noun \-ˌchās\

: a race in which people riding horses jump over fences, water, etc.

: a race in which runners jump over fences and water

Full Definition of STEEPLECHASE

a :  a horse race across country
b :  a horse race over a closed course with obstacles (as hedges and walls)
:  a footrace of usually 3000 meters over hurdles and a water jump
stee·ple·chas·er \-ˌchā-sər\ noun
stee·ple·chas·ing \-siŋ\ noun


from the use of church steeples as landmarks to guide the riders
First Known Use: 1793


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Either of two distinct sporting events: (1) a horse race over a closed course with obstacles, including hedges and walls; or (2) a footrace of 3,000 m over hurdles and a water jump. The name derives from impromptu races by fox hunters in 18th-century Ireland over natural country in which church steeples served as course landmarks. Equestrian steeplechase is popular in England, France, and Ireland, and to a lesser extent in the U.S. The most famous equestrian steeplechase is the Grand National. Track-and-field steeplechase dates back to a cross-country race at the University of Oxford in 1850. The course and distance were standardized at the 1920 Olympic Games.


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