What is Cob?
The term "cob" pops up in a variety of equestrian vocabulary. But what exactly does it mean?
The British Show Horse Association describes a cob as: “A short-legged animal, with bone, substance and quality, capable of carrying a substantial weight. The cob should be well-mannered and ideal for nervous or elderly riders. Cobs should have sensible heads, (sometimes Roman nosed), a full, generous eye, shapely neck, well-muscled… and with a well-defined wither.”
It is important to note that a cob is a type of horse, not a breed. Similar to a draft horse, or a sport horse. There are many breeds that fill the Cob description, such as the Welsh Cob (Section D), Gypsy Cob(Vanner or Traditional Cob), or a Norman Cob. All are named after the areas that their breed developed. Cob horses were originally bred to be able to work the fields and help the family in the pre-machine era. They are hardy, tough horses and often have a ton of hair and a thick coat. Cob horses can range from 11 -16 hands however are typically in the 13 - 15 hand range.
Now that we know Cob is a type of horse it helps to bring a clue to the other area you will find the term cob. When looking for tack, such as bridles, boots, and fly masks. You will often see Pony, Cob, and Horse. Cob is commonly the size between a dainty pony and a standard size horse. Even though the cob horse is traditionally a big-boned size, Arabian horses and smaller horses will typically take a cob size. It is helpful to think of it as a medium size, comparative to a small pony, large horse, and an xlarge warmblood.
You also might run into the term C.O.B. in the feed store. In this scenario, cob stands for Corn, Oats, and Barley. Typically covered in molasses. This type of grain is also called Sweet Feed. This is a very sweet, and high-energy feed and does not need to be fed to easy keeping cob horses, it is more common to be fed to race horses.