The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup is a Timber steeplechase race with a distance of four miles and 22 fences, over fair hunting country. From its inception it has been intended as a substantial test of both horse and rider, and is one of just three 4-mile steeplechase races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. First run in 1921 over a course in Whitemarsh , PA, the race moved to the present location in Unionville PA in 1964, where it has been held annually since. Over the years the race meeting has grown so that the race day card now includes three sanctioned timber races, and the Pennsylvania Pony Hunt Cup for children.
The self-perpetuating Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Committee administers the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Races. By charter, the purpose of the committee is to raise money for local charities and the organization has achieved exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Since 1964 over $1.15 million has been donated to a variety of charitable organizations.
As an “open” race, the race conditions make no distinction between amateur and professional riders or as to the previous race records of the horses eligible to be entered. Run over “fair hunting country” means the course approximates conditions found during a day of foxhunting in Pennsylvania , albeit more rigorous than the average hunting experience. It is differentiated from a “park” course that usually involves more consistency of terrain and obstacle, and often places more emphasis on speed in the competition. While speed may be required to win over fair hunting country, the athleticism and experience of both horse and rider required to navigate changing terrain and fences varying in size and type are major components in achieving a favorable outcome. The course consists of 4 miles of rolling countryside and 22 fences of stacked rails, board and post and rail, with heights ranging from 3ft 6in to 4ft 2in.
The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Committee is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup as an outstanding sporting event, and recognizes that preserving and protecting the course over which the race is run is a critical part of that obligation. We are indebted to the landowners and participating conservation organizations for their generosity and foresight, both of which are vital to the continued achievement of our goal.