The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Saturday, March 31, 2007


A brighter day. Dad took me in the school at 11.30 or so, whilst Dibbs went out to graze.

We warmed up in walk and trot with some halt transitions and lateral work mainly on a twenty metre circle and oblong shape. The school was quite busy with Little Bailey having a lesson in front of the mirrors and Ted schooling nearby.

Dad tried some shoulder-in and leg-yield and to get my hind legs under me. Like yesterday, my neck and jaw softened after a while and I worked on the bit - although my nose was pointing out more than Dad wanted from time to time and it's something we will be working on. We finished off on quite a good note with some controlled walking on the bit and reasonable halt - walk and walk - trot transitions.

On coming in, I was put in my rain sheet since it was quite cool in the wind and went out to graze at 1.00. We came in for grooming and tea at 4.30. With schooling and two stables, Dad had found it a tiring day. I took it in my stride; cobs are tough like that.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Not over-faced

A grey and overcast morning. Dad attended to our stables and put us out to graze at 11.45. We had a quiet time in the field until coming in at 3.45.

We were both groomed and Dibby went into his stable for some haylage. At 4.30 Dad tacked me up and took me in the school for a hour or so. It was dry and cool and ideal for schooling. We warmed up in walk and trot with halt transitions, shoulder-in and leg-yield.

Kate was having her lesson in front of the mirrors and Edward was being lunged at the other end of the school, so we worked mainly on a twenty metre circle with lots of shoulder in and flexions trying to achieve softness of my neck and jaw and then roundness and being on the bit. We were joined in the school by Bailey and Breeze and tried to work in a small area. As more room was available we added some canter, sitting and rising trot going large. By the end Dad was very pleased with my softness and movement from behind. We finished off going large on a long rein and came in for minties and tea.

I could tell I had done well today. Sometimes Dad and I perform better after a few day's break. Cobs are very willing, but shouldn't be over-faced.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Clip and diet

A dull and drizzly day after the recent fine weather. Claire came to give us a full clip at 10.00. She came with Sally, the dog. Dibby was clipped first. Dad then brushed him and sponged him down with warm warm water since it wasn't warm enough for a bath. He then went out to graze with Cricket whilst Claire clippped me. We both behaved well with some fidgets when our heads were done.

After less than four hours we came in at 3.45 for grooming and tea. Claire said Dibby was too plump which increased Other Dad's determination to help him lose some weight by cutting down his haylage. Dibby won't like dieting, even though it's in his best interest. Never come between a cob and his haylage.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Au naturel

Another spring-like day. Both Dads were a bit weary and decided to let us have the day off today. Although the picture above -which was taken last Monday - shows us in our lightweight rugs , we were put out to graze without them. We made the most of it and did some mutual grooming for half an hour as soon as we were in the field.

We came in after four hours for grooming and tea. Other Dad came down later to put on our stable rugs. It was pleasant to have the maxmum time rug-free. Cobs like to be au naturel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Talent for resting

A foggy start to Tuesday. We went out with Cricket earlier than usual and had a quiet morning grazing. We were brought in in time for Other Dad to take Dibby on a hack to Hay Wood with Tesco, Tod and Meg. By now it was bright and sunny. Once they had managed to manoeuvre past the bright yellow mechanical digger laying pipes and cable at the entrance to the yard, they managed well and had a pleasant outing.

Dad and I schooled on our own. I guess we were both a little stiff after our exertions in the group lesson last night. It took me a while to loosen up and relax my neck and jaw, but without turning it into a confrontation, we worked through it slowly and got there in the end. We practiced in walk and trot with some canter, lateral work and transitions. We finished going large for quite a while on a long rein so I could stretch my neck.

On coming in I was groomed and put in my cooler rug in time for tea. I was ready for a rest. Cobs have a talent for resting.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Group lesson

At the start of another week, we are still on restricted turnout. We went out to graze at 11.30 and came in at 3.30. The day had been dry and sunny and we wore our lighter rain sheets. Cricket was quite happy without a rug today and we envied him a little.

When we came in we were groomed and Dad put on my black exercise bandages. Other Dad schooled Dibby for half an hour or so but didn't join the lesson this time; hopefully he will next time. I took part in the group lesson at 5.30 with Liz. As well as me there were Meg, Mary, Tod and Kamara. We used the top end of the school by the new mirrors, which was fun. It was a mild and pleasant evening in good light.

We warmed up in walk and trot and then concentrated on lateral work with lots of leg-yield and shoulder-in in walk and trot on both reins. This took us most of the lesson as we used the lateral exercises to soften our necks and jaw an improve the quality of our walk and trot and get us on the bit. Dad worked on contact, length of rein and flexions to help overcome resistance.

We finished by splitting into two groups to practice canter. We worked on a twenty metre cricle with Kamara and managed to canter on the correct leg on both reins. Liz ws pleased with everyone's improvement today and we went in after an interesting lesson. I like joining in with the others.

Inside I was groomed and put in my cooler for a while before swapping into my stable rug and having tea. It was good to get back into a group lesson again. Cobs like to participate.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day of rest

Both Dads decided on a day off all round - especially since the clocks went forward last night and we lost an hour. We went out between 11.30 and 3.30 and came into be groomed and given a massage before tea. Dibby enjoyed his as much as me.

Since it was reasonably warm, they left our rugs off when we came in and Other Dad returned at 7.00 to rug us up and skip out for the night. Cobs like a day of rest too.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


A cold and grey day. We spent Saturday morning in our stables with some haylage and were tacked up at about 11.30. Dibby went on a longish hack and I went in the school.

To begin Caroline was schooling Leo over a large jump and cantering around. We went to the other end of the arena and Dad was pleased that I just got on with it - like you need to do in the collecting ring.

We warmed up in front of the mirror in walk and trot with transitions and lateral work. We cantered and Dad practiced speeding up the softening process to relax my neck and jaw. He was pleased that we got there much quicker this morning and gave me some mints and lots of praise.I behaved well even though some of the horses in the surrounding fields were letting off team and bucking in the wind.

We came in after an hour and Dad gave me a thorough massage and a groom. When Dibby returned, we went out to graze later than usual at 1.40.

Dad was delayed a little but came back to put down our beds and bring us in on time by 5.40. He put me in my headcollar first and took me out of the gate. As I made a bee-line for the nearest grass to grab a mouthful Dibby - unusually naughty for him - slipped out of the field to get some grass too. Fortunately he didn't get far and Dad handed me to someone else whilst he recaptured Dibby and put on his head collar. It was that kind of cold and blustery late winter day that seems to make horses mischievious - even a senior cob, like Dibby.

Once inside Dad took off our new zealands, dealt with our hooves and groomed us. He was relieved to get us safely inside our stables for haylage and our tea. It doesn't do to take cobs good behaviour for granted - especially on a blustery day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

No complaints

Both Dads were busy again today and so Dibby and I went out to graze at noon and came in at 4.00. We had a pleasant day and were given a thorough grooming and our tea on coming in. Cobs tend not to complain anyway.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

In the swing

After a few days off, I was taken back in the school this morning. Dibby was allowed an extra day after his treatment and stayed in his stable with some haylage whilst I was in the school.

We tried to build on my last lesson with Liz and warmed up in walk and went up into trot a little earlier than previously. We practiced transitions and lateral work and also cantered on both reins. It was one of those breezy March mornings with lots of distractions from other horses in the surrounding fields. My concentration wasn't perfect, but I behaved well, which pleased Dad.

By the end of the session my hind legs were reasonably well under me and I had softened in response to some flexions and Dad was happy to warm down on a long rein and walk round in front of the mirrors.

We came in to be rugged up and put out to graze between noon and 4.00. Cobs like to be back in the swing of things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


A milder, sunny morning. Yet another caller today. Richard the farrier arived at 10.30. He attended to me first, after which I went out to graze with Cricket. Dibby joined us after he was shod.

We came in, following our stipulated time out, at 4.50 for grooming and tea. Both Dads didn't have time to ride today with stables to do, our shoeing and the need to make the most of limited turn-out. They hope to try tomorrow, although rain is forecast. Dibby and I aren't worried; unlike trotting poles, cobs take such things in their stride.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Another bitterly cold day. In view of this and since Dibby had his treatment last night, we were given the day off. We grazed from 11.30 to 3.30 and came in for grooming and tea. Cobs quite like a simple day.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Roll-on spring

The very cold snap continued into Monday. We went out to graze at 11.45 and came in when it started to hail again at 3.45.

Halina visited Dibby at 4.15 as planned and worked on him for forty minutes or so. Dibby was well behaved and stood still. We then had tea. My check up from Halina is due early in April. Cobs say spring can't come soon enough.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lessons for Dibby and me

Both Dibby and I had lessons booked with Liz today. It was very much colder and more windy this morning with the odd shower of hail - all very exciting for a lesson.

It was my turn first and we warmed up in walk and trot with some shoulder-in and concentrated on going forward and getting my legs under me. We then moved on to loosening my neck and jaw. I was quite resistant but Dad persevered with some flexions and leg yielding into and out of a smallish circle. I eventually softened and we made rather a break through. We did some good quality sitting trot with me on the bit.

We finished with some canter and canter trot transitions on both reins and have plenty to practice before our next lesson. We will be concentrating particularly on going forward into the hand and then using leg yeild on a circle and rapid but not pronounced flexions to soften my jaw. Dad had to remember to give his hand as soon as I do and to maintain contact on his outside rein so that my bit doesn't slip through my mouth too much on flexions. We warmed down on a long rein and came in. Dad put me in my stable when he went out to take snaps of Dibby's lesson.

Dibby went through his paces in walk, trot and canter on both reins so that Liz could give an opinion on his way-of-going just now. He was very smooth and regular and only struggled on smaller cirlcles and if he went on the forehand too much. Other Dad has to concentrate on slowing the trot and using half-halts to balance Dibby. He shouldn't try medium or extended trot or put too much strain on his hocks with smaller circles

Both Dads were pleased with our sessions and put us out to graze at noon. The rain and snow held off until just after we came in at 3.30. We were both glad to be inside for our tea when the rain and hail began. Wind and hail during a lesson is one of a cob's least favourite things

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Making the most of it

This was supposed to be the last full day of the unseasonably mild spell and we were allowed it off. We went out betwen 12.15 and 4.15 and came in to grooming and tea. Cobs like to make the most of it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Awaiting spring

Both Dads came to the yard at about the middle of a dry and sunny Friday morning. Dibby was taken for a hack and I was schooled. Dad warmed me up in walk and trot on both reins with some lateral work and halt transitions. We worked large around the whole arena and at the top end in front of the new mirrors.

Dad found me a little lethargic, even when we ran through Prelim 1 a few times. My canter was stilted and I coughed when we stopped. Dad wondered if this was as a result of dry haylage or if I was chesty but went easy and we took it gently for the rest of the session. He may give me tomorrow off and can consult Liz on Sunday when we are scheduled to have a lesson.

Dibby returned from his hack as I finished in the school .We were groomed and at 12.50 put out to graze in our new zealands since it had grown much cooler. We had a pleasant afternoon out and came in at 4.30 for more grooming and tea. It's a funny, unhealthy time of year just now -neither full winter nor spring. Cobs look forward to spring proper.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Both Dads were unwell today and so Dibby and I enjoyed another day off. We went out at 11.20 and came in at 3.20. We were tied up outside our stables whilst Dad mucked out and put down our beds. We were then groomed and given tea with extra carrots and apples. I enjoy supervising Dad preparing my stable; cobs like to check everything's in order.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Refreshing change

A lovely dry and sunny spring day. After a morning with our haylage we went out to graze at noon. Although this picture shows us in our light sheets yesterday, today we went out without our rugs. We spent the first ten minutes doing mutual grooming - it's jolly being nude.

We came in at 4.00 for grooming and tea. Other Dad came back at 7.00 to put on our stable rugs and skip out our stables. We enjoyed being free from rugs for most of the day. Cobs like a refreshing change.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow

Same routine as usual during restricted turnout. Other Dad came down early and topped up our haylage. Both Dads took us in the school at about noon. I was obedient but rather stiff and took a lot of loosening up until my neck and jaw relaxed. We worked in walk and trot with some lateral work and went up into canter on both reins, but it felt a little laboured today. This wasn't helped by the fact that we schooled when various horses were being brought in and put out and there was quite a lot of rushing around going on - more than enough to interest and distract me. I walked around with Dibby for a while at the end, but we were all relieved to finish today.

We spent the afternoon out in the field alone. It was bright and sunny. Dad returned to put down our beds after he had watched some of Cheltenham on TV. We came in at 4.50. Dad will probably give me some time off tomorrow and then try to get in a good schooling session before our next lesson with Liz. As we've said before, it's three steps forward and two back; a cob's learning pattern can resemble a quickstep sometimes.

Monday, March 12, 2007


The pleasant mild weather continued. We went out to graze at 11.00 and came in at 3.00. Somewhat unusually, Both Dads took us into the school at 4.30 or so. We walked around together large and moved up into sitting and rising trot on both reins. We worked around he whole school, on oblongs and thirty metre circles in front of the new mirrors and generally had fun. We came in after forty minutes to be groomed and given tea. Cobs enjoy company for exercise.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Quiet Sunday

After a lengthy schooling session yesterday, Dad decided I could have the day off. In any event there was a jumping clinic in the school for most of the day and it wasn't available. Other Dad topped up our haylage early and Dad came and put us out to graze at noon. We were out in the sunshine until 4.00 and came in for grooming and tea. Cobs enjoy a quiet Sunday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Another dry spring-like morning. Other Dad put us out in our rain sheets at 9.15. We had a lazy graze in the field with Cricket and the Shetlands -William and Scooby.

We came in at 1.15 and were groomed and tacked up. Dibby went for a hack with Harvey, Tesco and Millie.

Dad took me in the school for over an hour. We worked on walk, trot and canter, softening, shoulder in and leg yield and walk-halt transitions. I was resistant at first but eventually relaxed my neck and then my jaw. We continued to practice in front of the new mirrors and I kept slowing down to look at myself. We also walked and trotted over some poles.

At the end of the session Dibby joined me on his return from his hack and we walked around the school a few times together on a long rein before coming in for grooming and tea. A busy day - just how cobs prefer it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Heads down

Both Dads decided we all needed another day-off today. We spent the morning in our stables with haylage and were put out to graze with Cricket and the Shetlands at 11.50. We spent a quiet day in the sunshine and came in at 3.50. Sometimes cobs just like to keep their heads down - good advice for some people too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dental visit

After the decision of our dentist Mike to go to Australia, we had our first visit this morning from Mark. He saw Cricket first and then Dibby and me. Afterwards he treated Edward and then Tesco and Little Bailey, who had to be sedated by the vet.

Dibby's treatment went well until Mark found a large pocket/cavity between part of the gum and teeth in which material has been building up with a risk of infection. He arranged to come back on April 13th and will have the tools to clear the gap and clean it before filling it with a gel substance to keep it free from accumulations. Dibby will have to be sedated for this and Dad will arrange the vet.

My treatment went well as usual and Dad stood and held my head collar and talked to me. We were put out to graze in the sunshine at 11.25. We are normally given the day off after dental treatment. Dad attended to the stables. Unusually Dibby had knocked over his water bucket and soaked half the stable, so Dad put his bed up to dry out.

We came in at 3.25 for grooming and tea. Dad was pleased with our quiet behaviour when having our teeth rasped. He says cobs are braver than most humans.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Enough for any cob

Another Spring-like day. Dibby and I were put out at 9.00. After a relaxing morning grazing, we were brought in at 1.00.

Other Dad had arranged to go out for a hack with Kate on Tod, Debbie on Tesco and Becky riding Patch. They rode over to Hay Wood and had a good time. Dibby enjoyed it enormously, particularly when he was at the front of the line.

After he had finished putting down our beds, Dad took me in the school . We worked much as we had done yesterday. We spent a lot of time in front of the new mirrors to get me fully used to them. We did lots of active trot with a transition down to walk along the mirror. I still wanted a closer look at my reflection.

We did a little more canter today on both reins and Dad was quite pleased with the session. We came in at about the time the hack returned.

Dad gave me an apple and minties and a massage and groom. We then had tea with extra carrots and apples. Another mixed and active day without rain: enough for any cob in March.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Relishing the vernal

Making the most of a dry and sunny morning,we went in the school for an hour at 11.30. We continued to practice in walk and trot with plenty of lateral work and transitions.

The mirrors are now installed on three sides at the bottom of the arena and Dad made sure we practiced a lot in front of them. I didn't shy. I liked looking at myself and once or twice tried to stop for a closer inspection.

Initially Dad found me rather stiff and resistant this morning, but we kept working away and I softened eventually. We did some good walk and trot with my head in the right position and my hind legs under me. As has so often been the case though, it's a matter of some days making three steps forward and on others two steps back, so it doesn't do to get over-excited either way. Dad says you have to get something out of the journey since it's not clear whether we will get to the terminus, let alone get a prize for reaching it.

We came in and I was groomed and put in my lightweight rain sheet. I joined Dibby in the field. He had been out since 12.30 or so. The afternoon was pleasant in the paddock with the Shetlands in the sunshine -and still lots of mud, unfortunately.

We came in at 4.30 after what felt like a Spring day. Cobs relish the vernal.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Balance of advantage

A reasonably bright morning. Dad came at 10.30 just in time for a heavy down-pour of rain. After fifteen minutes or so it cleared and so we went into the school. The new mirrors had been pt up at the far end of the school , but I didn't shy. We worked in walk and trot and concentrated on going forward and gaining roundness. We practiced leg-yield, shoulder-in and fore and halt walk transitons. In trot we worked on moving into the bridle and moving from behind.

Dibby joined us after thirty minutes or so and schooled too.

We spent a couple of hours in the field and came in before 4.00 jut before it started to rain again. There were group lessons with Liz arranged for 5.30 and 6.30 but we didn't take part this time. Dad spoke briefly to Liz and confirmed our private lesson for 18 March and discussed my progress and Dibby's health.

I was pleased to avoid the rain this evening and get on with my tea and haylage. Cobs understand where the balance of advantage lies.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A write-off

As expected, today was very wet and nasty. Other Dad came early and topped up our haylage. Dad returned at 11.00 and started on Dibby's stable whilst Dibby stood outside with his net and I remained in my stable with mine. We went out to graze at noon and the rain continued unabated.

By the time Dad came back at 2.30 We were both completely soaked and standing in the deep mud by the gate asking to come in. Dad had to wash our legs as well as our hooves because we were so muddy, but had some towels to dry us down. He groomed us and put us in our stable early -well within the permitted turn-out time. Tea hadn't been prepared yet so Other Dad came down at 4.45 to feed us. We were glad to have some exercise yesterday. Cobs think there are some days you just write-off.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Making the most of today

Saturday morning was dry and sunny with a blue sky and so Both Dads took Dibby and me in the school. We did a lot of relaxing walk together going large and moved up to rising and sitting trot with a lot of transitions. It was pleasant to school together without taking it too seriously. After some fun we came in to be groomed and put out to graze.

We went out at 12.45 or so and came in at 4.15. Dad spotted quite a big overreach on my near hind coronet. It had been sliced quite badly but was not in a fleshy part and had not bled. After he had bathed it with Hibiscrub and checked it wasn't sore he applied some purple spray as a safeguard and put me in my stable for tea. The weather forecast is rainy for tomorrow, so we were pleased to have made the most of today.That's rather a motto for cobs.

Friday, March 02, 2007

A little peace

It was more like a spring morning today - dry with some sun and a blue sky. Dad took me in the school whilst Dibbs and Other Dad hacked down the road. Dad warmed me up in walk and trot but found me a little stuffy. I was obedient but sluggish. He carried on with lots of halt transitions and lateral work, shapes and circles plus going large and I softened and went on the bit and went forward a little better. We eventually did some good walk, trot and canter and came in.

It was reasonably quiet on the yard and Dad gave me a massage with some Tellington touches and a good groom. This relaxed me quite well and I was put out to graze in my blue new zealand with Dibbs.

Rob, the vet came to see Leo in the afternoon and delivered some Danilon and joint supplement for Dibbs. We went out at 1.15 amd came inat 4.45, so had less than our permitted turn out. I was edgy standing outside my stable when it was busy later on and was pleased to be groomed and put in my rug in my stable in time for for tea. Cobs like a little peace sometimes.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A quiet day

This morning was blustery and cold. Dad decided to let us have the day off. After spending most of the morinng with some haylage we were put out to graze at noon. Dibby rolled in the mud immediately. We had a pleasant afternoon at leisure without much rain and came in at 3.30 or so. We were groomed and put in our stables for tea. Dad found the spots next to my mane seemd to have gone down, so he hopes not to have to consult Rob the vet. Cobs appreciate a quiet day occasionally.