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8 reasons your next dressage horse should be a cob

Some dressage fans might believe that the only way to a winning percentage in-between the white boards would be to own a warmblood.

However this isn’t necessarily the case, as proven by these eight points…

1. The top levels are not off limits

Think a cob’s limit when it comes to dressage is elementary level? Think again. Across the country there are hundreds of cobs challenging more conventional dressage types and competing successfully at medium level and above, and even right up to grand prix, such as Samantha Turner’s 18-year-old Cuffstown Rumble.

2. They’re less likely to think every flowerpot will eat them

Tall flashy types with huge paces are all well and good, but if you can’t even get in the arena, or stay on the track once you’re in there because they’re are convinced everything within a half mile radius is out to get them, you’re hardly going to be raking in the big marks. That’s not to say cobs are spook-proof, but they may be less likely to freak at the sight of the white boards.

3. You can aim for your very own British Dressage (BD) championship

With the Traditional Gypsy Cob Associated Championship returning for a fourth year in 2019, held for the first time alongside other breed championships, riders of these stunning cobs have the chance to compete in like-for-like company at all levels up to medium. Get ready for the feather-fest!

4. They have useful strengths

A massive extended trot might be impressive, but across all levels there are many more marks to be picked up for rhythm and accuracy, both things cobs tend to excel at. Rather than despair over the fact that your cob may never be able to smash out Valegro-like extensions, focus on his strengths — you may well surprise yourself with your results.

5. A shorter stature means roomier arenas

Have you ever tried to manoeuvre a rangy 17.2hh warmblood round a 20x40m arena? (To be honest a 20×60 arena isn’t that much better) Well, it’s no mean feat! A 15hh compact cob on the other hand — no problem.

6. Save time on plaiting

Hogged cob owners rejoice — you’re off the hook when it comes to plaiting for dressage. And if your cob does sport a long flowing mane, a neat running plait is usually quicker and easier than the regular sort. Disclaimer: admittedly any time saved on plaiting may well be transferred to feather maintenance…

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7. They turn heads everywhere they go

Presence and the “look-at-me” factor is an important trait in a dressage horse, and every judge will be made to sit up in their seats when they see a extravagant cob sashaying down the centre line, or bowling across the diagonal, feathers flying. Cobs are stunning to look at and have real “wow” factor, as well as providing a refreshing change in a sea of bay warmbloods.

8. Success is extra rewarding

Cobs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the satisfaction of proving that good dressage horses come in all shapes, sizes and colours is immense. Success tastes even sweeter when you’re the underdog.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Horse & Hound magazine for all of the latest news and reports, plus our cob special, out now (issue dated 23 May 2019)

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