Origins of the Steeplechasefoxhunt club rides at dawn
a foxhunt at dawn

The Jumping Game explores the ancient and passionate bond between people and horses, and traces the 150-year history of the steeplechase in the United States through archival film and photographs.

Born in Ireland in 1752 - when at the end of a day’s foxhunting, two riders settled the argument of whose horse was best by racing to a distant church steeple - the sport crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the United States early in the 19th century. Steeplechase historian Peter Winants: historian Peter Winants  does research"Steeplechasing has a rich heritage in this country. According to my research, the first race that was reported in The Sporting Journal was in 1834, and amazingly enough was right in Washington, DC. That racecourse is now part of Rock Creek Park, so times do change."

At the turn of the last century some want-to-be jockeys archive photo of steeplechase ride at Coney Islandcould test their skills at the amusement park. "One of the most popular rides atConey Island was 'The Steeplechase.'" Winants says, "It was six horses on rollers, on six individual tracks and it was gravity driven, so that the guy that was the heaviest would invariably win these races."


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