New initiative aims to ‘give a cob a job’

An initiative aiming to “give a cob a job” will encourage better breeding of traditional gypsy cobs, while also benefiting individuals with mental health issues and learning difficulties.

The Traditional Gypsy Cob Association (TGCA) is setting up an equine therapy centre near Canterbury, as part of its welfare charitable arm Cob Care, which aims to protect, preserve and promote the breed.

The centre, which is expected to open in September 2019, will rescue cobs in need and provide them with jobs at the centre once they are back to good health. 

A spokesman for the TGCA said: “Andrea Betteridge, the founding director of the TGCA, has set up this new venture to give more traditional gypsy cobs a job and in doing so, encourage better breeding choices which will result in giving these animals a higher value and a retail market. ”

The first cob to be rescued by Cob Care, who will be based the centre and star in a blog, is two-year-old Colin (pictured) who was found abandoned alone in a field. 

“We plan to rescue cobs locally and give them a job at our therapy centre once they are fully rehabilitated. To help highlight this important work we will tell Colin’s story through his eyes, as we go through the process of getting him back on track,” said Andrea.

“When we found Colin he was skinny and frail, covered in lice and riddled with tapeworms. I have been working with him every day and he has already had to overcome so much including relentless itching, which thankfully has now passed, and his fear of someone approaching with a headcollar.

“He has slowly started to learn to trust us as we have become familiar to him but he has always been the gentlest soul.”

A spokesman for the TGCA said the association has already created many jobs for cobs over the years with shows including the association’s championship show and its Traditional of the Year Show, now in its 10th year, which aim to give opportunities for owners wishing to show their cobs.

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“This year is also the first time the SEIB Search for a Star series is holding a class for pure-bred traditional cobs with a Horse of the Year Show championship for solid-coloured and piebald and skewbald traditional cobs,” said the spokesman.

Andrea added: “Everyone involved works tirelessly to provide opportunities for these traditional cobs with the long-term aim of improving their welfare. The story of Colin’s journey from outright neglect to having a key role in the centre will highlight how our equine therapy ccntre will provide even more important ‘jobs for cobs’.”

People can follow Colin’s journey on Facebook.

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