I’ve met various riders and trainers who are rather disparaging of cobs — being of the view they are built to pull carts rather than perform. And I can’t be alone in worrying that even referring to a horse as a cob might offend their owner.

This I cannot understand, particularly having enjoyed a day’s hunting last week on the pluckiest, brightest of equines who proved perfectly able and athletic yet reliable enough to put your granny on.

Of course you shouldn’t generalise about a breed, let alone a type, and there are those cobs who’ve proved the doubters wrong — taking Badminton and Burghley, or winning national dressage championship titles.

These are the fuller-figured equines with such big hearts that, despite any shortcomings in physique, they are able to surpass expectations. In this issue, we both salute them and find out how their riders achieved such feats.

I’m among those disappointed to learn that para dressage is not scheduled to run alongside able-bodied dressage and showjumping at the Europeans in Aachen next year.

It took quite some time for these athletes to be given the recognition they deserve and for the events to take place simultaneously at championships including the World Equestrian Games at Kentucky in 2010. It does indeed feel like a sad and backward step for them to be separated again.