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Welsh cobs in dressage?

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  • Welsh cobs in dressage?

    Hi, not to de-rail the other pony thread, several people have said that Welsh cobs can be very high-spirited ("firey" was the way some have described it). Is this typical for the cobs? I have a Section B cross, and while he is very sensitive and has spirit, I would in no way describe him as hot or challenging for an older lower-level AA to ride. I am thinking of looking at a cob (and if you know me and know the pony I am thinking of and have any info, please share... ). But if they tend to be "hot", he would be too much for me.

    I know there are exceptions and one must look at the individual, but for those of you having first-hand experience with the cobs, I would appreciate your opinions.


  • #2
    I have a 5yr old cob that i LOVE... I dont know that i would call her firey... But EXTREMELY light with explosive movements... Though she does nothing stupid. My husband can stand on her back and hang all over her... I have taken her camping (trail riding bareback even with a mule cart behind us and she was only 3...), riding in large organized trail rides, bareback in big parades... I would never put a beginner on her because she is so light sided... I did recently put an intermediate rider on her, and of course, horse spooked (in place) rider did the vice grip calves thing, horse shot forward in the biggest trot she could, rider pulled back, horse stopped on a dime and threw rider forward, in which she did the vice grip again, horse shot forward... This process repeated a few times until of course horse just stopped and rider flew off.

    This being a rider that i thought could handle it as i've seen her ride many times.

    Teaching my mare to canter has been very rough. She starts out in this bolting/explosive canter... Its not ugly, but she cant get her body together, so its crazy hair raising pscyho. Thus, we are still showing Intro, and may be for another year!

    My instructor loves her. I cant imagine riding any other type of horse. I dont like kick and spur, i dont like dead heads, i like spunk, i like flair, i like to show off my gorgeous cob and leave everyone wondering what she is...

    They are lovely for dressage, but i will say there are some that are made for it and some that are not, and canter can be tough to learn. I have owned a lot of breeds from QHs to warmbloods, and i've never worked with something that tries so hard and gives 140% every ride that i'm not completely exhausted trying to keep it moving.

    BUT, they are not a breed that i recommend to everyone...
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!


    • #3
      Well I am going to be blasted by the other welsh cob people; but, I think it's fair to say that I"ve had some experience with the breed. I currently own 7 and have had over 12 over the years either owned or leased. I do compete pretty heavily with them in dressage and have them from just backed to prix st. george. I do feel strongly that certain bloodlines have a tendency towards being more sensitive than others. They tend to have a very strong sense of self-preservation which ranges from "you can't make me" to "I'm out of here". They do not suffer fools well. If you develop a bond with a welsh cob they will die trying to give you what you want but they are very clever and at times anticipate what you want (even if you didn't want it). I adore the breed; however, am very vocal about the number I have had given to me for free that were "ruined" and destined for euthanasia due to improper handling. That being said, they are very athletic and if you can find one with a good canter can be very competitive in the dressage court. As for who you are looking at, feel free to PM me and I will share what information I can though cannot guarantee that I am familiar with the animal and if not will say so.
      Ranch of Last Resort


      • Original Poster

        Thank you both. It sounds like the cobs are very different from the Section Bs, of which I have known several over the years.

        Exvet, I will PM you tonight with what limited information I have about the bloodline. I appreciate your offer.


        • #5
          A boarder at the barn I take lessons at has a Welsh Cob. He is really nice - forward and active, but not "explosive". The only expressions of discontent I've seen from him are the ocassional wring of the tail and head shake. And he's freaking adorable as well.

          His owner is a bit on the timid side (she has a larger warmblood that she's never felt particularly comfortable on) and she just loves him, says he's her forever horse.


          • #6
            They are just "goers" - they have an engine. It's what you want !
            ... _. ._ .._. .._


            • #7
              exvet should be a great help to you. She's doing wonderful stuff with hers.


              • #8
                This thread was very helpful. I've been (half) joking about finding one for me next time I'm looking. Forward, energy is fine with me. They are adorable. Seen some great movers in the dressage ring.

                Funny, after years of riding giant horses, I'm considering my first pony!

                Thank you for the information!


                • Original Poster

                  Exvet is a great help! thanks all!


                  • #10
                    Welsh Cobs come in all shapes, sizes, temperaments and movement.

                    I love some, indifferant to some, hate others.

                    Not all have engines, some can be bloody hard work. Others total lunatics. Some just right.

                    It is VERY hard to find a good one which is for sale at a reasonable price.


                    • #11
                      It is VERY hard to find a good one which is for sale at a reasonable price.

                      Ain't that the truth but not impossible.

                      Good luck with your search Ginger! Let me know if you need anything else.
                      Ranch of Last Resort


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you, Exvet


                        • #13
                          Firey ??? Hot spirited?!?

                          What a load of Welsh cobblers!

                          I've had more than I can probably remember and have them now and in number. I've competed with them - albeit mainly driving but the ones I've got are all ride and drive and as such are used for riding lessons and by customers starting off doing the likes of hunting and cross country jumping. They're careful and workmanlike.

                          NO WAY on this planet should they be considered either fiery or hot spirited. Just the opposite.

                          They're easy to keep and manage. They take no exception to being out in a field all week and then being ridden just at weekends. They won't be all silly and hyper at all. They make brilliant all round riding and driving horses and are relatively easy to train.

                          If you're not up to the job they can be a little stubborn, stroppy or opinionated but firey or hot spirited... NO WAY! They are the sort of horse that will do an honest day's work but will never die for you. They are too busy looking after themselves. Now as far I'm concerned, that works for me!

                          When folks phone me and say they've a welsh cob needs backing or putting to harness then having accepted the work, I normally put the phone down and say "oh good, an easy one"


                          • #14
                            yeah-- agree with thomas 1
                            ihave had more welshes than anything esle to include x types

                            they are work horses and ponies and honest they are best all rounders any one can get as they are versitle can do anything from jumping to eventing to driving to showing
                            i compete mine in mixed events - i have welsh A welsh b welsh c and welsh d
                            i lost due to old age =welsh x tb welsch sec c welsh x dales

                            i have had welsh xarabs welsh xconnies

                            as for hot - no they are not there careful and surefooted and also brave
                            they are very independant horses and ponies they hate being modidcoddled
                            and beleive me if your the type that goes ooh arh ump - or dont show
                            you have any authority these guys get that no very quicky -- they are as sharp minded
                            as a human - when we say mug -- they see that as soon as you walk through the door

                            they have the ability to go that extra mile when you want it or need it
                            they are honest careful jumpers and get you out of trouble when you make a mistake
                            they are are wise and easy to break in and do things with as they love to work and learn


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by exvet View Post
                              if you can find one with a good canter can be very competitive in the dressage court.
                              Out of curiosity what sort of problems with the canter have you seen?
                              Redbud Ranch
                              Check us out on FB


                              • #16
                                I've met quite a few hot Welsh Cobs. True most of them aren't. But some are.

                                And when they are - believe me they can be dangerous.

                                Thomas - it's annoying to be told I'm speaking cobblers. I am not.

                                I have never met a Welsh Cob with a difficult canter, but I can believe that some do have this. Although most can be trained to do a very nice canter, many do struggle to get their changes 'through.' It can be very hard to stop them changing late behind.


                                • #17
                                  I wonder whether the cobs in the US aren't a subset of all cobs and slightly different generally than the cobs in the UK? I am thinking that the hotter, more athletic cobs are those that are being imported?

                                  It seems that in the UK there are more of the "workmanlike" cobs.

                                  FWIW, I have really coveted a cob ever since first seeing exvet's photos 2 years ago. There is a cob in my training barn doing some lovely 2nd-3rd level work... and if there's one problem he does NOT have it's his canter, he's got a gorgeous canter with lots of jump!

                                  I have a welsh x who can be fairly hot and I know the cob can be ornery as well, I think it's all part of the welsh experience


                                  • #18
                                    I think the biggest problem with a cob and their canter is STARTING the canter. Mine will canter on the lunge no problem, but its flat. I see a HUGE canter in her out in the field, i know its in there... So when i ride her, i am presently keeping her in straight lines as much as possible to keep the "jump". But its hair raising. I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is that first and foremost these guys were bred to trot and be exceptional driving horses. Doesnt mean they are not riding horses, but by saying that, i mean they have FAB trots and the canter takes some work to learn. I believe a while back when i asked about cob people and the canter, Thomas mentioned he starts his out in the field, and i have to say, i think thats the key... Keep them out and in the open, and let them go! They just have to find themselves and little arenas dont get it done...

                                    In starting my girl to canter, in the transition, i swear her butt shrinks 2' and we propell into the air. It just climbs... Which is fantastic... If it werent so hair raising! I wish i had someone i could trust to get it more solid, i've really lost a lot of my nerve after having a year off to have a baby. I trust that mare with my life and time again she has saved me. I have a bond with her like no other. She is my forever horse.

                                    She really doesnt have a spook to her, maybe in place, and it takes something fairly wild to bring it out of her. She is SUPER light to ride. As in shift your hips for turns and lateral work, my legs never grip or bump her, i just position them and leave them lightly laying on her sides. I never have to get into her mouth, she is very steady.

                                    She LOVES to hear she is a good girl and she'll give even more when you reward her.

                                    Hot? No, she's not, but she's a BIG mover, and i can see how some people would see that as hot and fiery.

                                    And like i said, i dont really recommend them for everyone. If you ride heavy, thump around, and need something really forgiving, dont get a cob. My experience with the US cobs is that most cant handle that until they are in their teens, not all of course, but most.

                                    I think the biggest issue with riding them... You may be riding a pony... But you FEEL like you are riding 17h of energy and impulsion like you wouldnt believe. The feeling is incredible.
                                    Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                                    • #19
                                      I have seen and had welsh cobs who fell into one of 4 "types" - not unlike most breeds either they a) didn't prefer to canter, ie, trot is their number one gait or b)they will canter readily but it's not with a nice bascule/jump that one desires for dressage (c) or the most difficult ones to work with are those that do not step up underneath themselves. I liken it to the front end being in Arizona while the back half is somewhere in California trying to catch up. It's against the breed standard but there are many of that type that exist. Then there are others (d) that possess a fantastic canter.

                                      Like any breed you're looking at with the desire to compete in dressage you need to assess their gaits and don't get hung up or fooled by an extravagant trot. Too many think "of course a welsh cob can 'do dressage' just look at that trot".......well.....imo.....look at the hind end NOT the trot. IF they track up well with their hind end then there is no reason they can't do it but if they do not then those are the ones that will not get the best scores on gaits and usually have most of their problems with the canter and all movements involving the canter.

                                      I think too when considering a native bred pony, like the welsh cob, one must realize that there is a difference in the level of horsemanship found here with say the average dressage rider as compared to many, at least those who I know personally, across the pond. I'm going to go ahead and say it, I think common sense has left the gene pool and horsemanship, true all rounded horsemanship, is dead. I find that there are far too many who are backed off or surprised by how quickly a welsh cob can and will react if there is no leader already established I agree with butlerfamilyzoo in that many misinterpret a welsh cob who doesn't suffer fools well or a welsh cob that is powerful, anticipating and trying to deliver what it thinks the rider wants as hot and fiery.

                                      Here is a perfect example. I acquired Gallod Morgan Henry for free because he was labled crazy, dangerous and unpredictable. He learned to set back, rear and buck when anyone attempted to tack him up and/or mount him and/or use lower leg. Well here is 10 months down the road after he came to me. Is he easy? No. He's learned very well from those that came before me which tricks in his bag were most effective and every time I introduce something new or turn up the demands a notch the tricks are quick to come out and be retried. However, I am able and do ride him regularly and though he can be quite the stinker he really wants to be and is a nice section C with a not too shabby canter

                                      Ranch of Last Resort


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by exvet View Post
                                        Here is a perfect example. I acquired Gallod Morgan Henry for free because he was labled crazy, dangerous and unpredictable. He learned to set back, rear and buck when anyone attempted to tack him up and/or mount him and/or use lower leg. Well here is 10 months down the road after he came to me. Is he easy? No. He's learned very well from those that came before me which tricks in his bag were most effective and every time I introduce something new or turn up the demands a notch the tricks are quick to come out and be retried. However, I am able and do ride him regularly and though he can be quite the stinker he really wants to be and is a nice section C with a not too shabby canter
                                        This reminds me of my mare, who was labeled untrainable, dangerous and hot by her prior owner(s). The mare was indeed hot (couldn't put my lower leg on) and quick. But not if you rode correctly.
                                        It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"