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ASTLEY (Philip). Astley's System of Equestrian Education, Exhibiting the Beauties and Defects of the Horse; with Serious and Important Observations on his General Excellence, Preserving him in Heath, Grooming, &c.1802

Dublin: Printed and Published by Thomas Burnside, Eighth edition, 8vo (205 x 120 mm), xvi, 197, [1]pp., frontispiece silhouette portrait of Astley and 9 engraved plates, in an elegant twentieth century half green morocco binding by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, spine lightly faded, spine lettered in gilt direct, t.e.g. Philip Astley (1742-1814), equestrian performer and circus proprietor. As well as being considered the creator of the modern circus (Astley's Amphitheatre), Astley also had a very successful career in the Army. At the age of 17 he enrolled in the 15th Light Dragons, a cavalry regiment newly formed by Colonel Granville Elliott. A gifted equestrian, he was put in charge of breaking new horses for his regiment. In 1761, Astley and his regiment embarked for the Continent to fight alongside King Frederick II of Prussia in the Seven Years' War, he returned to England in 1766 with the rank of Sergeant Major and obtained his discharge on June 21st of that year. When the war between the United Kingdom and revolutionary France broke out in 1793, Astley, who was then 51, re-enlisted in the 15th Light Dragons, "acting as a horse-master, celebrity morale-booster and war correspondent in one."

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