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.