary fence, but Dad is thinking of taking me too to warm up and get used to the atmosphere.

I won't be going if it's pouring with rain, since they will need the extra space on the lorry to tack Dibby up and try to keep him dry before competing. If we do go, he incorrectly thinks it will all be the same to me and that I won't notice if we don't actually compete. He means well and I don't want to disillusion him. Cobs are considerate like that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Starting all over again

Today was my second day off after the treatment on Sunday. Dibbs and I were put out before 9.00 and had a pleasant day grazing in the sunshine.

Dad had entered me in the Walk and Trot Championship at Solihull on Thursday on the basis that it would be held indoors. On ringing for our times this morning we were told it had been transferred outside onto the rubber surface next to the wood. I like the bouncy surface and don't object to the wood but am very scared of the fencing they have erected on one corner of the arena and tend to panic and break into canter wherever I get near it, so Dad had to withdraw us. Dibbs will still compete in the Prelim 16 Championship indoors, but it's yet another disappointment we have come to expect there.

Anyway, we came in at 4.30 for grooming and a little massage followed by tea. Dad says if it's fine we will do some straight work in the school tomorrow. Like they say in the song, cobs know how to dust themselves off and start all over again.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rest day

Halina suggested that after yesterday's treatment, I have a few days off. So, instead of schooling this morning, I was put out in the field to graze. It was a lovely sunny dry late summer's morning and so I made the most of it.

Other Dad rode Dibby in the school and then put him out with me. Rob the vet then came and Cricket was taken in to be examined. Then Dibby went in to be given a booster of his hyonate injection following which he rejoined me.

We came in at 5.00 for grooming, some massage and tea. Dad could see I was still a bit tender where I had been treated yesterday, so a day-off was a good idea. Unfortunately cobs aren't used to a life of leisure, but it's nice whilst it lasts.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Visit from Halina

We had a new visitor this morning called Halina. We were lucky that Sara had asked her to come since Halina is very busy. She had spent the last few days working with Andrew Hoy at Burghley: quite a change to David the cob - first the hoi, then the polloi.

Dad brought Halina in and she touched me all over to see what hurt. Halina worked on my head and neck and all along my back. She felt my muscles and particularly the tense and sore parts and worked on them. She unknotted some of the tied up part of my muscles and even worked on my tail. She showed Dad how I was skeletally level but significantly more developed on my left side rather than my right - particularly around the saddle area. She also flagged up the sensitive areas around by bottom and poll

Halina talked to Dad about my boxy feet - especially the right one and the best form of shoeing. She asked how Dad schooled me and warmed up and suggested some changes to get me going better. We will try loosening up on a long rein as we do now but add some early canter going large with Dad off my back to get me going forward. Halina stressed the benefit of lots of lateral work and turn about the forehand - as Liz does - so this should complement what we are doing.

She also showed Dad how to massage me when my saddle is removed . She thought I should have few days off and booked another appointment for 25th. September at 1.30.

Dad and Other Dad listened very intently to what Halina had to say and found it very clear and interesting. They could understand why her services are so sought after. Dad was pleased he had arranged the appointment and withdrawn me from the Walk and Trot at Solihull today. As it turned out the winner achieved 85% odd - compared to my normal score in the low fifties, so a rosette was not really an issue today!

We enjoyed the afternoon out in the field and came in at 4.30 for grooming and tea. I wonder how many cobs can say they were treated by the same person as helps the rider of the winners of this year's Badminton and Lexington - not to mention runner-up at Burghley?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sunny Saturday

Another dry, warm and sunny day. Other Dad came down early to take off our stable rugs and top up our haylage and both Dads returned after 10.30 to ride.

We worked mainly in walk with Dad concentrating on his position -shoulders back, heels down, leg long, breathing and soft eyes. He tried flexions to the inside but not so as to make me fall in and tried to put on plenty of leg and get me to go into the bridle rather than holding me round with his hand. He also tried to give a little more with his outside hand when taking the inside hand out and down to the knee.

We worked on leg yield and shoulder in and lots of halt/walk transitions with minties as a reward when I got it right, provided I stretched round to get them. We should have done more 50 p piece shapes getting my hind legs to come across under me, as per Liz's lesson but will have to concentrate on that next time.

We finished with a little trotting and canter and walk around with Dibbs on a long rein.

We came in to be hosed down and put out to graze. It was a pleasant afternoon and we came in about 5.00 for grooming and tea. It was a nice summer's day for a cob to remember when it's cold and rainy in March.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back to business

After two days off, it was back to schooling this morning. It was dry, sunny and warm with a pleasant breeze, which helped keep away some of the flies.

We schooled in my snaffle, mainly in walk but with some trot and a little canter. Sally watched us for a while and rode me for a fw minutes also in walk and trot, working on my roundness through transitions. She also rode Dibby,which he enjoyed; this was after a break of over ten years.

We were groomed and put out to graze, although this meant Dibby grazing and me flirting with Breeze over the fence for most of the afternoon.

We came in at 5.00 to be groomed. Dad put eucalyptus oil on our hooves. Connie in the stable opposite had crystal therapy whlst we were being groomed. Our yard is a hotbed of holistic therapy at the moment. We then had tea and Other Dad came down later for a mintie and to skip us out. A full day; cobs prefer it to be balanced like that.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another clip

Claire came this morning to clip Dibby and me. I was clipped first and was given a bath and had my tail washed. Then it was Dibb's turn. We were then put out to graze in the sunshine. So it's two days in a row without schooling. We came in at 5.00 for grooming and tea. Cobs are happy to work when required but enjoy some time off; we don't really "do" guilt.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quiet hedonism

As expected, Dad gave us today off after the exertions earlier in the week. We went out to graze at 8.30 and came in about 4.00 to be groomed and given tea. It was dry and warm and a very pleasant holiday. This is about as close to hedonism as a cob gets.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tired Tuesday

Dad thought it would be agood idea to build on the work we did in the group lesson last night and so we schooled for forty five minutes or so this morning. I wore my snaffle and we went over the exercises in walk, trot and canter including the five metre loops and 15 metre circles, half halts and exercises getting the hind feet to come more under the body. This was intended to promote roundness from behind rather than just from the hand.

We worked on some canter too. My strike off was more consistently correct but I had difficulty in sustaining it, so we will have to practice that.

We came in and I was hosed down before joining Dibby out in the field until 5.00. We came in to grooming and a chat before tea. Dad was tired and I guess we may have the day off tomorrow. Cobs may not be psychic but are observant.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Group lesson to start the week

The week got off to an early start. Other Dad came down before 9.00 and put Dibby and me out to graze. He then took the lorry away to be emptied before going to the garage for its sevice and annual plating: a nervous and expensive time.

After taking the lorry to Coventry, both Dads came back to deal with the stables, water and haylage before going home. They returned later in the afternoon to bring us in and tack us up for the group lesson at 5.30.

Our first group included Vadio, Meg, Patch and Little Bailey as well as Dibby and me. I wore my snaffle and we worked in walk on getting the hind legs to move across, on roundness and softness. We worked on 5 metre loops and fifteen metre circles and on roundness in trot and then canter in groups of three and walking on a long rein. We had to focus on not falling in so much. Dad found it helped if he wasn't quite so extravagant in taking the inside rein to the knee in flexions to get roundness. We did some good work in trot and both found the lesson beneficial.

Dad cleared the school whilst Other Dad held us and also gave Liz some coffee.

We were hosed down, groomed and given tea after what turned out to be a busy day. Dad and Liz were pleased with my application, so I was happy about that. Cobs enjoy unsolicited approval.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

September Sunday

Although it was incredibly blustery this morning we schooled for forty five minutes or so. Dad tried to practice the things we had worked on in our lesson yesterday. We concentrated particularly on getting my hind legs under me on the turn and shoulder in around the circle to promote roundness. We worked on this in walk and went up into trot and then canter and ran through Prelim 18 a few times to tie all the elements together. With the strong wind it was quite difficult to concentratre and we were both relieved to come in. Dibbs and I were sponged off and put out to graze for the afternoon.

We came in at 4.30 for grooming and tea. Dad had been able to arrange for Helena Tombs to come and look at my back and poll, but owing to pressure of work this has to be on 10th September and we will have to withdraw from the walk and trot that day. We wouldn't have exactly been in contention given the level of person competing in walk and trot tests at Solihull nowadays and so I can just about cope with the disappointment. Unlike some warmbloods, cobs don't tend to be embittered by thwarted ambition.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday lesson

Liz came to the yard today and we had a private lesson in my snaffle in the school. It had been pouring with rain earlier in the morning, but it had mostly stopped by the time we started at 11.00.

We worked mainly in walk and focused on gaining softness and roundness. We concentrated on exercises to get my hind legs more under me and began with quarter turns on the forehand which I found difficult.

Dad had to get me to move my hind legs around without moving forward. We both found this hard. We combined this with shoulder in on the four sides of a square and then practised in the shape of a fifty pence piece and old threepenny bit before moving onto a circle itslf. We added halt transitions and did it on both reins.

We moved up into trot and tried to regulate pace and do half halts .Basically I was to get my hind legs under me more and Dad wasn't to hold me in with his hand. He had to concentrate on uprightness, heels down and to give me clearer aids, so as not to confuse me. He was to give more subtly (as in stopping a take) and never to have slack or flappy reins.

We did some work soft and round with good downwards transitions to walk and halt and both Dad and Liz were pleased with me.

When we came in I was groomed and put out to graze with Dibbs. It was quite wet and blustery but we stayed out until 4.00 when we came in to grooming and tea. I enjoyed my lesson and was pleased that Dad took note of what I said to Sara. Cobs have opinions and like it when they are taken into account.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday of leisure

Since I had been schooled four or five days in a row, Dad decided that I should have today off. Dibbs and I were put out to graze by aout 8.30 and had a pleasant day in the field. Dibbs ate for most of the time and I had a play over the fence with Edward. Dad said he could tell by the teeth marks on my jaw.

We came in at 5.00 and were groomed and given tea. Cobs benefit from a day's recreation sometimes