Prince Philip's equestrian life

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, celebrates his 99th birthday today, June 10th 2020. You may already know that the Prince is both the longest-serving, eldest spouse of a reigning British monarch and the oldest male member of the British Royal Family... but did you know that he is equally as keen on equestrianism as the Queen and his famous granddaughter Zara Phillips?  We thought it important therefore to mark his birthday with some interesting facts about his life with horses. 

A keen sportsman - on and off the field

The Prince is a keen sportsman and was a polo player until 1971. His love for the game dates back to his service in the Royal Navy in the late 1940s. The Prince later went on to form the Household Brigade Polo Club in 1955.

The Prince’s love of equestrian sports that are visually entertaining and develop teamwork was exemplified in his development of the Pony Club Mounted Games and its trophy, The Prince Philip Cup.  Introduced in 1957, the Prince persuaded the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) director, Colonel Sir Mike Ansell, to introduce this competition based on Cavalry techniques. Every year the Prince presents his cup to the winning team at HOYS.

A love of carriage driving

Prince Philip is probably best known for his love of carriage driving and he has played a critical role in its development. In his book, 30 Years On and Off The Box Seat, the Prince describes how he became hooked on the sport after being asked to compile its rules. He borrowed five Cleveland Bays from the Royal Mews, a few harnesses and an old wooden carriage.  Early setbacks including trying to persuade a team of town-loving horses to cross water.

Sugar lumps did the trick and the Prince never looked back! In fact, he went on to represent Great Britain in three European Championships and six World Championships.

Some more reading..

Take a look at some pictures of Prince Philip carriage driving.

Find out more about the Horse of the Year Show.

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Steven Wood

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