Type to search

Q&A: National Steeplechase Association’s Guy Torsilieri


What’s the NSA?

Guy Torsilieri: It’s the governing body of jump racing in North America. Based in Fair Hill, Md., the NSA licenses participants, approves race courses, trains officials, coordinates race entries, enforces rules, compiles an official database, and oversees the national marketing and public relations of the sport. On a broader scale, the NSA is the guiding hand of the sport’s proud legacy. It’s dedicated to preserving steeplechase tradition and history in the 21st century.

What makes a steeplechase horse?

GT: He or she is a thoroughbred who likely started racing on the flats but didn’t succeed. These horses thrive in a different setting, running distances of at least two miles, jumping four-foot fences every eighth of a mile or so. They’re glad to leave the starting gate and dirt behind and run on turf. They’re smart and athletic.

How did steeplechase get started?

GT: The first recorded steeplechase was a match race run in Ireland in 1752—literally a steeplechase from one church to another, a distance of 4.5 miles. In Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is a keen fan. The sport became popular with the foxhunting set in the United States, with families bearing well-known names like du Pont, Mellon, Vanderbilt, Whitney, Widener, Clark and Phipps racing horses over fences.

How widespread is jump racing?

GT: The 34 race meets sanctioned by the NSA are focused in 11 states, including Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Nearly 200 sanctioned steeplechase races—worth more than $4.6 million—occur in the U.S. every year, with nearly 500 horses competing.

What do the horses jump over?

GT: The obstacles used in most races are manmade fences known as National Fences, consisting of a steel frame stuffed with plastic brush and a foam-rubber roll, covered with green canvas on the takeoff side. Horses jump the fence in stride, much like human hurdlers in track-and-field events. Jumps are trucked to racetracks up and down the East Coast and are set up on turf courses before the races.

Timbers are wooden post-and-rail obstacles. A few race meets have natural brush fences. And some—including Willowdale—have a water obstacle.

What’s on the horizon for jump racing?

GT: Established in 2015, the NSA’s Promotion and Growth Committee launched the Go Jump Racing campaign, a strategy to attract new horses and owners to jump racing, while continuing to engage current owners. The committee led an advertising campaign featuring flat-racing owners who also participate in jump racing. In addition, the committee launched the Owner-Trainer Symposium and Auction and has conducted surveys of steeplechase participants.

Eagles and Phillies merch are the hottest items in town. Where to Get Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies Jerseys and MerchPhiladelphia has two of the most exciting teams in American sports right now. Here's where to get the hottest Eagles and Phillies merch.
Digital trauma How to Recognize and Heal From Trauma Bonding in the Digital AgeHere are three tips on how to aid healing and de-weaponize social media and digital interaction in your everyday life.
The Hooters drummer David Uosikkinen Main Line Television Tells the Story of The Hooters’ Drummer David UosikkinenThe Hooters exploded out of Philadelphia and onto the national stage in 1985, but the story of drummer David Uosikkinen was untold until now.
Sydney Grims Fearless Femmes Fearless Femmes Upholds a Generational Legacy Around the Main LineFour generations of men in Sydney Grims' family have all been restaurateurs. Now she's taking up the mantle and creating something special with it.
Weilbacher Mike Weilbacher Celebrates Nature Around PhiladelphiaMike Weilbacher is an author and naturalist who recently released a book on how to explore and appreciate nature around the Main Line.
Downingtown School district Private vs. Public Schools: A Difficult Decision for Main Line Area FamiliesA slew of excellent public and private schools call the Main Line region home. Which one is best for your child?
Stephanie Campbell Anthropologie’s Social Media Director Talks Fashion InspirationStephanie Campbell, the director of social media at Anthropologie, shares her favorite stores and top style tips.
Gettysburg Day Trip Gettysburg Is an Ideal Fall Getaway Destination for Main LinersBattlefield Bed and Breakfast Inn, located in Gettysburg, is the perfect fall getaway to admire the history of Pennsylvania.
Unionville The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Celebrates Its Rural RootsNow ranked among the top school districts in the state, Unionville-Chadds Ford had a humble start in Pennsylvania.
school guide What’s New at the Main Line Region’s Independent SchoolsPrivate, parochial and alternative schools in the Main Line region and western suburbs step up their game for the new school year.
icehouse In West Chester, an Old Icehouse Is Now a Gorgeous Wine CellarIn West Chester, a derelict icehouse becomes a glamourous wine cellar inspired by the owners' travels around Europe.
Main Line consignment shops These Main Line Area Consignment Shops Stock Unique FashionsThese consignment shops around the Main Line area and western suburbs will help you find statement fits at discount prices.
Thinking forward suicide prevention Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: Talking About Suicide Can Save a LifeSuicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It's everyone's job to recognize the signs of depression.
Susan Noles will compete on The Golden Bachelor ABC’s The Golden Bachelor Features This Delco ResidentThe Aston resident and ex-wife of a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher will compete on The Golden Bachelor, ABC's latest Bachelor spin-off.
pick your own apples Pick Your Own Apples at These Orchards in the Main Line RegionEmbrace the fall season in the Main Line region by visiting local orchards for a variety of delicious apples and homegrown produce.

Summer flash sale!

Save 50% today on a subscription to Main Line Today

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.

Summer flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.