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Military Equitation : or, A Method of Breaking Horses, and Teaching Soldiers to Ride, Designed for the Use of the Army, by Henry, Earl of Pembroke

Book #85: Military equitation : or, A method of breaking horses, and teaching soldiers to ride, designed for the use of the army, by Henry, Earl of Pembroke (1793).

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the author of this work, Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke (1734 – 1794), was an English aristocrat and army officer. He served twice as Lord of the Bedchamber to George III, a highly coveted position in the English court. Evidently his first tenure as Lord of the Bedchamber ended in scandal in 1762 when he eloped with his wife, the daughter of a Member of Parliament. He regained favour with the court eventually and resumed his role as lord of the bedchamber in 1769.
Pembroke was keenly interested in horses from a young age and was first appointed an officer to the cavalry in the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards in 1752. He rapidly advanced through the military and was appointed colonel of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons in 1764 and was given several other military appointments throughout his life.

Pembroke first published Military Equitation in 1761 under the title A Method of Breaking Horses. The text begins with a dedication to George III and an explanation that his objective for the work was to provide a source of lessons and instruction for the handling of horses in the military, specifically in the cavalry.

Military Equitation is a relatively short work and covers such topics as riding techniques and the ways in which especially new members of the cavalry (including those inexperienced with horses) should approach and learn to ride horses. Training horses for the battlefield is also covered in the text and includes discussions of training horses to deal with noise such as guns and canon fire, as well as training horses to work in tandem with one another and managing potential aggressiveness between them. Finally, Pembroke provides a number of observations and advice about shoeing horses, feeding, and other general health management issues.

For more biographical information on Pembroke, see his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography:
J.E.O. Screen. “Herbert, Henry, tenth earl of Pembroke and seventh earl of Montgomery.” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 23 September 2004.

Explore a 1793 edition of this work here.