December 7, 2011

Cobs Chose Me

I've always said the Welsh Cob breed chose me, instead of the other way around, and as I look back on the story of how I met them, it seems more true than ever.

I still remember that mid-fall morning, when I was sitting in the comfortable, yet strangely formal-feeling chair in the corner of Dr. Marks' office, when she asked if I'd be interested in working with her young Welsh Cob, Shae, in Training and Handling II, which is a very advanced class that takes young horses in to be broken for outside clients.  We all had never met the pony, but we half-jokingly described him as her "black stallion", her dream horse for which she'd waited her whole life.

My response was something like, "No way, I am not ready for that."

Baby Shae, when he really was a baby.
But she protested, and finally said something like, "He's young, a bit younger than I'd like to start mine, but you weigh so little that it won't really be a problem.  Besides, I picked you because you have to have a sense of humor to work with a Welsh Cob, and you'll be a good fit.  Why don't you do it?"

It was a cold March day several months later when she swung open the back door of her horse trailer outside the old barn and I first laid eyes on a Cob.  I hadn't done much breed research before seeing him, thinking my experience with Section B's meant I was prepared for a "Welsh", and I was surprised to see the hairy little creature standing there.  My first words were, "He's so...stocky.  Look at that bone, those straight legs!"  Dr. Marks, who could find fault with every horse on the planet and wanted her students taught to do the same, murmured some obligatory comment about his foreleg conformation, but you could tell she was smitten with him.

I really wasn't ready to break a horse, but with Sara's close supervision, I managed to turn out a pony that could walk, trot and canter and move off of your leg as well as could be expected in 30 days.  But it was the connection to Lisa, and the introduction to the rest of her Cobs, that meant so much more.  I found myself on a path that would lead to opportunities I never thought I'd get, friends I never knew I'd make, and a pony I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined owning.

I swear, they chose me.

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