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Show Cobs

The Cob is a type rather than a breed. A short legged animal, exceeding 148cms but not exceeding 155cms, it has bone and substance with quality and is 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 crested at the top, with a hogged mane and well defined wither.

The Cob should also have clean, strong hocks and all the attributes of a good hunter: low movement and a comfortable ride.

To compete in RIHS/HOYS qualifiers, Cobs must be registered with the British Show Horse Association as lightweight (generally minimum of 8.5" of bone), heavyweight (minimum of 9" of bone). The Maxi Cob classes are for horses exceeding 155cms.

Other societies run cob classes which are not affiliated to the BSHA - these include Ponies (UK) and the BSPS.


Ridden Classes

Cobs are to be judged on type, ride, manners and conformation. Cobs should be well schooled and particular attention should be paid to manners.

Lightweight Cob - mare or gelding, 4 years old and over, exceeding 148cms but not exceeding 155cms, capable of carrying up to 14 stone.

Heavyweight Cob - mare or gelding, 4 years old and over, exceeding 148cms but not exceeding 155cms, capable of carrying more than 14 stone.

Maxi Cob - exceeeding 155cms. To be judged as cobs. Judges must pay particular attention to type i.e. short legged animals of cob type. Preferably to be shown hogged.


Working Cobs

Working cobs are divided into two classes - novice and open. The novice horses need to jump a round of working hunter fences with a maximum height and spread of 2'6". The open horses are expected to jump a maximum height and spread of 2'9".

Marks are awarded as follows:
40 - Jumping
20 - Style
20 - Conformation, movement and type
20 - Ride and manners


The side saddle classes are a mixed hack, cob and riding horse class. It is acceptable to wear a navy habit and top hat at a Royal Show, or a tweed habit with a bowler for other shows.

Other classes run by the British Show Horse Association for Show Cobs include the Nupafeed Riding Club Cob, Amateur Owner Rider, Home Produced, Best Trained Show Horse



Riders should wear a tweed jacket, shirt, tie (with tie pin), beige breeches/jodphurs, brown/fawn/neutral leather gloves, long black boots (although brown are now being worn by some competitors), spurs (or dummy spurs). Hats can either be the beagler type (without a chinstrap) or a velvet cap with a leather chin strap. The choice depends on the requirements of each show and the rider's personal preference. It is not correct to wear a buttonhole. Hair should be in a bun or, if too short, tucked neatly into a hairnet. It is not correct to wear scrunchies or ribbons. The rider should carry a show cane.

Horse Tack and Turnout

Cobs should have hogged manes, pulled tails, head (ears, muzzle etc) trimmed and all hair removed from their legs. Their tails should be cut to a few inches below the hock - the length depends on each horse. Quartermarks are acceptable. Hooves should be oiled. The cob is not expected to wear a lot of horse makeup - perhaps a small amount of highlighter over the muzzle and eyes and some white chalk on the legs.

Tack - this should be plain leather of good quality. It is normal to use wider leather for a cob as they can have large and plain faces. A flat, wide browband and noseband will flatter the shape of a cob's head. The bit for open classes is often a double or a show pelham, however, there are many other bits which are used which are perfectly acceptable. It is unusual to see a snaffle bridle in an open cob class. In novice classes, cobs may use any type of bit (including a snaffle).

The saddle should be straight cut and a discreet numnah can be used. Girths are either leather or white - depending on the colour of the cob and the rider's personal preference.

The cob may not wear boots or bandages unless performing in the jumping section of the Working Cob class.


Cob Breeding

It has long been recognised that it is difficult to breed a show cob. The requiremets of size together with the weight carrying attributes and that "look at me" personality are nearly impossible to breed. It is also hard to recognise a good show cob in the rough.

These are pictures of the same cob - as a youngster, as an older horse in the rough, and eventually becoming cob champion at HOYS. So you can see how hard it can be to recognise a winner!

Robocob - HOYS Champion

Cappuccino II, owned by Kay Sinclair James - before pics through to being 2nd at HOYS SFAS Cobs

McGinty II and Jess Saxby before and after

Website designed, maintained and of M Hughes and J Saxby 2008