Membership Home >YOUTH

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 for more information, or call Ellen Taylor at (317)908-0029.

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

    You can also apply online by using a USTA MyAccount. Non-members who already have a USTA MyAccount (to use Pathway, subscribe to Hoof Beats, enroll horses in Full Circle, etc.) can use their same log-in to apply for USTA membership. Once logged in, users need to click "Online Services" from the black navigation bar, then click on the "Membership" link.
  • 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 semi-annual 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 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! Contact HHYF for a copy to be mailed to you.
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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 for a schedule of camps.
  • Fall: Check out the harness racing booth at the FFA Convention each fall.

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 postcard with a USTA number unique to you. If you provide an email address on your membership application, you will receive an email with your membership details. The month after your membership is processed, you will receive a Standardbred Star activity book in the mail, and twice a year you will receive Youth Beats. You also receive member pricing on Hoof Beats magazine subscriptions and Pathway reports (
  • 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 included when you apply for your driver license or is available separately 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.