Stunning rescued gypsy cob mixing it with the warmbloods at winter championships

  • “What we don’t have in height, we make up for in hair,” said a beaming Ruby Lewin following her plus-65% test aboard CNS Cob Marley in the 2024 Petplan Elementary Bronze Winter Area Festival Championship.

    The class was won by Jonathan Canty and Fablewelt (69.7%) but despite that, there was no containing Ruby’s delight: “We’ve got our own unique way and I love it.”

    The 15-year-old traditional gypsy cob – who stands at only 13.1hh – was rescued in poor condition as a two-year-old by Charmaine Senior, who still owns him. After a successful career in the show ring, he’s been competing in affiliated dressage with Ruby for over six years.

    “He’s shown excellent potential from the get-go,” explained Ruby, who only started competing at elementary in December after a gentle push from her coaches Craig Messenger and Daniel Watson.

    “We qualified for the Area Festivals in just three tests and then he went and won at Parwood, which got us here today. We’ve come to give it a go, do our best and get the experience because he’s done nothing this big before.”

    2024 Winter Area Festival Championships: “I’ve always loved cobs”

    With his voluminous mane and feathers, Marley stands out from a mile away. “He’s also a real character, to say the least,” adds Ruby. “He’s a little chatterbox and he likes to make his presence known – and he’ll do anything for a gingernut biscuit.”

    As you can probably imagine, Marley doesn’t just wake up looking like this, and with so much hair, being this well-turned out takes some late nights and early starts.

    “For a show like this, it takes us around four hours,” said Ruby, “he gets washed, blow-dried head to toe, you name it.”

    “We leave him with five single plaits going down his mane overnight, and then before we ride at a show it gets brushed out and goes completely wild.

    “My previous horse was a Lipizzaner, so the complete opposite – but I’ve always loved cobs and we’ve built up such a solid collection over the years – we just click.”

    Having made the move up to elementary, Ruby now has her sets on going even further: “Both Daniel and Craig see real potential in him to move up to medium, and we’ll see how far we go from there. But we’re in no rush, we’re just enjoying it, having fun, and he’s loving it – he’s a proper showman.”

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