Simon Reynolds: Cobs are a type, not a height [H&H VIP]

  • There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the British Show Horse Association’s (BSHA) new guidelines regarding the “ideal” height of a maxi cob being between 155.1cm and 160cm.

    I have to say that I was disappointed that this was brought into play mid-season.

    I am a firm believer that the most important factor is type.

    If a judge cannot determine the difference between a hogged hunter and a show cob, then I’m afraid they shouldn’t be judging. Height should never be the deciding factor in what makes a good maxi show cob. A cob is a type first and foremost.

    If I was judging a maxi class and there was a choice between one that was a bit bigger than this “ideal” height, but it was correct and true to type, or a smaller, incorrect animal, I’d choose the former every time. Big or small, it’s about choosing the best example on the day.

    Let’s not complicate

    Luckily, I haven’t seen evidence so far of judges ditching the larger animals purely on a height issue. We should have faith in our judges that they have the knowledge and experience to pick out the correct type. If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Pardon the pun, but there are bigger issues to tackle than this. We should be encouraging the maxis, as a relatively new class, not complicating matters.

    The height of the current crop of maxis has never struck me as an issue. Many lack bone, have conformational faults or aren’t good enough, and these are the ones that should be weeded out.

    I think it is unfair to single out the maxi cobs. Surely the large riding horses should also have an ideal height limit.

    I do find it hypocritical that a few of those supporting the 160cm height limit have shown much larger horses in that class and been well paid to do so.

    If the judge’s job is now to guesstimate height, then perhaps it is time to do away with the Joint Measurement Board? Some have been discussing measuring on show day.

    If I were a betting man, I’d say that at least 80% of the class wouldn’t measure in under 15.3hh (160cm) on the day.

    I have always found the BSHA very approachable —perhaps with some more discussion, some common ground can be met.

    Summer’s here

    On a brighter note, we have had some lovely sunshine, and it’s been great to let the horses enjoy it. With this mixture of wet and warm weather, the grass has flourished, and in moderation Dr Green is great, but the horses’ waistlines and any signs of laminitis should be monitored. In my case, I’m always being surveilled by the wife when there’s whisky and chocolate about!

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 25 June 2015