The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Monday, April 30, 2007


Other Dad came and put us out to graze early. It was dry and sunny and we were in our fly masks. Dibby wore his muzzle. By the time Dad came to deal with our stables, I had dispensed with my fly mask. Dad found itnext to the fence and I stood still while he put it back on. It stayed on for the rest of our turn-out.

We came in at 4.30 and were groomed and tacked up for a group lesson with Liz at 5.30. Our group consisted of Tod, Kamara, Meg, Dibby and me. The other lesson followed at 6.30.

We worked on softening in walk and sitting and rising trot with lots of leg-yield and turns about the forehand. We worked on getting our legs under us, correct use of rider's legs and position of the body and hands. Dad was pleased that I walked and trotted on the bit for a good while. He was less pleased that I got a little excited when I was following Dibby and tried to catch up rather too strongly; we shall have to work on that.

We also split into two groups of two and three and cantered on both reins. Dad was very satisfied since it was about the most controlled canter I had done with or without company.

We came in to be sponged down, groomed and given tea. I like group lessons; cobs are very sociable.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A little praise

Sunday morning was dry and warm again. Dad came at 9.15 and tacked me up in readiness for a private lesson with Liz at 10.30.

Liz had brought with her a straight bar bit to try. I was well-behaved and stood still as the bit was changed, whilst I was wearing my bridle.

We worked at the top end of the school where a large arena had been laid out. Shortly after we started, another livery choose this moment to adjust the fencing of a paddock near the school and release her horse which started some others charging around. This gave me an interesting distraction, but Dad eventually regained my attention and concentration. He was pleased that I didn't succumb to temptation to have a play too.

We worked in walk and trot on both reins with leg-yield and shoulder-in to gain roundness. The trot needed to be to be slower with Dad's legs stiller. We concentrated on straightness, softening my neck and jaw with gentle flexions and position of leg and hands. Liz was pleased Dad's hands were closer together and not pulling to the side. He was trying to steer more with the leg and encouraging me to get my legs under me more to go forward and gain roundness.

We practised elements of Prelim 17, which we hope to try by the end on next month. This included canter both ways, which showed improvement. Dad was encouraged to sit up, not to lean forward and put his hands forward.

We will persevere with the straight bit for a while and concentrate on consistent roundness in walk and trot and a regular canter. We have lots of homework: circles on both reins leg-yielding in and out to promote roundness and stop falling-in, leg-yield using both legs to gain impulsion and the left or right to push in the appropriate direction, cantering sitting up with hands forward and more effort to get my hind legs under me. Despite the initial distraction, Liz and Dad were pleased with the session, which showed some progress. I enjoyed an apple and hose-down afterwards.

I was put out to graze in my fly mask whilst Dibby hacked and joined me a little later. We came in at 4.30 to be groomed and given tea. I liked my lesson; like people, cobs enjoy a little praise.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


An interesting day - warm and dry again. Dad took me in the school mid-morning. Dibby joined us and we walked around together on both reins for a while and then Other Dad took him down the road for a short hack .We continued in the school with some lateral work and turns about the forehand. We ran through Prelim 1 a few times but I wasn't really going forward or round enough and Dad was somewhat disappointed.

When we came out we found the field in which we usually graze had been sectioned off with tape to accommodate two of the mares who have been kicked by other mares. We went in the remainder of the field and minded our own business. One of our water buckets had been removed but Dad got another from Sally and filled them both up so we were fine on a hot day. Dibby wore his muzzle and I my fly mask and we stayed out until 4.30 or so.

We came in for grooming and tea and Dad took some snaps of us in our stables. Cobs are quite photogenic.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Other Dad had an appointment around lunchtime today and so we were put out to graze mid- morning whilst Dad got on with our stables. Dibby wore his muzzle and I had my fly fringe. It was a cooler breezy day, but dry.

We were brought in at 4.30 and Other Dad came down at 8.00 to check us and skip out. Another leisurely day but Dibbs was still anxious about his muzzle. He couldn't wait to get it off and start on his haylage in his stable. Cobs do worry.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Unskilled saboteur

Dad took me in the school at about 11.00 after putting Dibby out to graze inhis muzzle. Other Dad was mowing the lawns.

The morning was pleasantly sunny with a coolish breeze. We worked in walk and trot with a lot of loosening and softening exercises, including leg-yield, shoulder-in and a little turn about the forehand. We also cantered on both reins.

Fences were laid out in the school again and we used them to manoeuvre around, especially in figures of eight. Bt the end of the session I was on the bit for most of the time and we finished off on a long rein.

I spent the afternoon out with Dibby and Cricket and came in at 4.30. Other Dad had been to collect the Elevator bridle I damaged several weeks ago and which had been repaired, so I can be ridden in that next time. Dad will try to ensure I don't try to sabotage it next time. Fortunately, cobs aren't very skilled saboteurs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Dad had business in Birmingham this afternoon, so Dibby and I were put out to graze mid-morning whilst Dad attended to our stables. Dibby soon managed to undo his fly mask and Dad went into the field and put it back on.

Other Dad brought us in at 4.00. Dibby had stayed in his muzzle. We were given a thorough grooming and tea. One day on and then the next one off; it's shifts for cobs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Other Dad put us out to graze early in our light rain sheets, since Dad had a dental apointment. As anticipated, Dibby was put in his new muzzle which had kindly been neatly lined by Auntie Shirley with very fetching faux fur in black and white tiger stripes. It was very smart and after all that effort, it is hoped it will not rub.

Dad came to attend to our stables in the afternoon and we came in after 4.00. We were groomed and tacked up to go in the school. After a day's grazing Both Dads didn't want to exert us too much and we worked together in walk and trot going large with some leg-yield and shoulder-in. Dad was very pleased that I was relaxed in my neck and jaw and on the bit for most of the time. We need to work on getting my head more on the vertical. We stopped when the jumping was about to start again and came in for grooming and tea.

It was an interesting change in routine to school in the early evening. Cobs dislike a rut.

Monday, April 23, 2007


The week started with the first rain for some time. It drizzled on and off all day and we were put out to graze in our light rain sheets. Naturally, Dibby and I got our heads down for some serious grazing. Dibby knows his muzzle will be lined and ready soon, so he has to make the most of it.

We came in for grooming and tea after 4.00. We were left without stable rugs since the evening was quite warm. Cobs find a leisurely day very satisfying.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Quiet Sunday

The school was laid out for a jumping clinic for most of the day, so Dibby and I were put out to graze in our fly masks. We came in at 4.00 for grooming and tea. The yard was as frenetic as ever, but we missed most of it. Cobs enjoy a quiet Sunday in the sunshine.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A change

Dad took me in the school at about 11.00. After warming up, Louise, who owns Harry who is in the stable next to Dibby, rode me . We worked around the whole school in walk and trot and I was good for the most part -although I sped up once and got a little too close to the fence. Louise also rode Dibby for a while and Dad resumed on me.

We spent the afternoon out in the field in our fly masks and came in at 4.00 for grooming and tea. It was fun to be ridden by someone else - especially a sympathetic rider who doesn't use the hand too much. Cobs enjoy a change.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Never easy

Dad took me in the school at about 11.00 whilst Dibby went for a hack. It was warm and sunny and we worked in walk and trot. We rode to music from a tape Dad had prepared. My work in trot was quite rhythmical and forward-going but it took me a long time to relax and soften my neck and jaw. Even then I wasn't truly consistent and that's what we will have to work on.

We came in after forty minutes and went out for a pleasant afternoon in the field in the sunshine. We wore our fly masks and kept them on.

We came in at 4.30 for grooming and tea. Other Dad came down after 8.00 to put on our stable rugs and skip us out.

Dad has been persevering with schooling just in my snaffle for several months now and is getting a little downhearted with lack of any consistent progress towards regularity and roundness. It will be interesting to see if he breaks it up with use of the double bridle occasionally. Cobs don't believe in making the journey easy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Holiday Thursday

Both Dads decided we all needed a break today. Dibby and I went out in our fly masks at 11.00 and enjoyed a sunny day at leisure.

We came in at 4.00 and were groomed and given tea. Both Dads were pleased that we kept out new masks on since the flies were quite evident. Other Dad came back to put on our stable rugs later in the evening. Cobs enjoy a holiday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More constructive

A bright and sunny day again. At 11. 00 Dad took me in the school. Gail was teaching Meg and then Mary in the other part of the arena with a little jumping, but we kept out of their way without any problems.

We practised in walk, trot and canter and Dad tried to concentrate on his use of hands and legs. He tried to use legs more to keep me going forward into his hand and not to pull back at all. This meant lots of flexions and allowing the hand forward but not letting me set my jaw against his hand. He found it tiring and difficult, but we kept plugging away.

We ran through Prelim 1 with mixed results and tried some turn about the forehand which went better than usual.

Dibby schooled for a while but then went on a short hack down the road.

We spent the afternoon out in the field and were put in our new fly masks but without the nose guard - or whatever it's called. We kept them on today which pleased Both Dads.

We came in for grooming and tea quite late at 5.00 and were put in our medium stable rugs since it's supposed to be colder tonight. Overall, a more constructive day; cobs are happy to please their Dads sometimes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Another fine spring day. After yesterday's exertions, we were given the day off. The swelling on Dibby's eye had abated and we were both put out to graze at about 11.00 in our new fly masks.

When Dad returned at about 4.00 he found we had both managed to remove the masks. He will have to fit them more firmly tomorrow.

We were groomed and given tea. We were put in our medium stable rugs since it's forecast to be cooler tonight. Dad wasn't very impressed that we wriggled out of our new masks; sometimes even senior cobs enjoy being naughty.

Monday, April 16, 2007


A duller start to the week but the sun soon appeared. Dad put me out to graze in my fly fringe with lots of fly spray quite early.

Dibby's eye was much less swollen this morning and he joined Cricket and me once his eye had been bathed and he had been fitted with a full-face fly mask - with ear and nose covers -belonging to Tesco, kindly loaned by Debbie.

Both Dads thought Dibby would complain about having the mask put on and remove it once out in the field. They were pleased and surprised to be wrong on both counts.

Other Dad then went to Solihull and bought full face masks for Dibby and me.

We stayed out in the sunshine until 3.30 and then came in to stand in readiness for a group lesson with Liz at 5.30 . Dad bathed Dibby's eye again and groomed me. He also fitted my fly mask and was pleased that I let him put it on me without a fuss.

After missing out on the last group lesson, Dibby enjoyed joining in and coped very well. Our class also included Harry, Mary, Kamara and Meg. We worked in walk, trot and canter with some turn about the forehand and softening exercises on a circle. Dad found me rather strong tonight.

We cantered in groups of three. I struck off on the correct lead and was quite forward-going. I grew less strong when not following Dibby. The lesson lasted an hour and was good fun. Liz said we had all improved.

We came in to be untacked and sponged down. After a rest, we had tea and Other Dad returned after 10.00 to put us in our rugs, since it was growing colder. Both Dibby and I like our group lesson; cobs are gregarious and enjoy group activities.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday call-out

Another warm and sunny day. The swelling on Dibby's eye had gone down a little this morning. Dad bathed it again and applied some soothing lotion. I was tacked up to go in the school and Dibby was fitted with his spare muzzle to go in the field.

After ten minutes Dibby had removed the muzzle and declined to be caught to have it put on again, so he was in Both Dad's bad books for a while.

We schooled for forty minutes or so in walk and trot with only a little, canter but found it quite warm and were glad to come in. I spent the afternoon out in the field until after 4.00. It was hot and the flies were already troublesome. I needed my fringe.

When we came in Both Dads could see Dibby's left eye was badly swollen again. They weren't sure if he had an injury, something in the eye or an insect sting on the eye-lid. Unfortunately Dibby had rubbed it and it looked raw and sore. Dad bathed it in cold water and a tea solution to bring down the swelling, but after a while it was decided it was necessary to call out the vet - a tiresome and expensive thing to do on a Sunday evening.

Elspeth, the vet again came and examined Dibby. She checked thoroughly with a torch and couldn't find anything in the eye and concluded it had been a bite. She checked there was no ulceration by putting dye into the eye and injected antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection and hopefully reduce the swelling.

Once this had been done Dad was able to finish off our stables and we had tea. Dad was pleased with me because I stood quietly outside my stable, whilst Both Dads and the vet concentrated on Dibby. Both Dads came back at 9.45 to check Dibby's eye and skip us out. Even senior cobs can be very demanding at times.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A worry

A warm and sunny Grand National Saturday day reaching the mid 20's C. In the morning Dad took me in the school for forty minutes or so. When we had warmed up in walk and trot with some lateral work and transitions, we ran through Prelim 1 a few times. The canter was quite good but my trot was a little lethargic.

Dibby had recovered well from his sedation and dental treatment yesterday and went out to graze whilst I was in the school. Aunt Shirley kindly took Dibby's new muzzle to sew on some stylish fake fur padding and he will be able to wear it when it's finished.

When I came in Dad gave me a bath and shampooed my tail with Malaseb and I joined Dibby and Cricket in the field in the sun. I soon dried.

We stayed out until after the Grand National and came in a 4.30. Dibby had a large swelling over his eye which looked like a bite and Dad bathed it in cold tea and applied aloe vera. We then had tea.

It's a concern that Dibby always seems to be in the wars like this. Like Both Dads, cobs do worry.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dibby's perio pocket

Mark the dentist was due to visit Dibby this afternoon to treat the perio pocket he found on his last check-up. We were put out to graze without rugs at 11.00 and brought in at 3.30.

After much running around Other Dad was able to get Dibby an extra-large muzzle for use from tomorrow.

Mark came with a colleague and lots of equipment, including a gas cylinder, to deal with his pocket or cavity in the gum. Elspeth the vet came to sedate Dibby. It took three injections to calm him down. The equipment was used to blow away the accumulated debris from Dibby's gum and to prepare the space with some material to inhibit this in the future. This seems to be quite a new treatment and Mark took some digital photographs.

Dibby was very brave and sleepy and kept wobbling but didn't fall over. Dad gave me my tea whilst this was going on and I could watch through the bars into Dibby's stable.

When the treatment was finished Both Dads stayed with Dibby until he woke up properly. He was able to have his tea two hours afterwards and Other Dad came back and checked him at 10.00. It was a long and costly day for us all, but worth it. Cobs value their teeth.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


More fine Spring weather. We spent most of the morning in our stables to avoid too much rich grass.

Dad took me in the school at about 11.30. We worked in walk and trot as we had for the last few days and my neck and jaw loosened well - but neither quickly nor consistently.

Dibby joined us after twenty minutes or so and we walked, trotted and did lateral work together for a further twenty minutes. I went in whilst Other Dad took Dibby down the road for a quick hack.

Once inside Dad gave me a massage and a groom and put me out to graze without a rug for the afternoon. Dibbs joined me shortly.

We came in at 4.00 for more grooming and tea. Our hours in the field should be extended as soon as Dibby's new grass muzzle is collected and fitted. Cobs cope with the prosaic.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Another dry and sunny day. Dad took me in the school at abot 11.30 .We practised mainly in walk as we had done yesterday with some trot and only a little canter. I softened my neck and jaw quite well and Dad's steering with just his legs improved but we both felt subdued and under par and stopped after forty minutes.

Other Dad took Dibby down the road for a brief hack after warming up in the school.

Dad spoke to Rob the vet when he called at the yard about reducing Dibby's turn-out in view of his weight. Other Dad is trying to get an extra-large muzzle for him and Both Dads are anxious about how long this is taking and any consequences in the meantime. Spring should be an optimistic time, not like this; it's all very lowering. Cobs notice these things.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

School day

To make sure we didn't have too much Spring grass, we were kept in our stables until 11.30. Then Dad took me in the school and Other Dad took Dibby on a hack with Caroline on Leo.

The morning was dry and warm but overcast. We worked mostly at the top end of the school in front of the mirrors whilst the rest was used for jumping.

We worked mostly in walk so that Dad could practice use of the legs instead of the hands to steer and his position - straight back, legs and heels down, breathing, relaxed shoulders and hands low-ish and a bit's width apart. We added some leg- yield and shoulder-in with transitions to halt and up to trot.

I softened in the neck and jaw quite well today and Dad was pleased as we finished with walk on a long rein.

We went out for the afternoon at about 2.00 and came in at 4.45 for grooming and tea. Other Dad came back at 7.30 and put us in our stable rugs. Cobs enjoy a workmanlike day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Holiday Monday

Our Easter holiday continued into Bank Holiday Monday. We went out for the day at 10.30 without rugs and grazed quietly. We came in by 4.00. It was slightly cooler than yesterday and we were put in our rugs straight away after grooming. After two days off we anticipate some exercise tomorrow. Cobs know the score.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday at leisure

After a few days of work, Dibby and I were given Easter Sunday off. It was a mild and sunny morning and we went out to graze without rugs at 9.00. We came in by 4.00 for grooming and tea. Both Dads were due ot that evening and so Louise kindly put on our stables rugs at about 7.00 before it grew chilly. Cobs enjoy a warm rug on a frosty night.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Enjoying spring

The warm weather continued into Easter Saturday. Dad took me into the school late morning. He wanted to practice some of the things we covered in our lesson on Friday.

He concentrated on his position and breathing - sitting straight, heels down, shoulders relaxed and not slipping to the right. He tried to use his inside and outside leg more and not to steer with hands. We worked on a circle and large, adding ten metre circles and tried to steer around using only legs and to keep the hands in front, bit distance apart and not too high.

We added some leg-yield and shoulder-in with walk-halt transitions and rising trot once I had softened and relaxed my neck and jaw. We didn't canter today. Dad was quite pleased with the session and we came in after forty minutes to be groomed and put out to graze in the sunshine.

Dibby joined me after his hack and we stayed out until 4.30. Cobs enjoy the spring when the new grass is sweeter and before the flies start irritating.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday lesson

Good Friday morning was dry and sunny. Liz came early for private lessons and started teaching at 9.15 teaching. Dad tacked me up in my dressage saddle and white wraps and we followed on at 10.00.

We had warmed up on our own for ten minutes or so beforehand and started in walk trying to gain softness in my neck and jaw. As yesterday, I began stiffly and Dad had to work hard in walk and trot to get me moving forward properly and into the bit.

This time it was necessary to focus mostly on what Dad was doing. He needed to concentrate again on his position and to breathe, lengthen his leg, keep the heels down and stirrups level, make sure he didn't slip over to the right too much, use his inside and outside leg more in getting me to turn and not to use the reins. He needed to keep the reins closer together, shorten them and lower his hands. The main message was really less emphasis on the reins but steering instead from the leg and ultimately from the leg into the hand.

We worked on a twenty metre circle in walk and trot on both reins and went large around the top part of the arena and finished off with some canter. By the end of the session, I did soften my neck and jaw and did some better work.

Dad and I had plenty of homework before our next lesson. We went in to be groomed and given an apple and put out for the afternoon. Dibby had started to work in the school but then went on a short hack with Caroline and Leo, which was much more interesting.

We spent a quiet afternoon out in the field and came in at 4.45 for grooming and tea. Other Dad came back after 7.00 to put on our stable rugs, since a cold night was forecast. Dibby says that, even for senior cobs, we are quite lucky to have an evening butler and valet service.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Butler service

Another dry and sunny day. Dad took me in the school at 11.00. We warmed up in walk and trot with lateral work and shoulder-in on a twenty metre circle. I resisted for quite a while -mainly because it was a lovely warm morning and I could see all the others relaxing out in the fields without their rugs. Anyway, Dad made me persevere and my neck and jaw eventually softened and when I had worked well for a while we called it a day.

Dad put me out to graze with Dibby and Cricket. None of us had our rugs on so we did lots of mutual grooming. Other Dad didn't ride Dibby this morning since he was searching the shops for a large enough muzzle - so Dibbs had better make the most of his un-muzzled grazing.

We came in at 4.30 for grooming and tea. OtherDad came down after 8.00 to put on our stable rugs and skip out. Sometimes I wonder if all cobs also enjoy a personal butler service.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


A brighter day. Since we were treated by Halina yesterday we were given the day off today. We went out at 10.00 and although it was dry and sunny it was still quite cool so were wore our rugs.

At lunchtime it was decided that the weather was dry enough to stop the restriction on turn out and so we remained out until 4.15 or so. We came in without any drama - unlike yesterday - and after grooming went into our stables without rugs in time for tea. Other Dad came back after 7.00 and put us in our stable rugs for the night. Even quite senior cobs like to be tucked-in.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Perky interlude

A much cooler dry but grey morning. We were put out to graze at 9.00 or so and came in when Halina arrived at 1.00.

Halina treated Dibby first whilst I stayed in my stable. She said he showed improvement since her last visit and was slightly looser. He reacted well to the treatment and didn't tense up too much.

Then it was my turn. Halina also said I had improved, particularly on my underdeveloped right- hand side. I still had tenderness on my hind quarters where the pelvis had rotated and Halina showed Dad where and how to massage in this area, as well as on both flanks and the inner thigh as before.

Halina will come back to treat Dibby in three months and me in six.

We then went back in the field whilst Dad finished off our stables and came in at about 3.30. As we left our field Jack started running around in the next paddock behind me and Amy came out to bring him in. This together with the blustery wind set me off and I whizzed around Dad setting him off like a top and pulling him around one of the parked cars. After this perky interlude, I sort of cantered into the building with Dad on the end of my lead rope. Dad coped without assistance but was relieved to tie me up outside my stable. All a day's work for a lively cob.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The pleasures of mutual grooming

A dry and sunny start to the week and about the best day so far this year. We went out to graze at 11.30 without rugs. As the pictures show, we got down to some serious mutual grooming straight away -after all those months rugged-up.

After some proper spring weather, we came in at 3.30 and were groomed and tacked-up to go in the school.

Since we had only just come in, Both Dads kept it down to walk and trot. We worked around the school together with halt transitions, medium walk, shoulder-in and leg yield and sitting and rising trot. It was very pleasant in a cool wind. We finished off working alone for fifteen minutes and came in for grooming and tea with extra apples. Dibby and I enjoy a mutual groom; cobs are prone to itches and are very tactile.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Small break from routine

A dry and sunny Sunday with quite a cool wind. Since we had just been clipped, we went out in our lightweight rugs at 11.30 and spent a quiet four hours grazing until 3.30.

On coming in Dad finished off our stables and took me in the school for half an hour whilst Dibby went on a hack. I would like to go out on the roads with Dibby but Dad found I didn't really relax with the busy lanes around the yard. When we were at Claverdon we could pay to hack around the farm next door and have a canter around the field verges but that isn't available now and so we make the most of our chances.

We schooled in the company of Boo, Leah and Red and worked in walk, trot and canter with some lateral work and transitions. We even ran through most of Prelim 1 with a quite exciting canter in the wind. Dad says we will refurn to that soon - hopefully tomorrow.

We came in to be groomed and have tea. A quick schooling session late-on was a break from our normal routine; cobs can cope with occasional breaks from routine.