A Glossary of
words and terms used
A Steeplechase Glossary
Many folks are not quite sure what all the terms mean in Steeplechase.
Knowing these terms will help you understand and follow
Allowance: A race restricted to horses with certain records.
Example: A "non-winners of two" allowance is open only to horses
with one victory or less.
Apprentice: A relatively inexperienced jockey. The National
Steeplechase Association gives apprentice jockeys the following
weight allowances (deductions): Non-winners of one race, 10
pounds; non-winners of five races, seven pounds; non-winners of
10 races, five pounds. Riders must be at least 16 years old
before obtaining a license.
Claiming: Certain races are designated as claiming races, where a
horse may be purchased, or claimed. The claim is made and money
put up before the race is run, and the purchase must go through,
no matter where the horse finishes.
Furlong: The standard measure in U.S. racing. One furlong equals
one eighth of a mile.
Handicap: A race in which the horses are assigned different
amounts of weight to carry, according to their respective
abilities and past performances. In theory, the purpose is to
have all horses reach the finish line at the same time.
Maiden: A horse that has never won a race. National Fence: A
synthetic steeplechase fence used at most stops in the U.S.
Consists of a steel frame stuffed with plastic "brush" and
standing 54 inches high. A foam-rubber roll, covered with green
canvas, is placed on the takeoff side. Horses jump the fence in
stride, much like human hurdlers in track and field events.
Novice: A horse in the early stages of its steeplechase career.
Novice races are held at many meets, to give horses experience
over hurdles before they compete with more-seasoned jumpers.
National Steeplechase Association: The NSA, founded in 1895, is
the governing body for steeplechase racing in the United States.
Based in Fair Hill, MD, the NSA sanctions, takes entries,
approves officials, and inspects courses. The NSA licenses all
participants and keeps official statistics.
Paddock: Area where horses are saddled before a race.
Purse: Total money distributed in a race. Winner usually collects
60 percent of total purse, with shares paid to fifth place.
Stakes: An open race which any horse can enter. Usually attracts
most-talented horses. NSA requires purse of at least $25,000.
Stewards: Presiding judges or officials at a race meet. They have
final decision on all matters pertaining to a race. They may levy
fines on owners, trainers, or jockeys who violate the rules of
racing. Typical rulings include disqualification of horses who
interfere with others in a race. Each race meet has three
Timber fence: Natural, wooden fence constructed of boards, logs
or posts and rails. Timber races are held as part of many race
Wings: The panels on either side of a steeplechase fence which
are designed to guide a horse to a fence.
Plush Stuffed Horses