Meet the cob rescued from a railway line at three weeks old – now ‘strutting his stuff’ at PSG dressage

  • A cob who was rescued from a railway line at three weeks old has gone on to compete at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) – as well as at prix st georges (PSG) dressage.

    Farrier Lucy Hamblett-James told H&H she would never have believed it, 14 years ago, had anyone told her what the tiny orphaned foal would go on to do.

    “He’s just epic,” she said.

    Lucy said she was working as a horse warden in Wales at the time a call came in to say a horse had been hit by a freight train, in the early hours of the morning.

    “There were six horses in total,” she said. “A couple were injured and there were two foals. One had a headcollar on that was so tight, it had to be cut off.

    “We had to deal with the poor horse who had been hit, and clear the tracks, and get the others to safety. He was in the bunch, with his mum, but she had broken her leg so she had to be put down.”

    Lucy said Coblet, as she called him, was “very runty and poorly”, but she took him to keep her warmbloods company.

    “In all my time as a warden; I saw a lot of horses and could have taken them all home, but he was the one,” she said. “He needed extra help. I thought he could be a companion to mine – but he’s turned out mega.”

    Lucy and a friend cared for Coblet, weaning him on to pellet feed and he thrived, but his poor start had had its effects.

    “He was entire for a long time as every time we went to geld him, there was something wrong,” she said. “I don’t think he got the first milk from his mum; the other foal he was with was very boisterous and dominant, and I’ve got a feeling he was taking it. Coblet had a very poor immune system, and still has.”

    Lack of colostrum aside – he once spent three nights in a veterinary clinic owing to an allergic reaction to baby shampoo – Coblet has thrived, under Lucy’s careful management.

    “I called him that as he was such a runt, and I didn’t realise Coblet was a thing!” she said. “I was an event groom, and grew up with dressage horses, I didn’t really get cobs. I had my two mares, and he was just going to keep them company.”

    But one day, on a trip to the beach – Lucy said she and her wife Hannah used to take Coblet there for ground and in-hand activities – Lucy got on board.

    “He was no bother to back at all,” she said. “We’d done so much playing, he’s a playful boy who likes to learn ‘tricks’, and we just had a lot of fun. That’s how we’ve got to where we are.”

    That includes qualifying for the Search for a Star final at HOYS in 2016.

    “I feel like I wing life a bit!” Lucy said. “We went to the qualifier and I didn’t know I had to take my earrings out, and when I took the tack off, I put it in the wrong place; I didn’t know what we were doing, but we were pulled in second.

    “HOYS was incredible. H&H had covered his story and he had quite a following; I remember going into the ring to the biggest round of applause.”

    Coblet, or Galliano Gold Dust, and Lucy have also competed at PSG, something Lucy said she had never thought would be possible.

    “Our first one, I cried all the way down the centre line, I was so overwhelmed, and nearly went wrong straight away!” she said. “He really is just the best cob; we won’t be world-beaters but we have such a good time, strutting his fabulous stuff.

    “We get help from people who just want him to do well and feel his best; Bethan Lloyd at The Vale rehabilitation clinic gives him monthly treatments and he has regular water treadmill sessions; we want him fit and healthy as it’s hard at this level.

    “As the saying goes, it takes a village; he was bred to pull carts but he now dances round the dressage arena.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...