Normandy cobs / Normandy Driving & Riding - Anyone know these?

jkitten

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Okay I swear this is my last thread for a while, but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on Normandy cobs, or any experience of these breeders in particular? https://normandycobs.com/

For someone like me who would be looking for a calm, willing teenaged endurance hacker, and in addition needs a weight-carrier (I am 12st at the moment, at my best I am no lower than 11, and and in 'bad years' tend to go up closer to 13. I try not to of course, but being realistic, the last thing I would want is to have to stop my favourite form of exercise for fear of hurting the horse!), they sound absolutely ideal. What should I know which isn't on the website?

(Just to be clear, I wouldn't exclude other options, but I want to know whether they should be added to the 'potential options' list. I know some people are going to find them overpriced, but if they do what it says on the tin, I would happily pay that and more. I'm more concerned to know any pitfalls which are known to come with these horses, or with buying an older horse from a breeder-trainer combo, as well as any actual experiences with that particular breeder-trainer.)
 

Keith_Beef

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There used to be one in the school, a gelding named Typhon. He was a bit lazy and stubborn when he arrived, and quite unfit after being in pasture for about five months.

He stayed for a little under two years, I think, because there were only three of us who could get him moving. On the other hand, I was told that out hacking he had no brakes; he went out once with a very experienced rider, and she had trouble slowing him down. When he first arrived, he would get a bit out of breath after carrying me for four circuits of the arena (55m × 40m), and at the time I weight 95kg (15st). After a couple of months he was fit, though, and could do that with no problems.

He didn't like to lift up his feet to be picked out. In fact, he didn't like to lift his feet off the ground much when he was inside; he would shuffle around and push all his straw bedding up against the walls and stand on bare concrete. He smashed the cement corner feed trough and his autodrinker, and knocked a hole in the wall by kicking... so in the end the director decided to sell him on (for €2000).

I wasn't on the yard on the day when a buyer came with a trailer to collect him, but I'm told that he gave up after spending five hours trying to load him...

Of course, this is just one horse; I'm sure that other horses of the same breed will be completely different, and other than his little foibles I found him to be a nice ride. If I'd had the money for his upkeep, I would have bought him and I think that I could have sorted him out in a year or two.
 

poiuytrewq

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I believe the two I know are from the place you have linked. They speak incredibly highly of them. They actually went and stayed there for a day/few days before purchasing both so the breeder could get to know them.
 

poiuytrewq

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Sorry I should have done all this as one reply! At your weight I wonder if one might be a slight overkill? Your not hugely heavy, as in a smaller cob type would be fine. How tall are you?
Im just not used to bigger horses and cringe as the mess these two make, when I turn them out and they tear round the field they cause so much more ground damage than my little horses 😂
 

jkitten

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Thank you both!

@poiuytrewq you're right, the size is the one thing that puts me off at this stage. I'm 5'4/5'5, and while I don't mind size and I do like a solidly built horse, I'm a bit worried about being absolutely dwarfed. On the other hand, if they are as great as they say it's a compromise I'd be willing to make, and on the smaller end they are 15.3h.
 

poiuytrewq

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I work with TB’s so am just not used to them I guess 😂
I’m sure the owners I know would happily have a chat to you if you’d like. I don’t think they are on HHO but could put you in touch
 

onlytheponely

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I had a Cob Normande mare here for 6 months a couple of years ago, she needed regular work to keep her manners in control or she would get really bargy in hand and would break clean through fences. She would get through a round bale of hay (mine are 450-500 kilos) per week during the Winter, she wasn't fat she just weighed around 700 kilos. The farriers over here, I'm in France, use a special hoof cradle for the heavy breeds as they find holding their feet up for any length of time difficult.

If you have any sort of hip or pelvis problems I would steer clear as riding horses as wide as these daily will likely cause you constant problems. The nicer examples sell for 2000-2500 euros in my area.
 

SEL

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They do have PSSM in the breed so make sure the breeders tests before you buy.

I've just hopped over to that website and their heavyweight looks very similar to my Ardennes. Put a lot of money to one side for hay in winter and get a sympathetic farrier on board!
 

joelb

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I have one, had her 11 years and she is my horse of a lifetime mainly because she's always great fun to be around (rather than any athletic achievement). Mine is hyper intelligent and not for the faint hearted.

If you're on Facebook there is a UK owners group, Norman (Normandy) Cob (cob normand) group UK, if you're serious chatting to owners on there would give you an idea about the breed. Mine wasn't but many in the group are Jouvin sourced.
 

jkitten

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Thanks Orangehorse, like I said I am just thinking about future possibilities. When (if!) I get to that point, I will definitely be looking at all available options. :)
 

joelb

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Thank you all for the comments so far!

@joelb can I ask what you mean by 'not for the faint hearted'?

I applied to join that FB group earlier today, hopefully they will accept me soon! :)
Well, mine can be bolshy on the ground and to ride is agile despite being built like a tank, combined with being very reactive she has never been a novice ride although oddly she is trustworthy. Brakes are sparse, as is patience, she will capriole for fun when asked to wait too long for traffic etc. Opinionated, mareish, separation anxiety, hates schooling, uses her intelligence against you. Cheap to feed as she gets fat on thin air so weight is a constant battle. Having said all that she is amazing fun, bright, loving, up for anything, goes all day over any terrain, never sick or sorry and I would ride her over my mannerly RID any day. My only regret is that she was rising 4 and unhandled when I had her so her poor behaviours, whilst much improved, stem from lack of formative training.
 

sbloom

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I saddle fit for a couple, the owners have two sets of two, one lightweight and more elegant, and they implied to me that there are two distinct types, but I may have got that wrong. I fit the wider two, and did a third before they sadle lost him, the two mares are very wide, XXW-XXXW and need a very flat seat, and don't have long backs (16hh ish and short footprint 17" saddles, but wide and flat trees so take a bigger rider). The gelding was about XW which most people can cope with, and had more wither, so also had a slightly deeper seat, and a fraction more length, though still a 17".
 

J&S

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The RDA group I was with pre Covid (retired now) has a Normandy Cob. She is elderly but still does a wonderful job for them. She had been a show cob previously and is very well schooled and well mannered, I never experienced her being pushy or bolshy in any way.
She is big though! At 5 ft 4 and even at 13 stone you could do with a smaller horse. She carries all the heavier riders including a totally blind rider.
 
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I share a Normandy and he is completely wonderful. I'm a *ahem* larger lady and he is absolutely perfect.

Be aware though, that they're a very large horse in a compact frame. My lad Raff is only about 15'2, but he weighs about 800kg and isnt fat. Sometimes it seems like he has no idea at all how big he is.....other times he'll use it against you.

Everything about him is solid, he can be rude and bargy, but quickly remembers when hes told off.

Hes jealous but incredibly loving, he adores my two children.

To ride, hes like a rocking horse, very comfortable. Not a lot of turning circle....but he tries hard.

We had our first canter out-out the other day and it felt like a war charge....the weight of him and the power behind it was like nothing if encountered riding daintier (for want of a better word) breeds.

Everything ends up very expensive though, as very few rugs etc fit and you quite often end up going through special companies which hike the price up.

I'd never heard of them until Raff, but given the chance I'd buy one of my own....if I couldnt buy him.

I honestly love him 🥰

I have always thought that comtois are stunning, but never had a chance to really spend much time around them 20200926_080747.jpg
 
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