For all rules and regualtions concerning Horse Racing in Ontario visit:

More specifically:
Rules as of 2014 follow link Here
Updates in 2015 follow link Here

Rules for racing under saddle events approved by ORC

On April 25, 2014, the Board of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) approved rules that will allow racing under saddle (RUS) races to be pari-mutuel wagering events. With the rules in place and where pari-mutuel wagering is conducted on the RUS events, the purse account can be used to provide the purse for these races.

Process for obtaining a Standardbred Rider Licence: 

ORC and Standardbred Canada licensing requirements for the Rider category

To obtain a Standardbred Rider Licence, an application form is available from the website

First time applicants for Racing Under Saddle Qualifying Rider licence must:

(a) have attained 18 years of age;
(b) submit a completed application;
(c) submit to a physical and eye examination valid within the prior twelve (12) months, the cost of which shall be the responsibility of the applicant, and;
(d) submit to a written examination and achieve a passing grade.

In the determination of whether a licensed RUS “Q” Rider is satisfactory for upgrade to a Rider licence, the Qualifying Rider must:

(a) submit a written recommendation from a regional judge who has evaluated the rider’s performance:

(i) while coming to and while on the gate;
(ii) while leaving the gate and positioning the horse;
(iii) when confronted with situations during the race;
(iv) while in the homestretch and during the finish of the race; and
(v) his/her overall performance, strength, fitness and conduct during the race.

Holders of USTA Rider Licences – A non-Canadian resident, as defined in Article 1.1 of By-Law 1, who is the holder of a Rider licence granted by the United States Trotting Association, shall be eligible for the equivalent Association category of licence providing the applicant:

(a) Has attained 18 years of age;
(b) Submits a completed application; and
(c) Submits evidence acceptable to the Association of current Rider licence granted by the United States Trotting Association.


This ensures fitness of the riders, more lines for bettors and allows judges to better evaluate the rider.
Qualifying times as per track size:
7/8 mile – 2:04
5/8 mile–  2:06
1/2 mile – 2:08

Rider equipment requirements are as follows:

A helmet meeting one of the following safety standards.

  1. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM 1163);
  2. UK Standards (EN- 1384 and PAS- 015); or
  3. Australian/ New Zealand Standard (AS/ NZ 3838)
  4. Snell Memorial Foundations (H2000)

A safety vest meeting one of the following safety standards.

  1. a)  British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA: 2000 Level 1 ) ;
  2. b)  Euro Norm ( EN 13158: 2000 Level 1 ) ;
  3. c)  American Society for Testing and Materials ( ASTM F2681 – 08 ) ;
  4. d)  Shoe and Allied Trade Research Association ( SATRA Jockey Vest Document M6Issue 3 ) ; or
  5. e)  Australian Racing Board (ARB Standard 1. 1998).

Equipment used in RUS races is subject to the following:
The horse shall wear a safety girth, have a bit in mouth, wear a crupper and head check, as well as a breast collar or buxton, and shall use either Thoroughbred or Ladder reins. No trotting hopples, head or line poles, 2 ring martingales, snaps on reins that attached to a bit or head numbers are to be used. Any other equipment not specified may be approved by the Judges. (SB rule # 22.24)