Cob Horse Breed Facts 2022 [ Are They Easy to Ride for Beginners?]


As with the hunter and the hack, and indeed with certain other well-known English representatives of the horse world, the Riding Cob is not a breed in itself. That it is a type and a very well-known one is very certain, and for this reason, no work covering the horses and ponies of the world would be complete without a reference to this old-fashioned and still most popular horse.

It will be found that in the majority of the breeds mentioned in this book, other than the pure breeds or horses and ponies indigenous to any particular part of the world, it has been possible to indicate with a fair degree of certainty the components of the particular animal dealt with.

This, however, is not even remotely possible in the case of the cob as a type, though, of course, the reverse is so often the case with the individual animal. It is indeed to a considerable extent a chance-bred animal, as will be readily concluded when its general appearance is considered.

The cob may be pictured briefly as a big-bodies, short-legged “stuffy” horse or pony standing no higher than 15.2 hands, with a small quality headset on a neck arched and elegant. The shoulders are laid obliquely, the back is short and the girth very great. The quarters are generous to a degree and which, when viewed from behind, exceed expectations, having second thighs to match.

The tail must be carried high, with gaiety, as befits a riding horse. The action must be close to the ground, not rounded as with the harness horse, and the toe when in action must point to the farthermost limit – to an extent not exceeded, perhaps, in other breeds. The cannon bone should be extremely short.

Cobs are intended primarily for use as hacks, usually heavyweight hacks for the more elderly rider, and for whatever the purpose, the riding cob must compare favorably, so far as manners are concerned, with that paragon of equine comportment. It is indeed the ideal ride for the elderly and portly and is called upon to respect in manners and deportment the not-so-very-young.

If it were possible to fix a line of original breeding no doubt the foundation of many of the best riding cobs has been that from which the Welsh Cob emanated, but equally it is beyond question that many outstandingly successful show-ring cobs have claimed close relationship to cart mares and heavy-weight hunter mares put to stallions of quality. Whatever the forbears may have been, it is certain that there is nothing more typical nor easier to recognize than the true Riding Cob. He leaves an unforgettable picture stamped upon the mind.

The Riding Cob has always been popular as a hunter (his great quarters make him outstanding as a performer over fences), as a horse to ride around the farm, and as a trainer’s hack because of his docility and manners.
The typical cob of the past has always been docked: the tail cut to a length that is so-called fashion dictated. Docking, as is known, has been prohibited in various countries for some long while past, including England, and the prohibition extends to “nicking”, which is another form of mutilation of the tail.

With or without the full tail, the cob of course remains and will remain, as a horse up to a very great deal of weight, and its manner must be beyond reproach; it will always be in demand as a riding horse, especially the smaller type which makes mounting easier for the not-too agile.

With its heavy body and short legs, big barrel, and depth through the quarters, there is always a tendency for the cob to be heavy or jarring in its paces, and any suggestion of this of course detracts from its worth as a riding horse, especially for the elderly. Whether the cob of the show ring always conforms to the ideal is a matter of question, and may to some extent be judged by the onlooker. It might be mentioned that a class for cobs at shows is essentially an English institution.

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