STEEPLECHASE, a variety of horse-racing not run on the flat, but either across country or on a made course with artificial fences, water-jumps, etc. (see HORSE-RACING). The origin of the sport and the name is due to matches run by owners of hunters, the goal being some prominent landmark, such as a neighbouring church steeple. There is an early record of such a match in 1752 in Ireland, when the course was 45 m., " from the Church of Buttevaut to the spire of St Leger Church." The name is sometimes used of cross-country running or of a race on a made course over hurdles and other obstacles. It is also given to an English variation of the old French game of Goose (q.ii.). It is played with two dice on a board, on which is depicted a race-course with hurdles, water-jumps and other obstacles. The course is marked in 60 compartments by means of radii, and the game is won by the player whose horse makes the circuit in the fewest throws. Each player is provided with a marker, usually in the form of a jockey on horseback, which is moved forward after each throw to the space to which the number thrown entitles it.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)