The biggest misconception with the sport of steeplechasing is that it varies so much from flat racing, when in reality, this couldn’t be any farther than the truth. I have heard many people who are not familiar with steeplechasing ask what breed the horses are that race over hurdles, and that just shows how much the details of steeplechasing needs cleared up to the outside world.
Not only are steeplechasers Thoroughbreds, the same as flat racers, but most of them start their careers out running in flat races. In our operation, we even have some horses that continue to run in flat races even after they run over jumps.
Our flat horses and jump horses train together in sets, and also do their works and breezes together most of the time as well. A 2 year old filly who won first time out sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf in Saratoga had her final work before shipping to Saratoga in our work field following a group of jumpers.
Obviously the jumpers have to do extra schooling over fences to perfect their technique jumping hurdles, but the other training does not differ much from the flat horses’ training regimens. In our operation, the flat horses always do a bit of jumping as well to keep their minds interested and intrigued and also to help with coordination.
Every horse in our barn has jumped, some more and some higher than others, but it shows how wrong the thought is that steeplechase horses and flat horses are so different!
The horse jumping this hurdle, Castle Hill, is running in an Allowance race at Tampa 12/4…he has never run over jumps, but will in the future.
The horse jumping the log/brush is Ghost Swagger. Owned by a New York Racing Partnership, Zilla Racing Stables. He is strictly a flat horse and will never run over jumps, but when he first came to us he was very sour and would refuse to train…we started jumping him and now he is very happy with himself and life in general and is no longer sour.