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A Horse, of Course

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Hey, Horse Lovers! 

The scientific name for a horse is equus which is where we get the word equestrian for those who ride horses. Sporting contests go all the way back nearly three thousand years ago with a four-horse chariot race during the 25th Olympiad in Greece. The Middle Ages brought horse riding contests that focused mainly on jousting. 

It wasn’t until 1868 that equestrianism as we know it picked up popularity throughout Europe and North America with the introduction of a popular horse show in Dublin. By 1912, the Olympic Games had added the equestrian sports of show jumping, dressage, and eventing, to the line-up! 

The popularity of horseback riding blew up in the United States since horses played such an influential role in the history of the country like travel among Native Americans and settlers from hundreds of years ago, helping hands on farms, as well as beloved pets. Horses are found all the country over in various stables and homes. 

Here are a few of the most accomplished, record holding riders: 

Charlotte Dujardin
Charlotte Dujardin was born on July 13, 1985. She is a British dressage rider world-renowned for winning three Olympic gold medals, as well as setting three World Records with her horse Valegro. 

Sir Mark Todd
Sir Mark Todd (knighted in 2013) was born in New Zealand, 1956. He was voted Event Rider of the 20th Century by the International Equestrian Federation. He began winning World Championships in 1978 and has since won several prestigious competitions. 

Pippa Funnell
Pippa Funnell was born in England, 1968. She became an eventing star by taking the first-ever title of the Grand Slam of Eventing in 2003, winning Kentucky, Badminton, and Burghley. Pippa has won a number of respected titles since. 

Riding programs and summer camps have really made the equestrian sport accessible to Americans. Are you horseback riding this summer camp season? Leave a comment to let us know! Be sure to shop our horse riding accessories and, as always, thanks for reading. Happy trails! 

 

- John


Mountain Bike Mama

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Hey, Riders! 

A fantastic summer camp activity that plenty of people are very passionate about, Mountain Biking is a high-speed pursuit of adventure where the end goal is simply the journey itself in total. Riding bikes that are specially made to handle rough, off-road terrain became a popular sport just several years before 1900. Let’s take a look at a few world records in the world of Mountain Biking: 

Hot Wheels
Eric Barone who may be better known as The Red Baron is clocked at going 138 miles per hour—the fastest that anybody has ever been on a mountain bike. To be fair, his mountain bike was specifically developed for this project. But Mountain Bikes in general are meant to be made for a tougher terrain. 

Mileage
He’s going the distance! Adrian Ellul is known for achieving a distance of 359 miles on Mountain Bike within a 24 hour period—the greatest distance cycled that amount of time. Adrian, an Aussie, made his record-breaking attempt one autumn day in 2015 in McLennon Park of Queensland, Australia. 

Wheeeeeeeeelie
Nobody loves poppin’ wheelies as much as Kurt Osbourne. He rode 50 miles every day making his way from coast to coast across America, poppin’ a wheelie all the way. His total trek lasted more than 4000 miles. I don’t know that his record will ever be broken. But if you think that’s good, the highest bunny hop was 4 feet 8 inches high! 

Slackin’ Off
We can count this one as a bonus since I’m not sure that it’s a world record, but Kenny Belaey completed 60 feet across a slackline on his Mountain Bike between peaks in the French Alps at an altitude of 2,700 meters! That is one crazy record.

Do you plan on Mountain Biking during your summer camp adventure? Comment below to let people know if you’re excited for some Mountain Biking and, as always, thanks for reading, and happy camping. 

 

- John


The ImPOOLssible

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Hey, Pool Sharks!

Not the JAWS kind of shark—I’m talking about individuals who are unbeatable at the game of Billiards or Pool. We learned in a previous Blog post that, like Table Tennis, Pool originated from a popular lawn game called Billiards which was very similar to Croquet. The game was moved indoors and shrunk down to a wooden table with a green cloth to simulate the lawn.

A unique sport, Pool is great at helping us grow in terms of expanding your patience and focus and increasing your natural understanding of geometric angles, dimension, and basic laws of physics. It’s also beneficial in building up your confidence as you develop your skills of the game…making your shots feels really good. Getting better at pool will build your confidence on and off the table.

True masters at the game of Pool are capable of some stunningly impressive shots that range from awesome to unbelievable. Let’s take a look a few of the most notable pool records currently held:

Fastest in the West
Some people are more skilled than others. Any idea how long it might take you to put all the balls in the pockets? In the fall of 2002, Dave Pearson from the UK drained two consecutive tables of 15 pool balls in 1 min 22 sec.

Consistency
Some players are so good they never miss (or very rarely, anyway). Just several years back in 2019, an American pool player named John Schmidt defeated the longstanding record run of 526 balls pocketed without a miss. It belonged to one of the most famous players of all, Willie Mosconi, for the past 65 years. John Schmidt surpassed Mosconi’s record by a hundred balls exactly, setting the new record of 626 balls sank without a miss. 

The Rocketman
Though, I’m unfamiliar with the game, Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’Sullivan from England performed an astonishing game of Snooker in 1997, clearing the table in record time: 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Whether you understand the rules or not, watch this video and prepare to be astonished for the next five minutes.

If you have access to a pool table, I highly recommended trying your hand at this classic sport. Who knows?! Maybe you’ll break a record! Have a great time! As always, thanks for reading and happy camping!

 

- John


The Nine Lives of Adolphe Sax

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Hey, Horn Wailers!

A wide assortment of Horns are a fairly common category of instrument for musicians to pick up, though for the majority of their history, they were less musical and more functional—purposed as call to signal something or used in royal ceremonies. They developed as time moved on and slowly became more complex. By the 1750s, horns were starting to be used to orchestral arrangements. Read more about different kinds of horns and horn techniques from this previous Blog post.

Today we’re going to talk specifically about the saxophone and the guy who invented it! Born Antoine-Joseph Sax in 1814 (current day) Belgium, he went by Adolphe ever since he was a child. His parents were instrument-designers themselves—both of whom had made later developments to the French Horn. Of course, raised by such parents, it was only natural that Adolphe would play as well; he learned the flute and clarinet.

Adolphe didn’t just play, though. He started making his own instruments as well—and at an early age. By just 15 years old, he had entered two of his flutes and a clarinet into a competition. He went on to study flute and clarinet performance as well as voice at the Royal Conservatory of Brussel Music School. 

Before going any further, it’s interesting to note that from a young age, Adolphe escaped death a handful of times and had a few other instances that were rather unfortunate.

  • At three years old, he drank acidic water that he thought was milk.
  • He fell from three floors up and hit his head on a stone. He was believed to be dead.
  • He once swallowed a pin.
  • He got severe burns from gunpowder exploding nearby.
  • Another time burned his side when he fell onto a hot cast-iron frying pan.
  • A cobblestone once hit him in the head. He fell in a river and nearly died.
  • He survived several accounts of sleeping in a room where varnished furniture was drying.

Had he lived to see such misfortunes, but not be fortunate enough to survive them all, we would never have heard of the Saxaphone and the instrument would never have come to be as we know it.

When he finished his time at Music School, he began playing with instrument designs. Living in Paris in 1842, he began developing a bugle with valves. This was the beginning of the saxophone. Thought to be for jazz what the guitar is for rock n’ roll, the saxophone was patented in 1846. And Adolphe didn’t stop there. He also invented the saxotromba, the saxhorn, as well as the saxtuba.

Today, you may find saxhorns in concert bands, marching bands, and orchestras. The saxhorn also paved the way for the modern euphonium! Enjoy maybe a deeper appreciation for the saxophone—a superstar among horn instruments! Till next time, Folks. And, as always, thanks for reading.

 

- John


Credit to Creighton

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Hey, Hocketeers!

Little more than a year ago, I posted a very brief history of Ice Hockey. That post which focused more so on the skills we can acquire with this sport can be read when you click here. But for today, let’s take a deeper dive on the beginnings of Hockey. Who was the first person to take a long stick and small, round object out on a frozen pond or lake wearing thin strips of metal fastened to the bottom of their feet? Well, the answer isn’t quite so simple as just one person, though a man named James Creighton is often credited for the development of modern Ice Hockey.

We’ll get back to him in a few moments.

It’s believed by some scholars that hockey originated as a sport played on an unfrozen surface some 4000 years ago called Hurley. Archeological evidence points scholars to believe that minor variations of this game were played among the Ancient Aztecs, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Greeks, and Romans.

These early games continued on into the Medieval Period and spread across Europe where northern climates provided frozen ponds. Scotland called it Shinty. England called it Bandie Ball. And Ireland went with the name Hurly. They were all a little different but, essentially, the same game.  

These precursors to hockey made their way to North America by means of immigrants who journeyed to the Canadian land of Nova Scotia in the early 1800s. This game was loved in the area, but didn’t spread much until 1872 when our hero James Creighton moved from his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia and brought skates, sticks, and a basic set of rules to the much more populated mainland of Canada where it was finally dubbed Hockey. 

It didn’t take long for Creighton to organize indoor hockey practices at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal. After roughly a month of practice, the first indoor game of hockey was played on March 3, 1875. The game featured nine players from each team, including Creighton and his fellow class mates from McGill University. Folks typically played with a ball or often the stopper from a whiskey barrel.

To bring officiality to this spreading sport, Creighton presented the teams with a flat, circular piece of wood that he’d cut. It was the very first hockey puck. They’re made of vulcanized rubber nowadays, but the right cut of wood made for a great and unique component to the game of hockey.

Get out on the ice if you’re a hockey fanatic and enjoy getting some great shots past a goalie. As always, thanks for reading!

 

- John