Wonderful memories and sadness too. Sportsman and consort WPEC member Driving Official Major Martin Dodd
H.R.H Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh was a war veteran from an extraordinary generation. I felt then sadness on learning of his passing. It bought memories of my own father who had fought in the war at Dunkirk and was wounded in North Africa losing a leg. Growing up in Windsor, his grandfather ran a farriers in Peascod Street and 'did all the King's horses' shoes' as my Aunt would retell and of how Granny Sowden pictured in The Windsor Museum had received a piece of coal from Queen Mary, Christmas 1920, as it was tradition for the queen to give to the poor of Windsor at Christmas. My parents had a long and happy marriage and they would take my sisters and I to The Long Walk every Sunday. We always parked in the same place along by the Princess Margaret Hospital. We often saw a member of the Royal Family sweep by up to Home Park, and they would wave, as we waved back with our corgi, Monty. Going to see the Queen light the first beacon for the Silver Jubilee beyond The Copper Horse was an evening I remember vividly when I was young, as she gave me the most beautiful smile.
Reading some of the many tributes in honour of the Duke, it shows how much he influenced people by his standards and endearing actions and how he brings out the good in everyone.
God Bless Prince Philip and may God comfort our Queen Elizabeth and her family.
I joined the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at school. What I learned during that time shaped who I was, the profession I went into and gave me the confidence and independence to be what I wanted to be. As a horsewoman now of 42 years and as that 16 year old girl that had no direction or inkling with what to do with my life will forever be grateful for that opportunity.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh you leave a great legacy in the horse world and DOE award scheme that will never be forgotten and will live on in our future generations. God bless and thank you for giving so much to so many. RIP
An Expatriate’s Remembrance
I don't remember how many times I've told this story, and an article in the April 28, 2021, issue of Country Life prompted me to write.
In the 1980s, my family and I were American expatriates living in Virginia Water, in Surrey. Our home was very near Virginia Water Lake, and I would often take our yellow lab for long walks around the lake, and a swim (my dog not me) while chasing a thrown stick! One day on our walk, I heard a sort of jingle jingle sound coming in our direction, and, assuming some sort of a vehicle was approaching, I pulled Abbey off to the side of the dirt road. In a short minute, four horses came down the road pulling a four-wheeled carriage. The driver was sitting, and a second man was standing behind him, and appeared to be coaching the driver. As the carriage passed me by, the driver tipped his flat cap as a greeting, and I said "Hello." Of course, it was Prince Philip practicing his skills in advance of an upcoming event! A very special memory for me.
But there's more. A week later my wife and Abbey were taking another walk around Virginia Water Lake. Hearing the same jingle jingle coming toward her, my wife pulled Abbey off the road, only to have Prince Philip drive past her, with a tip of his hat to say "Hello."
Robert R. Dryden
Newport Beach, California
Remembering His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. A unique and honorable man who shared his life and adventures with the world. A true friend of the United States. He is greatly missed.
Carriage driving won't be the same without him. He bought it into the spotlight and let's hope it still stays there as part of his legacy.
Fond memories from a horse show official: After other previous driving trials, judging the Duke of Edinburgh at his very last competition - the Alnwick Castle Horse Driving Trials in August of 2006 with his pony four-in-hand. The weather was bad on cones day. The wind blew down our electronic timing eye, so I was running the timer by hand. Prince Philip was in second place, so second last to drive. He had one ball down, but to my delight just made the time allowed by a fraction of a second. The next competitor also had one ball down, and just went over the time allowed also by just a hair. The previous two competitors had more faults, so Prince Philip won the cones, the last competition in his long and successful driving career. What a great way to finish.
Three years later I was the field judge on marathon day at the Hopetoun Driving Trial and sprang into action when I saw two tandems approaching the same obstacle. I was ready to stop one of them - until I realized, one was an actual competitor, whereas the other tandem was the Duke of Edinburgh driving his tandem and rushing to the obstacle as a spectator to watch his former fellow competitor. On his home grounds he was not restricted to stay behind the spectators barriers.
Also the same year judging at the Ashfield Driving Trials, I saw Prince Philip sitting next to an obstacle running the stop watch just as any other volunteer. So humble and still with the sport which he helped to create 40 years earlier. What a wonderful and great man!
One of my heroes passed away in April of this year at age 99 – HRH Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He wasn’t my hero because he was a prince or the husband and consort of his queen. He began as my childhood hero because he was a prominent wildlife conservationist, and clearly cared about wildlife and the environment, which has meant everything to me my entire life.
He was also a horseman, another of my loves, and in particular he and I, though strangers to each other, shared a mutual love of two rare horse breeds that I became heavily involved in as an adult – Fell Ponies and Caspian Horses.
It is hard to think of the horse world without HRH Prince Philip. As it relates to horses, he was instrumental. He was an avid polo player in his youth. He was the creator of pony mounted games that became team competitions around the world for youth on ponies. He was the primary force in putting competitive driving “on the map” as a sport and enjoyed it as a participant with his Cleveland Bay 4-in-hand team (and his partbred team) and later with his 4-in-hand Fell Pony team. He continued to drive his Fell Pony team even as late as age 98. Remarkable!
Prince Philip indirectly inspired me to found an equine conservation charity in 2004 - the Equus Survival Trust, a USA based nonprofit dedicated to protecting and promoting historic endangered equines around the world.
Both the Cleveland Bay Horse and the Fell Pony are breeds on the Equus Survival Trusts endangered list, as are a number of other historic British Breeds. HRH was able to bring much needed attention to the conservation efforts of both the Cleveland Bay and Fell Pony breeds because of his driving competitions. He was also incredibly instrumental in bringing the first breeding stock for Caspian Horses out of Iran, putting Caspians in the public eye for the first time in modern history, when the world beyond had thought this Persian breed long extinct.
What can one say about a man who had the foresight while visiting Iran in 1972 to bring Caspian Horses to the outside world and start a breeding program? Had it not been for Prince Philip visiting Iran when he did and meeting Louise Firouz, an American woman living in Iran and breeding Caspians and worrying about their future, the status of today’s Caspian Horse might have remained in obscurity or worse.
Bringing attention to this critically endangered ancient breed as he did allowed for several exportations of Caspian Horses from Iran, resulting in 9 stallions and 17 mares that became the seed stock sent to the UK responsible for all of today’s purebred population outside Iran. This seed stock slowly increased over the years and today’s population totals around 1100. Caspians are now found in the UK, Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and the strongest hold is in North America. As a result, the Caspian Horse Registry (USA) now tracks Caspians in Canada, Mexico, and the USA, and while the gene pool is small, the breed enjoys genetic health and diversity. It all traces back to the visionary “conservationist” - the man and his love of horses.
Prince Phillip also inspired the 2004 founding of The Fell Pony Society & Conservancy of the Americas (a UK approved Fell Pony Society Overseas Branch). The Fell Conservancy has watched the Fell Pony population grow in North America from 20 ponies in the 1990’s to over 600 living today, based upon roughly 150 imported ponies from England over a 10 year period. Throughout the years from across the pond, at every opportunity we in North America followed & cheered HRH driving his 4-in-hand Fell Ponies.
These three organizations, the Equus Survival Trust, The Fell Pony Society & Conservancy of the Americas, and Caspian Registry Services work hard at educating the public, and promoting and preserving the endangered breeds they serve, breeds that HRH Prince Philip and HM the Queen respected and loved.
Prince Philip’s list of accomplishments and the things he affected for the good of this world is immeasurable. Though I never met him, he was my hero.
Thank you sir, for having had the vision and depth of passion to do all that you did in the service of your Queen, your country, and for the world.
Rest in peace dear man. I wish you green pastures with lots of horses, and places of beauty teaming with the natural world you so loved and defended, while you wait to be reunited with the love of your life whom you adored and served so faithfully for more than seven decades of your life. We are forever in your debt.
A man with a rich and wonderful life. The much loved husband of our Queen and their family. Rest in peace.
A true gentleman who set the standard that we should all attempt to live our lives by. He will be sadly missed.
As a family, on many occasions we watched HRH The Duke of Edinburgh enjoy his various equestrian pursuits, from polo at Cowdray Park in the 1960's to Carriage Driving later at Windsor and elsewhere.
I attach a photo showing HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Section B Welsh Pony Ansty Conqueror (here being driven but also ridden in Pony Club Prince Philip Cup and Polo Teams) and Jacqui Grossart. HRH had been watching the polo and he wandered over to watch the carriage driving and talk to Jacqui.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and his wife HRM Queen Elizabeth ll both played a very important role in promoting our beloved Fell ponies.
On behalf of the NFPS, daughter society of the Fell Pony Society, our sincerest condolences.
Forever grateful for the opportunity given to my daughter Anna Meadows to ride on the Pony Club England Mounted Games Team in 2012, with our beloved homebred Fell Pony Aylestone The Merrie Monk. All thanks to HRH Prince Philip. Thank you for the memories.
Thank you Sir, for creating such a wonderful sport that has enriched the lives of myself and so many other friends and acquaintances. Windsor Park has been and will continue to be a very special place and a privilege for me to drive around . You have made us all chuckle many times with your open humour and you will be so greatly missed. Your inspiration will continue in existing and new carriage drivers for many years to come. RIP.
As Chairman of Windsor Park Equestrian Club I worked closely with our President and founder for many years. He was immensely knowledgeable of the sport of carriage driving and contributed a lot to the Club. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary so we mourn his loss.
I treasure many wonderful and inspiring memories of one of the most accomplished and important people in history. Leaving aside all his other achievements, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh had a profound and hugely beneficial impact on the horse world. He leaves an immense gap and a lasting legacy, not least in terms of his admirable attitude to life, his great wit, and his kindness to others.
Prince Philip had an enormous impact on the lives of everyone involved in all aspects of Horse Driving Trials. From his involvement in its evolution and development to his participation with his horses and latterly the Balmoral Fell ponies, he influenced the sport and inspired so many of its participants from all walks of life with the common ground a shared passion for horses. Through sportsmanship, horsemanship and experiences shared, knowledge gained and passed on, lifelong friendships have been forged. All of it will be cherished. Sir, you will be greatly missed by everyone in British Carriagedriving.
He was always kind and generous with his time.
As a beginner a good few years ago he was the only spectator, in pouring rain, to stand by the dressage arena throughout the novice class at a driving trials in Scotland.
Each novice was afforded a round of applause!
He will be sadly missed
I have only been part of the equestrian world as a spectator, but have attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show for well over 30 years.
The Duke of Edinburgh was a part of my life for almost 40 years as I photographed him, along with Her Majesty the Queen, both throughout the UK and abroad.
Having observed him carrying out hundreds of official engagements it was interesting to have rare opportunities to see him off duty. The RWHS was a wonderful place to see the "real" Duke, and I have enjoyed spending time watching him carriage driving both competitively and for leisure. This sparked a particular interest in the obstacle driving for me, and I have spent many happy Sunday mornings at the show over the years watching this. The Duke's obvious passion for this sport finally involved him in judging too, putting in the hours on various obstacles on the marathon course, complete with his packed lunch.
Leading the beautiful parade of carriages out of the collecting ring for the drive through the park His Royal Highness always looked so much more at ease than the other drivers in their finery - I suppose he was in his own back garden - with his less elaborate carriage, but perfectly turned out, in pride of place at the front. He must have been so proud to see his youngest granddaughter finally taking his place there.
I always enjoyed seeing Prince Philip's enthusiastic support of his Pony Club games from the royal box, and the way in which the young riders proudly lined up in the arena to meet him as he presented the prizes on the final afternoon of the show.
I was greatly impressed by his support for the disabled carriage driving classes that he watched from start to finish, and will never forget the sight of him one afternoon, probably well into his nineties, standing in driving rain watching the class to the bitter end and then handing out the rosettes - he must have been soaked to the skin, I know that I was. But that was the essence of this amazing man, he would always see something through once he had started it.
In this world of horses everyone knew the Duke, and he was an invaluable part of the show in so many ways.
Years ago, when the main showground was still across the road from the castle, I watched the carriages form up inside the private park one Friday afternoon, as did both the Queen and the Duke, and afterwards took one of my very favourite photos of them as they walked back towards the castle together in the late afternoon sunshine, chatting happily as if there was nobody else in the world but them. On that day I remember thinking how very lucky I was, and the country was, to have these two people to look up to as figureheads - and how well they worked as a team both on and off duty.
It is hard to imagine the Horse Show without Prince Philip and I am grateful for all that he contributed to it and to the equestrian world in general in the UK. I know that I am not the only person to have learned far more than I ever realised about this world because of him.
And for me, having moved to New Zealand in July 2019, it is fitting, after so many thousands of photos, that the last one that I took of The Duke of Edinburgh was at the Pageant on 11th May that year. It might not be my best picture taken of him but it is a very poignant memory now.
Thank you Sir - we will miss you - RIP
We were so saddened to hear of the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. We will always remember him for his service to the UK and the Commonwealth and his unwavering strength and support to the Queen.
Our heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family.
Real Gentleman who treated everyone equal. My main memory is of the Duke wishing me well when starting Marathon at Hopetoun.
I want to thank you for your visionary contribution to our amazing sport of horse driving trials. It is because of your compassion and commitment to our sport that so many of us are able to enjoy it today. I love our sport and have built my business teaching others to love it too. It is so accessible to everyone; age is no barrier to competing as you expertly demonstrated. Thank you for making it possible for us to compete at so many wonderful venues, including royal estates.
I have been fortunate enough to compete at RWHS for many years representing Team GB in the pony four in hand class. I was privileged to compete alongside you here at Windsor. I always felt a sense of pride knowing that, even when you stopped competing, you still came along to watch us in all three phases of the competition. Highlights of my driving career have been the champagne drinks receptions here when you came along to talk to us and presented us with our rosettes as well as going in the main arena.
Driving is my passion and inspiration, my heart and soul and it has taken me to so many wonderful places where I have made lifelong friends. I remember fondly my time working for Peter Munt, at Sunninghill Park, when you use to come over for a cup of tea and you and Peter would chat for ages about the horses. Those early days were some of the best and it is certainly where the spark in me to carriage drive was ignited. Thank you for all that you have done to contribute to our amazing sport.
Rest in Peace Your Royal Highness
To the Father of Modern Driving Trials
In the early 1980s, my Mum decided to have a go at the relatively new sport of driving trials. With my childhood pony and an old Governess Cart, we gamely set off to our first event at Windsor Park!
Finding ourselves in a fiendishly complicated obstacle, Mum confused her left from right. In a spontaneous but completely illegal move, that thankfully wasn't spotted by the judge, I grabbed the left rein and spun my pony through the correct gate and out of the obstacle.
As we passed through the exit flags, a rather amused voice called out 'well navigated!' It was Prince Phillip, who happened to be walking the course himself as a fellow competitor! In that instant, I became a fan, both of his and of the sport he helped to create. Where else can an ordinary kid compete against Royalty? Where can professionals and amateurs; women and men; octogenarians and teenagers, all compete on an equal footing?
This wonderful man, inspired me aged 13 and continues to inspire me 40 years later. After a lifetime of riding, I have now bought my first driving horse and I hope to be competing well into old age as did he.
Here is my tribute photo taken on the day of his funeral. Thank you Sir and may you rest in peace, never to be forgotten. You touched the lives of so many people across the globe over the last century, one of whom, is me.
Alison & Dylan
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Sir, thank you for the wonderful memories that have enriched my life. I will always admire your pin sharp memory and wonderful sense of humour!!
You were a great competitor, trying to beat you made me a better driver!
The sport of carriage driving will be eternally grateful for your involvement, you will be truly missed.
Once again Thank you Sir.
HRH , The Duke of Edinburgh wore his passion for horses and sport on his sleeve and it was a joy to know and ruefully smile that high rank does not alter the naked enduring deeply frustrating and rewarding desire to master your communication with sentient beings who do not instinctively want to do nor go where you ask them to in the way and at the pace you request!
HRH was a pleasure ( slightly scary) to be around when competing in driving trials - but the thank you is 100% as without his determination that no job was too difficult if you apply yourself, we have a sport and a presence that show cases the deep connection us fortunate 'horsey' humans have with our equine partners.
May the 'after life' bring you complete understanding and acceptance of all human frailty and may you remain in equilibrium for eternity.