ALLOWANCE: Race condition in which horses with less successful records are allowed to race with lighter weight. In addition, there is nearly always a weight allowance for female horses and for apprentice (relatively new) jockeys.
APPRENTICE: A relatively new jockey. Under the rules of the National Steeplechase Association, apprentice riders are permitted the following weight allowances (deductions): Non-winners of one race allowed 10 pounds; non-winners of five races allowed seven pounds; non-winners of ten races allowed five pounds. All riders must be at least 16-years-old before obtaining a license.
CHAIRMAN OF THE RACE COMMITTEE: The individual responsible for all aspects of putting on the race, including selecting all the other officials.
CLAIMER: In certain races designated as claiming races, a horse may be purchased, or claimed, by another person. The claim is made and the money put up before the race is run, and the purchase must go through, no matter where the horse finishes in the race. The claiming prices ensure that the horses in a race are of comparable value, and therefore of comparable ability.
CLERK OF COURSE: The individual responsible for the condition and safety of the course. This is a year-round job.
CLERK OF SCALES: Weighs all riders out to race and in from racing. Notes any change of the rider, overweight, and equipment carried.
FLAT RACE: Designation for races that are not run over obstacles. Many steeplechase trainers use flat races as a tune-up for a horse who is coming off a long layoff or needs some seasoning prior to a major steeplechase race.
FURLONG: The standard measure in U.S. racing, it equals one-eighth of a mile.
HANDICAP: A race in which 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 finish in a dead-heat–all of them reaching the finish line at the same time.
HURDLE: Commonly used in England and Ireland, it is lighter and lower than a steeplechase fence. Horses usually will meet the hurdle in stride and will slow their pace only moderately when they jump it.
MAIDEN: A horse that has never won a race.
NATIONAL FENCE: This is a synthetic version of a steeplechase fence, and it is used at nearly all steeplechase events in the U.S. It consists of a steel frame stuffed with plastic “brush” that resembles gorse and stands about 4 feet, 4 inches high. A foam-rubber roll, covered with green canvas, is placed on the take-off side. This type of fence is very popular because it is both safe and portable.
NOVICE: A horse in its first full season of racing over fences after it has won its first race is known as a novice. Novice races are held at many race meets, to give these horses experience over hurdles before they must go to compete with more seasoned jumpers. For several years, novices have competed in the Sport of Kings Challenge, an international series offering a $1-million bonus.
NSA: The National Steeplechase Association, founded in 1895, is the governing body for steeplechase racing in the United States. For many years, the organization was known as the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association. The NSA, based in Fair Hill, Maryland, sanctions most American steeplechase meets and approves officials for each meet. In addition, the NSA licenses all participants, keeps all official statistics and publishes the American Steeplechasing yearbook.
OPEN COMPANY: A race without restrictions on the horses that can be entered. Such restrictions might include experience, sex, and age.
OUTRIDERS: Mounted officials usually dressed in hunting attire who escort entries to the post, bring in loose horses that have lost riders and assist in crowd control.
PADDOCK: The area where horses are saddled before a race and where they remain until they go onto the race course.
PADDOCK JUDGE: Responsible for assembling the horses and riders in the paddock no later than fifteen (15) minutes before the scheduled post-time for each race. The Paddock Judge inspects the horses and their equipment and is responsible for seeing that the horses are saddled in an orderly manner, that the horses are mounted at the same time and leave the paddock for the post in proper sequence.
PATROL JUDGES: View the race from stationary, elevated stands at various points on the course, reporting to the Stewards any infringement of the Rules of Racing they may see.
PLACING JUDGES: Occupy a position directly above the finish line at the time the horses pass the winning post. Their sole duty is to place the horses at least to sixth place, and if possible, the whole field, to cover the contingency of disqualification.
PURSE: The money earned in a race. Purse money in most races is paid for the winner and down to the fifth finisher.
RULES OF RACING: Adopted by NSA.
RUNNER’S REWARD: If a horse doesn’t run in the money, no entry fee is due.
SCHOOLING: Preparing for a steeplechase race by having the horse practice jumping over obstacles as part of the training regimen.
SCRATCH TIME: Usually one hour before the first race, the final time at which entered horses may be withdrawn from a race. After this time, a horse may only be withdrawn because of injury or by order of a veterinarian or steward.
STAKES: A race with a purse value of $25,000 or more; where the purse is made up at least in partly by money (as entry fee) put up by the owners of the horses entered.
STARTER: Gives all orders necessary for securing a fair start. Horses are in the hands of the Starter from the time they arrive at the post or starting area until the time the flag drops, indicating a start.
STARTING TAPE: A device used to assist in starting races. Made of elastic bands, the tape is stretched across the starting point and is released to begin the race.
STEEPLECHASE: A horse race over obstacles which are made of natural or artificial materials. Wherever the word steeplechase is used, it shall be deemed to include hurdle and timber racing as well, unless otherwise stated to the contrary.
STEWARD: The presiding judge at a race meet. The stewards have the final decision on all matters pertaining to a race. They may levy fines on owners, trainers, or riders who violate the rules of racing, and they may disqualify a horse for impeding another horse during the running of a race or for not carrying the prescribed amount of weight. Each race meet has three stewards.
STRETCH: The straight-away portion of a race course. The straight nearest to the stands, and including the finish line, is known as the homestretch. The opposite straight, farthest from the stands, is the backstretch.
TIMBER RACE: A steeplechase over a prescribed course of obstacles which are made of natural wood rail, logs, or boards.
WEIGHT-FOR-AGE: A race in which horses of different ages carry different amounts of weight, regardless of their past performances.
WINGS: Panels on either side of a steeplechase fence. The wings are intended to guide a horse toward a jump.