The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reading minds

Richard the farrier was due today and Dad arrived before 9.00 hoping we could be shod and put out to graze and that he could get away early. As it happens, we were put back and so plans changed.

Fortuntely my tack was in the car and so Dad swapped my hanging snaffle for a pinchless snaffle bit, tacked me up and took me in the school for forty mintues or so.

It was quite blustery but dry. I was quite calm and well-mannered. We did a lot of work in walk practising roundness and softness and walking forward into the bit. We did some lateral work about the whole school, shoulder-in and leg yield with halt transitions and did go up in to trot. Dad was pleased that I took the bit down and practised being as gentle as practically possible with my mouth. He used the work in walk to practice breathing, staight back, leg and heel position, soft eyes, relaxed shoulders, hands forward when possible and maintaining a consistent contact.

Dad thought it would be interesting to see how long I remained this co-operative with this bit. Previously I had tired of it and ceased to play ball after a while. Anyway, on the positive side, today's unplanned schooling had been pleasant and relaxing and had gone well.

We came in and Dad had time to give me a good massage on my weaker right side and started on Dibby's stable. When Dibby was shod he was put in his lightweight rug and out to graze and I was then passed on to the farrier. When my shoeing was completed Dad applied Tecsin to my hooves - as he had to Dibby's- and put me out to graze for the afternoon.

Dad brought us in at 4.00 to be groomed and fed. With various things going on today, he was tense and depressed. He carried on jollying Dibby and me along. He's obviously read in one of those books of his that his moods communicate to us and thinks we don't notice when he's upset. Nice try but no cigar, this time. Cobs may not be overly demonstrative but they know exactly what's going on inside your head.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Back to work again this morning after two days off. We began with walk on a long rein, both ways and then went up to medium walk with leg yield, shoulder-in and halt transitions. We went up into trot in a circle and square and did a little canter.

We didn't practice any tests today but joined with Dibby to walk and trot around together and canter at 12 and 6 o clock on a twenty metre circle. This was reasonably controlled and Dad was pleased.

We came in to be sponged down. Dad found a little rub by the corner of my mouth and sponged it and applied aloe vera. He will probably swap me back to my pinchless snaffle on the elevator bridle tomorow to see if that is more comfortable.

We spent the afternoon out - after the field had been topped -and came in at 4.30 when it was getting dark. We ate our haylage whilst Dad finished putting down our stables. Apart from getting a little more perky, cobs cope with the onset of autumn quite well.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Dad had to stay at home with a migraine today and so Other Dad put us out to graze, attended to both stables, haylage and water and brought us in, groomed us and gave us tea. I thanked him by misbehaving on being brought in and running around him on my lead rope. Dad was not impressed to hear of this. Cobs can be very un-coblike sometimes.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just grazing

Both Dads had visitors this evening and so Dibby and I were put out to graze early to give them time to get ready. In any event, it was grey and dull and they didn't much feel like riding. This was OK by Dibby and me.

We had a pleasant day and some quality time and attention when we were brought in. Cobs don't object to compliance.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Benefits of a mini-break

Dad wanted to make sure we had schooled before the forecast rain began and so we started before 11.00 this morning. We stretched on a long rein all around the school for a while and then shortened into medium walk and added leg-yield and shoulder-in with halt walk tansitions. We ran through Prelim 18 and 1 - although we were hampered a little by Xaile putting his head over and through the fence and knocking down the markers. Walk and trot were reasonable as was my canter on the left rein, but I did have trouble concentrating on my right hand canter transition, particularly becuase of that little local interference.

We then walked around the rest of the school stretching and working on circles whilst Dibby ran through some tests. I relaxed a little more and became much softer and very round. At one pint we did sitting trot right around the primeter with me on the bit all the time. My neck was arched and my poll was the highest point. Dad was very pleased and thought it best to leave it at that after Dibby and I had walked a round for a while on a long rein.

We went out to graze in our rugs whilst Dad attended to our stables and came in at 4.30 or so. Dad was impressed with my work on the bit today and thought I had benefited for a couple of days off. Cobs appreciate a holiday - well, more of a mini-break really.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Room service

Dad put in an early appearance today to repair the fence in our field next to the one where Tilly had been which had pieces knocked out with nails protruding in two places. Literally a thankless task, but there you go. Whilst he was there he put up our stables and also put Dibby and me out to graze for the day.

It didn't rain and was quite sunny, but was very windy. Others were jumping in the school at intervals throughout the day and so we gave it a miss.

Dad brought us in at 5.00 and attended to our hooves, applied Tecsin, groomed and put us in our rugs ready for tea. Other Dad came down later to skip us out, so we had particularly good room service in this hotel for two days running. We know we should show our gratitude to our staff, but cobs are not big tippers.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Like a good hotel

The forecast was for heavy rain today and so we were given the day off and put out to graze in the morning. Sure enough, it started shortly after 9.00 and carried on all day. We just put our heads down and ignored it, whilst occasionally flirting with Tilly who was on her own in the next paddock.

We came in at 4.30 with our lightweight rugs soaked. Dad picked out our feet and applied eucalyptus oil, groomed us and dried off our manes and ears with a towel. We had some mints and then our tea. Cobs enjoy it when it's like a good hotel.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

David the builder

It was a lovely dry and sunny morning and we went in the school at about 11.30. Holly was having a lesson with Mary Rose in the arena area and so we started by schooling around the fences laid out in the other half of the school. We worked on roundness and straightness and Dad's position, breathing, lower leg, straight back, relaxation...the list is endless. We practised shoulder in and leg yield and lots of walk halt transitions and then loosened up further in trot. We worked on poles and turning around fences togain flexibility.

When the lesson moved to the fences, we went into the arena area and worked in trot and canter and then did exercises with Dibby. By this time I was quite soft and round and mouthing the bit and Kate had begun her lesson on Tod. We finished off on a long rein and went in to be massaged and given an apple and minties.

We enjoyed the afternoon out grazing in the bright sunshine and came in quite reluctantly after 5.00 to be groomed, rugged-up and given tea. Dad was pleased that I was building on what we had worked on in our last lesson and I was glad he was pleased. Cobs like to be constructive.

Monday, October 23, 2006

No fuss

The weather was kinder on Monday morning and so we went in the school at 11.30. The large arena was left out after the dressage to music demonstration yesterday and so we enjoyed working in there.

We started off relaxing on a long rein and then walked and went up to trot and canter.

We ran through Prelim 17 much more securely than last time and Dad was pleased with my trot and canter transitions on the correct leg. I also became round after a reasonable amount of working in. We finished walking around with Dibby and had a massage and to be put out in our lightweight rugs which were still damp from yesterday's deluge.

We came in by 4.30 but Connie was outside her stable opposite mine whilst Lil was drilling to fix the wall between her stable and Paddy's, so once my feet were picked out and brushed with Tecsin, I was put straight in my stable and given tea.

I was brought out to be groomed and put in my stable rug once the coast was clear. Dad was pleased how I didn't shy with all that was going on. Cobs can be very sensible sometimes and don't like to make a fuss.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Other Dad put us out to graze early this morning and Dad attended to our stables instead of riding as we normally do on a Sunday.

This was because Both Dads attended an interesting talk by Felicity on Dressage to Music in the afternoon in the indoor covered area overlooking the outdoor school. The talk was illustrated by four horses from the yard riding with different paces - Boo, Izzie, Tesco and Mary Rose. They all coped very well in pouring rian.

This was also followed by a demonstration to music by a super coloured cob, which was very good indeed. Neither Dibby nor I were asked to participate!

It rained for most of the afternoon and we were relieved to come in at about 4.00 to be dried off, groomed, put in our rugs and given tea. Cobs don't mind being on the sidelines but do appreciate being brought into the dry and warm.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Other Dad put Dibby and I me out to graze early this morning. Dad brought me in at 1.45 after he had prepared our stables, groomed me and put on my black exercise bandages and tack.

We went into the school at 2.40 to warm up for a lesson at 3.00. Liz arrived a little beforehand and so we had an early start.

We worked on softening and roundness with a lot of walk halt transitions and some trot. As Dad had found in recent schooling sessions, I went forward quite well but was resistant at first in going round and reluctant to halt immediately on request.

Liz had brought her hat and rode me at this point. Paradoxically, Dad was quite pleased that I demonstrated some of the faults he had been experiencing in schooling over the last week or so. Although it would have ben nice for Liz to ride me at my best, it wouldn't have given such an opportunity to note the problems and work on them.

I continued to be a little rude and barge forward in the halt and she found it necessary to give firm and clear aids and half halts to get the message across. I started to co-operate better and my hind legs came under me more and I grew rounder as I progressed. We worked in walk and trot for a while - during which it rained quite heavily - and then Dad re-mounted. At Liz's suggestion he shortened his stirrups by one hole.

We returned to work in walk which went much better and then trotted on a twenty metre circle and around the school and finished with some canter on both reins. Late on in the session Other Dad joined us to watch and took some snaps.

The canter was a little difficult. On my poor rein I tended to cart Dad a little and he needed to practice taking a hold without leaning forward and half halts and giving and taking to secure roundness. By the end of the session we had regained some of the discipline we had lost in recent weeks without a lesson, so Dad and Liz were pleased.

I went in to be sponged down and given an apple and mints. I was allowed to cool off before being given my tea. Like Dad I was quite tired after an energetic lesson but pleased we had made some progress.

Liz agrees with Dad that we aren't ready to compete in a Prelim test yet until my canter on the right rein improves, but we have something on which to work. Cobs are keen on progress.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Smoke gets in your rug

Both Dads lunched with a friend at Barford today, so Dibby and I were put out to graze early. Dad came and attended to our stables in the morning and returned in the afternoon to put down our beds and bring us in.

We stood and ate our haynets whilst he groomed us both, saw to our hooves, put on our stable rugs and gave us tea. We were happy and relaxed. Dibby and I didn't mind missing out on lunch at the pub: cobs don't really like a smoky atmosphere; it clings to one's rug so.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reality check

Although the morning started with rain, we managed to find an hour or so of dry weather after 11.00. With the rain we were glad we hadn't entered Prelim 17 at Solihull this morning. Like yesterday, we worked a lot in walk trying to gain and retain softness a little more regularly and efficiently. Dad lengthened his rein without losing contact which helped. We added some lateral work, shoulder-in, leg yield, halt-walk transitions and twenty metre circles with alternate ten metre circles inside and outside to promote flexibility.

Other Dad brought Dibby to work with me and we walked and trotted around together in rising and sitting and worked on exercises where one walked and the other walked, trotted or cantered away alone to go round the school and rejoin the other. That worked quite well - apart from when Dibby cantered away from me and I thought it was a good idea to canter after him to catch up. In a snaffle there wasn't a lot Dad could do to stop me. Dad said we had to work on that one.

We spent the afternoon out wearing our light rain sheets and came in after 5.00. Dad gave me a good groom and said he wasn't too disappointed about my getting excited in the canter today: better safely in the school than out at Solihull. Cobs don't mind an occasional reality check.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Studying form

We awoke to a grey and misty morning. Dad schooled me again working in walk, trot and canter with a lot of lateral and softening work. He felt a bit below par himself and didn't feel his aids were quite right which seemed to foster a little resistance from me. Hopefully we can work on that tomorrow.

After the afternoon out in the field we came in for grooming and tea by 5.00. I pretend not to notice when Dad is not on form . Even cobs can have an off-day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A helpful idea

Dad had to go for a dental check-up this morning and so Dibby and I were put out to graze early and had a pleasant day at leisure in the field, despite some rain. I don't know why Dad doesn't get a check-up from the dentist who visits Dibby and me twice a year, but I suppose the rasp would be too big for his mouth. Cobs are full of helpful ideas.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My favourite things

The forecast for this week predicted rain after today, so we made the most of another fine morning and went in the school. Again Dad found I softened reasonably well as we practised in walk, trot and canter. We didn't run through an tests this morning but did lots of leg yield, shoulder-in and lateral work and a variety of circles in canter on both reins as well as some trot around the fences laid out in the arena.

We finished off with a walk around the school and then the large field with Dibby before a massage, groom and going out for the afternoon.

We came in at 5.30 for grooming, minties and tea. You can forget whiskers on kittens; cobs don't go much for brown paper packages tied up with string either, unless they contain apples or minties.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A quiet Sunday

Both Dads felt we should all have the day off today and came to put us out at about 8.15. It was just as well they came early since we weren't given out haylage nets with breakfast and it would have been a long wait until 11.00.

We had a pleasant day grazing, doing some mutual grooming and talking to Connie over the fence and came in at 4.30 for grooming and tea. Dad gave me another massage and applied Tecsin too.

Cobs enjoy a quiet Sunday ocasionally.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Relaxing Saturday

Other Dad topped up our haylage early when he picked up the newspapers and Both Dads came back to ride at 11.00. The routine was pretty much as yesterday and Dad found that I accepted the contact and took the rein down much quicker than before. We worked on a long rein, in medium walk, trot and some canter as well as walking around the school with Dibby. We finished by walking around the large field a few times, which was relaxing.

Once inside Dad gave me a massage- especially around the right hand side saddle and rump area, where directed by Halena. We both had minties and an apple before going out for the afternoon. We came in at 5.00 and Other Dad groomed us whilst Dad put down our beds. We then had tea and some minties. Overall a relaxing day for Dibbs and me if not for Both Dads. Cobs can be seem a little complacent, but I've never been spoiled before.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Exceeding expectations

Other Dad put us out to graze early and Dad brought us in at about 4.00. After grooming, Dad tacked me up and took me into the school.

We warmed up on a long rein and did our usual lateral exercises in walk and then worked in trot and in canter. Teacher Steve had been teaching someone else in the other half of the school, but when they had finished we went in there and cantered around on the bit, more or less for the first time.

Dad was pleased because, although my trot and canter might not have been quite textbook, we were in a snaffle and were round for a good part of the time. Although the people in the school were talking to each other with their backs turned and didn't watch me, Dad thought I did very well. He was pleased because we had achieved this on our own and with help from no-one.

I came in and was groomed and put in my stable rug. When I had rested a while Dad gave me an apple, some minties and my tea. Dibby had some minties too.

Some times cobs do like to exceed expectations.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What cobs do

Dad took me into the school during a sunny Thursday morning. We warmed up well on a long rein and in medium walk with leg yield and shoulder in and some halt /walk transitions. We then went up into canter and practised both Prelim 17 and 4.

At first I had trouble sustaining my canter but this improved and we managed to get through Prelim 4. We couldn't complete Prelim 17 since Dad couldn't remember the whole test. Neither practice went well enough to merit entering at Solihull in a few weeks and we will have to see how it goes and if we can arrange a lesson in time.

Dibby came out and we walked and trotted together before going in. We spent the afternoon grazing and came in at about 5.00. Dad painted our feet withTecsin and put our stable rugs on in time for tea. We were very relaxed and friendly, but that's what cobs do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home and dry

After a couple of days off, it was back to work this morning. I wondered if the weather might intervene and ensure we had another free day, since it poured with rain first thing.

When Dad came at 11.00 it was drizzling but cleared up for an hour or so. We warmed up on a long rein and then with lateral exercises in walk and some trot and canter. A row of trotting poles was laid out in the school and we walked and trotted over them both ways.

Dibby joined me after a while and we walked and trotted together, including over the poles, which was fun. Dad was pleased with my movement and that I became reasonably soft and round in both walk and trot by the end of the session.

We came in and Dad gave me a massage and apple before Dibby and I were put out to graze in our rain sheets. It drizzled a little. We came in at about 4.30 before yet more heavy rain. I was pleased to be in my stable having tea. Cobs understand what it means to be home and dry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Both Dads thought Dibby and I would benefit from another day off and so we were put out to graze in our light rain sheets. After a pleasant day relaxing, we came in for a thorough grooming and tea at 5.00. Whenever possible, cobs are firm believers in KISS - keep it simple stupid!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Meeting new people

Both Dads were expecting visitors today and so Other Dad put us out to graze in our rain sheets before 9.00 and Dad attended to our stables early. They returned with friends Anne and Frank at 4.30 and gave us mints in the field and brought us in. Other Dad returned later in the evening to skip us out and check we were OK. He needn't have worried; we had a pleasant day and cobs enjoy meeting new people.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mats and upwards mobility

Dibby and I were schooled this morning. Dad warmed me up on a long rein and with trotting and we did our usual softening exercises including leg yield and shoulder in with some maneouvring around the fences. I was in a more co-operative mood than yesterday. I tried Prelim 18 a few times and Dad was pleased, other than my transition for the second canter on the right rein. We need to work on starting off on the correct leg. We did a lot of walking and trotting around together which was fun and came in to be sponged down and given an apple.

After the afternoon grazing we came in at 5.15. Other Dad had bought Dibby a new rubber mat to relieve the hardness and coldness of the surface in front of his haylage net. If Dibby takes to it they will get him an extra one and two new ones for me. I've never had rubber matting before; cobs like to be upwardly mobile

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Not making it too easy

Saturday morning was dry and sunny. Dad took me in the school on my own, since Dibby had another day off. Dad saw me notice Dibbs mutual grooming with Cricket in the field, which he thought made be a little irritable and he may have been right.

We loosened up on a long rein and with some trot and practised the first part - all that Dad could remember - of Prelim17. The trot was reasonably fluent, although rather on the forehand and not really round and the canter wasn't very good at all. The upwards transition was slow and uncontrolled and the canter wasn't sustained; it really had no positive aspects at all. Dad's initial reaction was to forget about entering Prelim 17 at Solihull on 19th. October, but I guess we shall have to see. It's clear we also need an individual lesson, but unfortunately diaries don't match up until 21st October, so we shall have to keep on practising alone.

After the messy Prelim 17s, we went back to the Walk and Trot and Prelim 18 with a little more success. Dad did find my canter a bit forward-going today and will have to work on using his seat more to get me to come back to him and return to a controlled trot. Now the weather is turning more autumnal some of the horses on the yard have become sharper and so it's just to be expected and yet another thing on which to work.

We came in after an hour and I went out to graze without a rug until 4.00. When both Dads came to bring us in we were on the far side of the field and both cantered over together in a race. I won. Dad thought he wished my canter had been that good in the school today. Sometimes cobs don't like to make it too easy for them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rewarding Friday

After our exertions at Solihull yesterday, Dibby and I were given the day off. We went out in our rain sheets before 9.00 and didn't come in until 4.00. It was fun coming in. Dibby pretended to be stopping me getting to the gate first, as I usually do, but I outmanoeuvred him and won. Dibby has a lot to put up with me insisting on being first, but I think quite enjoys the game.

Inside we were groomed and given tea after a restful day. Cobs enjoy a reward for being good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Aiming to be "really nice"

Both Dads arrived at 8.30 this morning and brought Dibby and me out of our stables. We were groomed and fitted with travel boots, tail guards and our cooler rugs. I was fetching in blue and Dibby in red. As the rain poured down we set off for Solihull. They tried to keep us dry and went through the arduous task of tacking us up on the lorry - which took forever. By the time they had dressed and put on their best boots, poor old Dad only had twenty minutes or so to warm me up. Not enough!

We went into the arena and gave our Walk and Trot test fairly well and came 3rd out of 4 in the Open section and won a pretty yellow rosette. We also qualified for the walk and trot championship next March. Dibby and Other Dad didn't have a very successful morning with an error of course in Novice 21 and a retirement.

With some relief we returned home for about 12.30 and were put out to graze in our light rain sheets.

We came in at 5.00. Dad had noticed I just turned my back to the drizzle and looked into space rather than eating eagerly like Dibby and Cricket. I stood by the gate and was ready to come in when Dad arrived. I was soon dry and warm in my stable enjoying my tea.

Reviewing the day, I think Dad was reasonably pleased with my performance and manners. We didn't exactly set the world on fire, but I was calm and well-behaved . The judge said I was " a nice horse with nice paces and needed to be in a rounder softer outline".

Apparently, then I "will be really nice". Cobs do "really nice", it appears.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Dad took me in the school again to practice for our test at Solihull tomorrow. We began with a lot of work on a loose rein in both directions which went well. We also trotted to loosen up and then went back to medium walk and some lateral work and halt transitions. Here I started to be difficult and refused to soften when in the halt and also stuck my nose in the air. When Dad tapped me behind I swished my tail and trotted on and was generally difficult.

Dad ignored this for a while and then made me repeat the halt until I started to co-operate and then gave me lots of pats and mints. We ran throught the test several times and finished off on a long rein and on good terms.

I went in and was massaged and put out to graze in my rain sheet whilst Dad got on with the stables. We came in at 5.00 and had out tails washed in readiness for tomorrow. Then we were groomed and given tea. I think Dad was surprised I was so irritable and grumpy, but even cobs aren't immune from off-days.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More schooling for me

Other Dad was busy with shopping this morning, so whilst Dad took me in the school, Dibby was put out to graze. I guess its one of the advantages of being so well schooled. I shall just have to keep plugging away.

Anyway, we loosened up with lots of work on a long rein making shapes around the fences still out in the school, sometimes turning tight circles around them and in and out to make me more flexible.

We did some loosening up trot and then went back to lateral work in medium walk. We ran through the Walk and Trot test once and finished off with some canter on both reins around the whole arena - rather than just the area marked out for a test. Dad was pleased with me this morning and we went in for an apple, mints and grooming.

I was put in my bright mauve rain sheet and joined Dibby in the field for the afternoon. Dad came after 4.00 to put down our beds and brought us in when the rain grew heavy. We were groomed, had eucalyptus oil applied to our hooves and were put in our stable rugs in time for tea. A cob appreciates being so well taken care of, but sadly behaving well and trying quite hard aren't reflected in my my dressage scores.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Party pending

First thing this Monday morning Dad and I were back in the school. We warmed up on a long rein, manoeuvring around the jumps still out in the school. We followed the usual pattern with lateral work and transitions but went up into trot earlier than usual and then went back to concentrate on roundness.

We practised the Solihull Walk and Trot test three or so times when I was alittle softer and then tried Prelim 18. My roundness wasn't good but Dad was pleased that I was going forward and met the upwards transitions to canter on the correct leg each time.

We finished on a long rein and went in to be sponged and put out to graze for the afternoon.

Dad brought us in at about 5.00 when it started to rain and I stood by my stable whilst the bed was put down, followed by grooming and tea. It was good to have Both Dads back. Dad says if all goes well we are going to compete at Solihull on Thursday in the Walk and Trot test. Dibby will try the Novice test. We are pleased. Cobs like to have a social engagement to look forward to.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

They're back..again

Both Dads were away in London for two sleeps and so other people put us out to graze and brought us in in the afternoon. On the positive side Sharon did give us each a cuddle and some mints on both days, so we weren't exactly lonely.

Today they came back and collected us from the field and gave us mints, a groom and tea, so all was well. That's twice they have been away in the last fortnight. Dad says it shouldn't happen again for some time; I do hope so. Dibbs and I don't want to become latch key cobs.