A well-covered cob

I have mentioned before how I have enjoyed a book called Cobs Can! which celebrates the cob and gives excellent advice about training and riding cobs. In a recent edition of the magazine of the British Horse Society this book was given a favourable review. The reviewer added one caveat: he was disappointed that there was no advice on feeding and management of a type that puts on the pounds at the drop of a hat. This is clearly a reviewer who knows his cobs.

“You should be shot” were the less than complimentary words barked at me by the owner of the riding stables where my daughter has lessons. Daughter was having a lesson on Ben who did look rather large and I felt like hanging my head in shame. What can I do? On the track he has a slice of hay to last him all day (although when he is finished his he probably takes over Rosie’s). He is let in to well-grazed grass at night. In his feed bucket is a small amount of light chaff, a low calorie balancer and some herbal supplements. I am giving Rosie more.

I have a friend who has cobs and one is rather like Ben in type. She copes with the weight issue by stabling him for much of the day with a small haynet. She does say that he is “bored”. Thankfully I can keep Ben out on the track which he does move around, but as he obviously needs more work he is getting it. We both are.

I have joined a gym as, with my daughter in secondary school, I have an early start with time to spare having dropped her to the bus. So I work out on the treadmill. I have devised a treadmill for Ben too. The roads are quite flat around here, but the lane behind our house is quiet and has a thick strip of grass in the centre and climbs up hill. I canter Ben up this hill and it is amazing just how much this wakes him up. After that we trot, sometimes past our back gate and round to the lane again, and sometimes on a longer circuit. He looks forward to his next canter stretch and, star that he is, is more than happy to pass our back gate and go round once again.

He really is a star, for the cantering brings the young horses in the fields behind the lane to the front to investigate and he trots past, his back beautifully elevated, showing himself off but staying focussed on me.



Filed under books, ground work, hoof care, sketches, tack

6 responses to “A well-covered cob

  1. June

    Gosh, he is thrifty, isn’t he? At least he’s not eating you out of house and home!

    I love the image of Ben showing off to the young horses.

    • June, I do feed a very good (and expensive) balancer, but otherwise he is definitely an easy keeper. The thing is, last winter he emerged fatter, if possible than he went in. I fed hay ad lib – in the big, supposedly slow feeder, haynets so that they could keep warm during the very cold weather. The theory is that is those nets are filled with hay at all times, a horse starts to relax about eating and regulates his own feeding. Ben has clearly not read that part.

      • Neither have my Icelandics (they probably just can’t read ;-))! I certainly cannot provide my horses with hay 24/7, not even in their slowfeeders. If I would, I’m sure I could ‘roll’ them! They just keep eating until they burst…

  2. I have a pony and a donkey who require careful monitoring – one thing that has made a huge difference is getting the calcium/phosphorus/magnesium ratios balanced (as well as copper, zinc, and iron). Between the balancing and making sure they get exercise, none have had to wear grazing muzzles the past two years. Fall is the worst time for them here. The pony esp. seems to get singularly focused on packing on the pounds, as if he might need to stock up for winter!

    My understanding based on the Eleanor Kellon classes is that we have to find the balance where they are not getting too much sugar or too many calories – but ARE getting the right amount of calories and nutrition – feeding less and less can actually send them into IR – the body’s way of dealing with starvation. (I hope I’m explaining this correctly – but if you ever have a chance to take her classes, I know there’s a large UK contingent who have sourced minerals, etc. and are dealing with the issues specific to that area of the world, i.e. types of grass, the seasons, etc.)

    I can see Ben doing his “show” – isn’t it nice that he shows off while staying attuned to you? I love it!

    • Billie, you have mentioned Eleanor Kellon before and I will definitely look her up. What you say makes a lot of sense, although Ben’s cob type is both very popular here and very well known for piling on the pounds.

      I take it as a real compliment to how far Ben and my relationship has come that he stays attuned to me whilst showing off to the youngsters.

  3. Marja, your icelandics and Ben must have a lot in common.