Irish Cobs are wonderful horses. They were originally used to pull the wagons or vardas used by the gypsies or travelers that roamed Ireland. They needed to be strong enough to work all day pulling a wagon but they also needed to be handy enough to ride. One of the other requirements was they needed to be docile enough that they would not hurt small children and other animals that would be around them at the camps. Thus the horse that we have today.
Cobs are great first horses because they are gentle and they come in all sizes from short to tall to fit children and adults. They are easy to work with and like to be around people. They are gorgeous to look at, but are versatile enough that they can do well in any discipline you put them in. Many people think they are just for show or can only hack or do trail riding. This is not the case. They love to learn and please and if given the chance will do well with whatever you want to teach them and look absolutely gorgeous doing it. They have been shown to do well in show jumping, dressage, vaulting and many other disciplines and mine are doing well in western activities.
I do not find that they are any harder to keep looking good than my Quarter Horses. Most of them love to be groomed almost as if they know how beautiful they will be when they are done. Even if you are not using them everyday a quick brush through of mane, tail and feathers every other day or so keeps them tangle free and looking good.