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.

What Questions do You Have About the Coronavirus Pandemic and Mental Health?Dr. Paula Durlofsky will answer your questions during Main Line Today's Facebook Live event.
5 Local Artisan Candlemakers That Will Help Make Your Home CozyThese locally-poured candles will infuse any space with heady scents.
This West Chester Doctor Tackles Mental Health and Identity in Her Newest YA NovelDr. Ilene Wong, a surgical specialist in urology, brings diversity to teen literature.
Look Inside this Merion Station Home’s Garden OasisThe landscape architect and interior designer collaborated to create a harmonious design.
5 Local Museums with Online ExhibitsExplore art, history and more while at home during the coronavirus lockdown.
How to Shop Small Businesses During the Coronavirus LockdownMany area boutiques are offering remote services with delivery or curbside pickup.
Staying Sober During the Coronavirus PandemicWith in-person meetings largely off the table, alternative online resources have been established.
Q&A: Arden + James Owner and Designer Bri BrantThe Chadds Ford fashionista shares her style.
11 Local Fitness Studios and Gyms Offering At-Home Workouts During the Coronavirus Pandemic Just because you can’t leave home doesn’t mean you can’t keep to your exercise routine.  
Meet 6 of the Philadelphia Suburbs’ Power CouplesWhat’s it like to have an A-list partnership? Inside these successful relationships, there's a lot of juggling of careers, charitable work, families—and each another.
These Local High School Journalists Are Working to Ensure Freedom of the Student PressThe Free School Media Act would prohibit prior restraint and protect student media advisors.
How to Cope with the Emotional Effects of Social DistancingIn the wake of coronavirus, some will struggle with the many social aspects inherent with separation. Here’s are tips to make it through.
How to Conquer Irrational AnxietyFrom meditation to movies, these tips help you deal with stressors.
The 2020 Guide to Main Line Area Summer CampsFrom art camp to aviation camp, there's a program for everybody.
How Contact Lenses Changed This Writers’ LifeIf it wasn't for contact lenses, Pete Kennedy would be history.

You Might also Like