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The Carriage Commentator




The driving world has lost one of it's largest characters in Yogi Howe. We shall miss his knowledge, enthusiasm, dedication, photos and humour. Liz Harcombe remembers her old friend - November 2023

RIP dear John ‘Yogi’ Howe. The carriage driving world has lost a true coachman and a fount of knowledge and positive wisdom.

Our 40 year friendship began in the early 1980’s when Yogi was a corporal in the Household Cavalry. The army boys, working for Major Hywell Davies, would convince me to plait up manes for them and in return, they would teach me how to shine leather the cavalry way. Yogi’s knowledge of horses and carriages was often shared and the camp always had an air of friendship and fun around it. The infamous driving trials parties would often see Yogi on the dance floor and many of us would be commandeered to help out at his base, the Combermere Barracks open days in Windsor when all hands on deck were needed. My abiding memory is the sense of fun and common sense that Yogi shared around him with all the lads willingly partaking.

It was always clear that Yogi had many friends thanks to his happy and positive disposition. In latter years, after ill health forced him to give up driving horses, he could be seen at the ringside with his camera and he regularly posted on Facebook, high quality pictures celebrating all forms of driving. It was always an honour to have one of his pictures posted somehow catching me looking like I could drive. His pride in his eldest daughter Phillipa driving at top level was clear and he would regularly blog her progress. Yogi embraced technology wherever he could so that he could stay in touch with all his carriage driving friends around the world. 

During lockdown, Yogi kindly got in touch on hearing of the loss of my partner and he suggested learning to ‘Zoom’ so that people could stay connected. This developed into a regular monthly Zoom meeting, sometimes with expert guests, where Yogi connected many of us across the world. Thanks to Yogi, I was introduced to members of the Carriage Driving Association of America and we shared stories and knowledge about coaching and driving trials.  What fun we had chatting about our favourite thing: Carriage Driving and all its people. I will miss our chats and reminiscing over it all and now rather wish I had recorded those meetings. Allen Tucci and I have already vowed to continue Yogi’s legacy of communication. As Allen has said, ‘the honour that we do him is to continue to build on those introductions and friendships to give him an everlasting smile.’

Much love to all his family at this time. We have lost a very friendly, funny and kind man. He leaves us with many memories and his vast knowledge and horsey wisdom.