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Welcome to the USTA’s Youth Corner!
Just about anyone with the desire to can work with Standardbred harness horses. Many of those involved in the industry have worked in the barns since they could walk – brushing horses, rolling bandages and sweeping the aisles. But even if you weren’t raised in the industry, you can find a local farm or fairgrounds that is probably looking for volunteers to muck out stalls and give baths!

If you’re wondering how to become involved in harness racing but don’t quite know where to begin, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a great resource. They host the Harness Racing Youth League, run a scholarship program and have a comprehensive listing of equine colleges and career options. Visit www.hhyf.org for more information, or call Ellen Taylor at (317)908-0029.

Youth Membership / Licenses
Youth Publications
Youth Activities
USTA Youth Leadership Subcommittee
Youth Frequently Asked Questions

Youth Membership / Licenses

  • Did you know the USTA offers free USTA memberships to those under 18 years old? Just fill out one of the membership forms below and you are eligible for discounts and services just like any USTA active member.

    Click here for a NEW Youth Membership Application
    Click here for a RENEWAL Youth Membership Application

    At 14 years old you can get your matinee driving license through the USTA. This allows you to drive harness horses in matinee races, which are usually held at a county fairgrounds, do not have purses and results are not reported to the USTA. You will need to submit references from within the sport to get your Matinee license.

    At 16 years old you can apply to get your qualifying-fair (QF) license. You will have to submit references from within the sport and pass both a written and practical exam. While you cannot race at a pari-mutuel track for money, this does allow you to get the experience you need to get your provisional (P) license, to drive in a purse race, once you turn 18.

Youth Publications
  • Youth Beats: The USTA publishes the quarterly Youth Beats, a magazine promoted to those under 18 years old. It is produced by the same editorial staff that publishes Hoof Beats, the USTA’s award winning monthly magazine. Youth Beats is available free online at www.hoofbeatsmagazine.com/youthbeats/ or sign up for a free USTA membership and receive it in the mail!

  • A Guide to Careers in Harness Racing: This booklet covers the wide ranging job opportunities in the sport; from the hands on caretaker, trainer, driver, veterinarian and farrier to the business administration of farm management, marketing and communications, customer relations, food and beverage or race office personnel, whatever field of study you are interested in, there’s a career in harness racing for you! Click here to view the Careers in Harness Racing booklet online, or contact the USTA or HHYF for a copy to be mailed to you.

  • College Directory: This online pamphlet lists the accredited U.S. Colleges of Veterinary Medicine as well as eight colleges and universities that have specific ties to the Standardbred industry, either by providing hands on training in stallion, mare and foal management, breeding, sale yearling preparation and racetrack management or by using Standardbreds in their equine science research herds.

  • Racing Scholarships and Grants: The HHYF has compiled a listing of national, regional and college/program specific scholarships; for more information on the scholarships the HHYF administers and to view the entire list, visit http://www.hhyf.org/scholarships.asp.

  • The USTA created posters detailing the conformation of a Standardbred and parts of a horse, as well as the common equipment worn by trotters and pacers:

    Side Conformation
    Front/Rear Conformation
    Common Equipment worn by a Pacer (in a racebike)
    Common Equipment worn by a Trotter (in a jogcart)


Youth Activities
  • Spring: The USTA puts on the Standardbred Driving School each spring for anyone at least 16 years of age at the time of the school. For more information, visit www.USTADrivingSchool.com.

  • Summer: The Harness Horse Youth Foundation hosts daily seminars and multi-day camps to help pre-teens and teens become more familiar with harness racing. Racetracks, training centers and farms across the country are involved each year. Visit www.hhyf.org for a schedule of camps.

  • Fall: Check out the harness racing booth at the FFA Convention each fall.

USTA Youth Leadership Subcommittee

USTA Youth Leadership Subcommittee Application

Youth delegates selected to serve on the USTA Youth Leadership Subcommittee will be involved in projects with USTA staff and directors to improve the youth experience in harness racing and promote harness racing to a younger audience. Delegates will benefit from possible academic credit, opportunities for published work and leadership training.

Applicants must be between the ages of 16-20 and must be or become a USTA member or USTA youth member. One delegate will be selected for each USTA district. Districts are listed at http://www.ustrotting.com/directors.cfm. The term of service for those selected will be 2 years. Applications are due May 01, 2018.


Youth Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What can I do with a USTA Youth Membership?

    You can do just about anything an adult active USTA member can, such as own, breed, register and change names of horses; all these member services have fees associated with them.

  • What do I get with a USTA Youth Membership?

    You will receive your own membership card with a USTA number unique to you. Each quarter (every three months) you will receive Youth Beats. Visit Youth Beats online at www.hoofbeatsmagazine.com/youthbeats. You also receive member pricing on Hoof Beats and Pathway reports (http://www.pathway.com)
  • What is a Matinee Driver’s License?

    This license is valid for a matinee race meet only. A matinee, as defined in the USTA Rule Book, is “a race where an entrance fee may be charged and where the premiums, if any, are other than money. Performance in a matinee race shall not be considered an official start.” A matinee driver’s license is $17.50 per year.

  • How do I get a Matinee Driver’s License?

    Your first step is to submit this application form. Along with the form, you must submit an eye examination and at least four satisfactory references.

  • What is a Qualifying/Fair Driver’s License?

    This license is valid for matinees, fairs and qualifying races. A QF driver’s license is $50.00 per year.

  • How do I get a Qualifying/Fair Driver’s License?

    Your first step is to submit this application form. . Along with the form, you must submit an eye examination and submit the names of at least four satisfactory references who are Full licensed (A) drivers. You must then pass a written and practical test.

  • How do I study for the written and practical test?

    We strongly encourage you to go over the USTA Rule Book (available online and in hard copy format). There are two books that can help you learn more about the Standardbred and harness racing: The USTA Driver & Trainer Test Study Guide that is available for $20 and “The New Care & Training of the Trotter & Pacer” which is available for $35. Both are available by calling the USTA or by shopping our online store.