Why horses love the New Year

By Nicola Jane Swinney on |


Irish cob

Connor can’t believe his luck. As a well-built Irish cob, he only has to look at a feed bucket to put on weight — his human says he “could get fat on concrete”. Cheek. But he will admit that he does sometimes carry a little bit too much, ahem, condition.

The saying goes that a cob should have the head of a duchess and the backside of a cook. Connor snorts. A duchess, indeed! He’s all man (well, almost all), and his head is handsome rather than beautiful. But he is rather proud of his rump — his substantial quarters are his engine, powering his gallop when he lowers and stretches out across the arena. The dash of pony blood in his heritage gives him the ability to turn on a sixpence, as sure-footed as a Connemara.

But the showing season is well and truly over, and Connor has been “on good pasture” — as Oscar the hunter pointed out — since October. If Connor stands next to Petunia, the elegant hack who is also an unmarked bright chestnut, they look like a “before and after” advert for WeightWatchers. Unfortunately for the cob, his human, Thomas, seems to ascribe to the weight-watching ethos — Connor is perennially on a diet.

But in the last ten days or so, there have been lots and lots of lovely treats. Carrots, Polos and apples have all appeared in his feed (not to mention the two pieces of deliciously sweet fruitcake he managed to purloin at the Boxing Day meet), with not a mention of his expanding waistline.

It really is a Happy New Year!

Image: Irish cob by Cottoneye Joe, public domain


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