The unspoiled world of senior cobs, David and Master Dibble

Location: United Kingdom

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Late October lesson with Fran

Friday, October 30, 2009

More schooling

The mini-Indian summer continued and we spent Friday out in the field without rugs.

As yesterday, Dad took me in the school after four for three quarters of an hour. We worked in walk and trot as before and eventually cantered on both reins.

Flo was being schooled cantering around the perimeter and we delayed going up into canter until we had the arena to ourselves. I was quite responsive but tended to fall out and almost leg yield in a diagonal as a kind of evasion. Dad found this interesting at high speed and will need to work on his outside leg and inside hand and nip the issue in the bud.

We had a good work out before our lesson tomorrow morning with some reasonable quality walk and trot with lots of transitions.

By the time we had finished it was dark and the lights were on in the school and Rosa had started her lesson. I was pleased to come in for grooming and tea. Hopefully, if we have a lesson tomorrow morning, Dad plans a Sunday off when rain is forecast. Cobs do enjoy a Sunday off.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

So different

Thursday was warm again although overcast. We spent the day out grazing without our rugs. This was most unusual for this time in October - last year we had snow.

Dibby came in yesterday afternoon having rubbed the existing sore area on his side and two or three others. It wasn't clear whether he had rubbed it raw on fences or if Cricket or I had been too energetic in our lengthy grooming. Dad bathed it in Hibiscrub and applied some soothing antiseptic cream last night and again first thing this morning. I started to groom him when we came out, but was rather non-plussed by the fragrant cream and left him alone - just as both Dads wanted.

Dibby seemed in good form and trotted about here and there and tried a gentle canter to celebrate the unseasonable warm morning like a happy senior cob.

We came in at four and Dad took me in the school for forty minutes until it grew dark. We had the arena to ourselves and worked in walk and trot as yesterday. Dad tried to improve the quality of our walk - marching uphill into the bit and general flexing and softening. We moved up into trot on a larger circle and tried to sustain more softness and roundness and to be more relaxed in our way of going. By the end of the session we had both relaxed much better than usual. I was softer and more responsive in the mouth and Dad was sitting up with heels down and remembering to breath and maintain a correct gentle contact.

We were both pleased by the session and I had minties, an apple and tea. Auntie Gemma gave Dibby and I some electro-magnetic treatment with her magic machine afterwards. Sometimes it seems so different to those days when Dad first came to see me after all those months out in that field. Cobs like to be taken care of.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Warm late-October day


A quiet Tuesday in the field in our lighter rugs. The afternoon was warmer and Other Dad took our rugs off late-on so we could mutual groom while we were waiting to come in.

Dad took me into the school after four for forty minutes before it grew dark. At first both Rosa and Wolfie were being lunged, but apart from watching various other horses being brought in, I concentrated properly. We worked in walk and trot and focused on staying round and on the bit for longer. The session worked well and I had lots of mints and pats when I came in. Cobs relate to incentivisation - especially mints and praise.

Monday, October 26, 2009


After a rainy weekend off when the clocks went back an hour, Dad took me in the school after four today.

I was much more perky and forward-going than usual and found the firmer surface much better for some rain.

We were on our own for the most part and worked in walk with lots of halt and trot transitions, softening and flexing. We added some leg-yield and shoulder-in and went up into a pacy active trot.

We worked on twenty and thirty metre circles and added figures of eight changing rein and trying to sustain roundness. We finished off on a long rein and came in for grooming and tea just as it was getting dark. Cobs cope quite well with autumn - although Dibby is still on an extra Danilon each day to ease his joints.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday morning school

Thursday, October 22, 2009

For the best

Funny week, this. Both Dads have been busy in the mornings and we have been put out to graze quite early each day.

The weather has turned rainy and autumnal and the lighter rugs in which we began the week have been soaked through and have not dried yet and so we have worn our purple New Zealands for the last two days.

Dibby has been uncomfortable with the changing season and Dad has increased his Danilon by one sachet in the evening, to reduce the pain in his knees and hocks. Dibbs seemed to feel better for this, but Both Dads will monitor him as closely as they can until he seems more at ease in himself.

Dad was going to take me in the school late this afternoon but, as soon as we came in, it poured again. So Dad gave us both a massage and a good groom before tea. Cobs know these things are sometimes for the best.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Dibby and I spent a quiet Sunday in the field. On coming in after four, Dad took me into the school for a while.

Although it was usually quiet on Sunday evenings, Rosa and initially Flow were being schooled and Sonny lunged. On top of this a new cob was being introduced to Harry in his paddock and Wolfie and Jethro were having fun playing games rearing and bucking. All this was much more interesting than schooling and Dad had to persuade me to concentrate, which I did eventually.

The evening was cool and dry and we did our usual preliminary routine of stretching and flexing with shoulder fore and in and leg yield with halt, walk and trot transitions.

We worked longer than usual on walking a simple twenty metre circle with flexing to soften and relax and to get my attention on the job at hand. Tonight I didn't really feel inclined to co-operate with much rein back and Dad didn't push it this time. He will focus on it soon though. We went up into trot on twenty and thirty metre circles and turned that into figures of eight to bend my frame and practice sustaining roundness.

We finished off with some quite lively canter on both reins and came in for tea. That was the first time we had cantered on a right rein for several weeks and Dad was pleased that we managed to sustain it around one or two circles and with reasonable steering. Cobs know sometimes it's best to settle for reasonable.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Internal error stopped snap

Fun trying to blog today (late Friday actually, regardless of the above). First time around the mighty machine refused to upload a fetching photo of me in the school and says it was prevented by an internal error or some such. After several attempts I gave up and wrote the rest of this posting and then tried again with a positive outcome. I was tempted to wonder if such mundane things happened on sci-fi biker cutesie designer photojournalist blogs beloved of the skateboarding junior masters of the blogosphere but guess that's just an uncoblike paranoia.

Anyroadup, picture or not, back to today - or yesterday as it shall be by the time I get round to posting this after being stymied by the intermittently faulty software, blogflaw, cyberbooboo, googlehiccup, postglitch or whatever the term is.

Both Dads were busy again all morning so we went out at nine to graze in our rugs. We stayed out until four or so. After being groomed, Dibby went in for his tea straight away but Dad took me in the school for fifty minutes or so.

At the top end of the school, Rosa was having her lesson for the first part then Max. I shared the bottom end with Meg.

We worked in walk and trot to begin stretching and flexing largish and on a circle with plenty of halt walk/trot transitions leg-yield and shoulder-fore. We tried a few rein backs, but I was quite resistant, but eventually co-operated well.

We also did some canter on the left rein. Dad was pleased that I completed several complete circles. This was the first time we had cantered in several weeks owing the the surface. The school was getting busier when Dad wanted to work on right-hand canter and since this is my more exciting rein he held off and we will work on that next time when it's quieter and we have even more space. Dad doesn't normally like to canter unless we work on both reins so he will avoid misjudging that in future. We finished off stretching on a long rein and came in for grooming and tea. For Dad it felt like the end of a long week. I enjoyed the minties and extra apple. That's a cob's perspective.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dibby's moments

Other Dad put us out to graze in our lightweight rugs this morning.

Dad had been a little under the weather and had the day at home. He was just getting ready to come to the yard at four to attend to our stables and bring us in when Auntie Gemma rang to say Dibby had got tangled up in his rug in the field and that she had kindly brought us in.

On arriving in record time, Dad found Dibby in his stable and his rug outside thoroughly ripped up from one end to the other. Needless to say, you won't be seeing Dibbs in his dashing pink and blue lightweight again. Fortunately, Dibby hadn't hurt himself when he became entangled, other than getting somewhat stressed. He soon calmed down and ate his tea and settled down to his hay net.

I just stood there as Dad took off my rug and groomed me and gave me my tea. I admit I did give Dad a hard time a few days ago, when I got excited in the high wind and made it an interesting experience for Dad to get me from the field to my stable. As today showed, it's not always me though. Although Dibby is a very sensible senior cob, he is entitled to his moments too - particularly when itchiness and rugs are concerned.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We went out to graze in our lightweight rugs at about 9.30.

By noon after they had finished our stables Both Dads thought it was warm enough for Dibby and I to enjoy the sunshine, so they came into the field and removed our rugs for the afternoon. We had a good mutual groom immediately to celebrate.

We came in after four. Other Dad took Dibby for a quiet hack down the lane. This was a treat since Dibby hadn't been out for over a month. As ever, he behaved impeccably and had a nice outing.

Dad took me in the school. We had it to ourselves and worked around the perimeter and on a huge thirty metre circle for most of the time. We worked on softening, flexing and leg yield in walk on both reins and then in trot. We added lots of transitions from halt through walk and up in to trot and tried to avoid sharp turns and any loss of rhythm. We added some rein back. Generally Dad was trying to work from inside leg into outside rein and to maintain a gentler contact on inside rein. He tried to sustain a more regular rhythm in all the gaits and was pleased with the session.

Dibby joined us on his return for a quiet walk around the arena together before we went in for grooming and tea. Cobs prefer company most of the time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back to work

Dad and I thought we needed a day off after our busy week and enjoyed a lazy Sunday.

Dibby and I spent today in the field and came in at about 4.30. Dad then took me in the school. We worked on the things we covered in our lesson on Saturday with lots of softening and rounding, leg yield and transitions to halt and up to walk and trot with slowing down of pace and picking it up again.

We worked on trot trying to keep firm outside contact and less fixed inside rein. We practiced rein back and transitions up into a better quality trot. We finished on a longer rein, stretching out and low in walk and trot.

We came in for grooming and tea. We were happy with the session. Cobs like getting back to work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October lesson with Fran

Our busy week continued on Thursday when Dad schooled me in the evening. The school hadn't beeen levelled yet so we stuck to walk and trot as before with lots of softening, flexing and transitions and trying to sustain a regular trot on the bit.
On Friday it was my turn to be clipped. My coat was quite woolly - although not as thick as Dibby's - and I was very relieved to be free of it.
On Saturday morning we had a lesson with Fran.
We warmed up gently in walk on a circle with stretching and flexing both ways. We added leg yield on the circle and down the long side with occasional halt transitions.
We moved up into trot and worked on leg yield, which was much harder. Dad had to focus on retaining a firm contact on the outside rein and relinquishing it from the inside when I had given and was soft. He found this hard and will need to practice it.
Apart from not setting his inside hand, Dad needs to remember to ride every step, since once I have given and softened, I tend to pull him forward and stick my nose out. At this point I'm not ready to sustain the softness without some reminders.
It's difficult sometimes because in the past he remembers being told that once a horse is in a particular gait it should stay there performing it until instructed other wise - like putting a car into a particular gear. That doesn't really work with me since I usually have a point of view on most things. Also, my neck aches if we do that too long and I need a stretch.
So the basic message is that Dad can't really afford to switch off or I will take the rein back and stick my nose out. He needs to maintain a gentle dialogue with my mouth all the time or risk losing the correct contact and softness.
We finished with stretching on a long rein in walk and trot, which was very welcome. Dad was pleased with the lesson. Fran said my two weeks off hadn't done any harm and that I was more consistently round. We have plenty to practice before our next lesson at the end of the month.
We came in for an apple and sponge-down and I joined Dibby in the field for the rest of the day.