What Is The Origin Of The Steeplechase?


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The steeplechase is a horse race which involves jumping over fences. The Grand National is probably the most famous steeplechase in the United Kingdom.
It originated in the late 19th Century. After a group of hunters had been out, they would often have a race to see who could return home the quickest.
They would ride through the countryside, jumping the hedges and any fallen logs, rivers, brooks etc to get home and win the race.
Often there were few landmarks in the rural areas where the hunts took place. The most common landmark was often the steeple of a church, which was often built in the centre of the village and frequently on a hill, or slightly elevated from the rest of the village. So this would be pinpointed as the finishing line for the race, so they were in fact 'chasing the steeple' which then became known as the steeplechase.

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