Rules & Regulations

Rider Requirements

All riders must hold a current active RUS license with the USTA. Riders must wear an approved helmet, safety vest, silk tops (colors) with white pants and a dark boot (with minimum heal of at least 1/2 inch) or half chaps reaching to below the knee. Crops cannot exceed 30 inches. Spurs are prohibited. 

* All riders need at least one charted ride per annual calendar year  with the exception of fairs 

Fair rules: 

  • Any horse and rider combo that has experience racing under saddle do not have to qualify (horse does need to be currently racing or show some sort of qualifying line in the last 30 days). Rider needs to submit a video riding a mile in 2:20. Horses new to the sport need to qualify or have a schooling behind the gate, preferably with another horse rather it be under saddle or in harness. New riders also need to get in a schooler with another horse whether it is also under saddle or in harness at the very least. Both new horse and rider will need to prove they can safely get around any size track in 2:20. All videos and forms of proof such as a signature from the person running the gate during a schooling need to be submitted to

* ALL RIDERS must bring horses back to the winner’s circle if asked to partake in a presentation before the race unless something happens where the horse or rider cannot get there. 

* Riders will be required to raise funds to partake in RUS NY funded events.  In order to participate in The Fair Series riders must raise $200 per race up to four races. Once $800 is raised, that person may race the rest of the series. New licensees only need to raise $500.

PLEASE NOTE: (Trainers or owners can fundraise the required amount to race a horse and use a rider that has not met fundraising requirements. However, the rider must prove to be an active member of the group –  meaning the rider  raised some funds and is showing effort to support the group.)

* Riders should expect to sign a waiver form and take a breathalyzer before races.  

Forms Required

Required Equipment

(a)  Bridle with bit and overcheck with bit.

(b)  Rubber racing, Ladder reins or Double “French” reins.

(c)  Crupper.

(d)  English, monte, or jockey saddle. Overgirth on saddle with only one billet.

(e)  Breast collar or buxton.

(f)  Appropriate saddle pad.

(g)  Head numbers, head poles, line poles and two-ring martingales are prohibited.  Line burrs are now allowed. 

(h)  Securing the rider to the saddle and/or the legs or feet of the rider in the stirrups, including but not limited to tying the stirrups to the girth, banding the feet in the stirrups is prohibited. 

*** hobbles are allowed 

Horse Eligibility Requirements

Races can be held at a pace or trot. All horses participating in RUS events must be registered with either the United States Trotting Association or Standardbred Canada in the name of the current owner. No horse under the age of three shall be eligible to start, however horses older than 14 will be permitted to race in non-betting racing under saddle events. Horses used in the  Fair Series races must show a charted mile in 2:20 or faster under saddle. 

Horses that plan on racing under saddle must have RUS electronic eligibilities activated prior to entering for any RUS event. This is in addition to the eligibility they hold for regular harness events.

Riding Violations

A rider that does any of the following things shall be in violation of the riding rule:

(a)   Jostle, strike or interfere with another horse or rider.

(b)  Cross sharply in front of a horse or field of horses or otherwise ride in a reckless manner.

(c)  Swerve in or out or pull up quickly.

(d)  Crowd another horse or rider.

(e)  Cause confusion or interference among trailing horses.

(f)  Carry a horse out.

(g)  Commit any act that shall impede another horse or rider.

(h)  Change course in the stretch so as to interfere with another horse or rider.

(i)  Ride in a careless or reckless manner. 

Conduct and Fines

Will be the same as in harness – judges and the RUS NY Committee can enforce as they would with a harness race using USTA rules and fine list for comparisons.  Please click here for some general examples.

Placing, Disqualification of Horses

The offending horse may be disqualified, if in the opinion of the judges, the foul altered the finish of the race, regardless of whether the foul was accidental, willful or the result of careless riding. 

Qualifying Standards

Horses must qualify under saddle each calendar year and if it has had a long stretch of not racing at all can be asked to re-qualify.  A horse shall be considered qualified for Racing Under Saddle races if it meets the following standards at the track where the horse is qualifying: 1/2 mile track – 2:16; 5/8 mile track – 2:14; 7/8 mile or larger track – 2:12.  
(*** horses with clean lines may be given preference and clean lines may be an added condition to certain races). 

Race Weigh-In / Weigh-Out of Rider and Equipment

RUS NY does not feel the need to enforce this rule until there is actual wagering on races, but is posting because it is at the discretion of each track. 

a) Following the race, all riders must immediately proceed to the scales and dismount. A rider shall be permitted to dismount under the direct supervision of a track official in the winner’s circle for the purpose of being interviewed.

(b)  The saddle and all other equipment used or worn by the horse, excluding the bridle,shall be weighed immediately following the race along with the rider. Unless otherwise authorized by the judges, no person shall assist in the removal or possession of the saddle and other equipment other than the rider until the weigh- out procedure is completed.

(c)  Any rider and their clothing (including gloves, safety vest, helmet, whip, goggles and saddle with fittings, as well as saddle pad, weighted saddle pad, corrective or sheepskin pad) that weighs in under 140 lbs. or refuses to be weighed will be disqualified from the race.

(d)  No race shall be made “official” until all riders have dismounted and weighed-out. 

Copyright © RUS New York.  All Rights Reserved.