Page 106 - The Hunt - Spring/Summer 2023
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Steeplechase was born in 1752, when Cornelius O’Callaghan wagered Edmund Blake that his horse could gallop the fastest over the four miles of hills, hedges and streams between the steeples of Buttevant Church and St. Leger Church in Doneraile, Ireland. Since then, learning the lingo has always been part of the fun.
APPRENTICE. A jockey without a lot of experience. The National Steeplechase Association gives riders who haven’t won a race a 10-pound weight break. If the jockey has won fewer than 10 races, it’s five pounds.
BLINKERS. A cloth hood with eye shades that limits a horse’s field of vision so he can’t be distracted during a race.
FURLONG. One eighth of a mile, the standard measure in U.S. racing.
GELDING. A male horse that’s been castrated, usually to make him easier to train.
HANDICAP. The weight horses are assigned to carry, based on their abilities and past performances. The better the horse, the higher the weight.
IRONS. Stirrups.
MAIDEN. A horse that’s never won a race. In steeplechasing, a horse who’s won on the flat—a racetrack—is still a steeplechase maiden.
MEETING. A slate of races.
NATIONAL FENCE. This portable manmade fence got its name from the National Steeplechase Association, which developed the structure. Standing 52 inches high, it consists of a steel frame stuffed with plastic brush.
The official governing body for steeplechase competitions in the United States, based in Fair Hill, Maryland.
NOVICE. A horse in the early stages of
its steeplechase career. Novice races give horses experience over obstacles before they compete with more seasoned jumpers.
PADDOCK. The area where horses are saddled before a race. It’s also a great place for spectators to size up the horseflesh. Paddock time is the appointed time for horses to be in the paddock.
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