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The Irish Cob - history & information about the irish cob

 The Irish Cob is compact and powerful, ample both in muscle and bone, yet, with an ability to perform as a good all-purpose animal. Some Irish Cobs tend to be more "stocky" than others. The Irish Cob is well balanced and proportioned, standing straight and square and offering an imposing appearance. General appearance including topline relates to animals in good condition.




The head, which should be held proudly should be carried on a powerful and arched well "set on" neck. The neck should appear to "carry on" through good withers and to finish at the start of the back (this feature should be particularly evident in stallions). The back which should be short and straight should slope gently upwards to a well muscled croup (the back bone/spine or the hip bones should not be apparent). The croup which is quite high and generous should have both croup muscles well defined, the top of the quarters being exceptionally well muscled, broad and ample. The angle of the spine from the croup to the tail should slope gently downwards and should not be exaggerated, this allows for a high, well "set on" tail and contributes to good well rounded quarters .
  Bone Irish Cobs are classified as eithermedium weight, or,heavy weight, (Some allowance in bone measurement can be made for mares and geldings only).
  In motion Irish Cobs with their unique action, luxuriant hair and feathering and the large range of colours available, combine to present a beautiful and varied sight to see when turned out at their best, particularly when in motion
Temperament The Irish Cob should possess a docile and willing nature, with a friendly disposition towards humans and other animal species.
  Head should be straight, handsome and in proportion to the rest of the horse. The forehead should be broad and the muzzle, jaw and cheek should be generous.
  Mouth should have a level bite.
  Eyes should be quite bold, open and set well apart. 
  Ears should be neat and well set on.
  Neck should be compact, but not too short and should be generously muscled including the crest (stallion’s necks should be particularly well muscled and crested).
  Shoulders should be ample, powerful and sloping.
  Withers should be of average protrusion or height and should be encased in plenty of muscle and flesh.
  Chest should be powerful, well muscled and not too broad or narrow.
  Back should be short, straight, well covered in muscle and flesh and slope gently upwards towards the croup.
  Hind legs The hindquarters should be very generous, well rounded, broad and powerful with a well muscled high croup. The second thigh should also be very generous, quite long and well coupled to good straight powerful hocks. The hind legs should be well boned and muscled.
  Body Should be short and compact with ribs well sprung to barrel shape.
  Fore legs Should be powerful and not too short. There should be a good length of well muscled forearm and generously boned shins.
  Knees & hocks Should be well developed and of generous dimensions but should be in balance with the proportions of the horse.
 Fetlock joints should match the other joints in power, size and build.
Pasterns should also be of sufficient bone and not too long (straight or over angled pasterns are a fault).
  Hooves should be well shaped, neat and of a size capable of carrying the frame of the horse without stress.
  Feathers Leg hair/feathering is a characteristic and decorative feature of the Irish Cob breed. This is especially prominent in the heavier Irish Cobs. However, the amount of leg hair/feathering present may vary considerably, particularly in the case of medium weight Irish Cobs.
  Mane & tail The mane and tail should be luxuriant and capable of growing to a substantial length.
Permissible colours All solid colours including Greys and Roans, All Solid colours including Greys and Roans with White body markings. Where there are white body markings, such Irish Cobs are either piebald or skewbald and are described as Coloured Irish Cobs..
Not permissible colours Albinos



 In trot, a fairly exaggerated high front action which involves both the shoulders and the forelegs is desirable to allow for the typical Irish Cob action. Also referred to as ‘step’, this action when present, offers extra presence and style which gives even the heavier animals a "light" appearance when moving. Some Irish Cobs tend to "flick" their lower front legs a little to each side when trotting. This "flicking" should not be confused with "winding" (also called "dishing") which is a fault. As long as the degree of flicking is uniform on both legs and is not over exaggerated, it is regarded as quite typical and acceptable. The general movement and action of an Irish Cob should be level with a good length of stride which is both straight and active.


For Irish Cob inspections it is preferred if the leg hair is not clipped out or trimmed. The mane can be plaited or hogged but, it is preferable if both mane and tail can be left free and natural.


Irish Cobs are divided into height sections for showing purposes only

                       Section  A Horses  -  -  -  - over 159cms and up to 170cms.

                       Section  B Small Horses  - - over 148cms and up to 159cms.

                       Section C  Ponies -  -  -  -  -148cms and under.

For Irish Cob showing in hand classes, the mane, tail and leg hair should be left as natural as possible. However, plaiting and trimming may help to show off some animals to greater benefit. The moustache, a feature of the Irish Cob may be trimmed if desired by exhibitors.

For Irish Cob riding classes, the mane, tail and leg hair can be left free and natural, or, the legs can be clipped out and manes hogged or plaited if desired.

For Irish Cob Driving Classes, the mane, tail and leg hair can be left free and natural, or, the legs can be clipped out and manes hogged or plaited if desired.

NOTE: Cob classes as distinct from Irish Cob classes are "open" Cob classes and are presently judged under the rules of the British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association.


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