Harness Racing Museum Boost for Education

The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, located in Goshen, has been keeping the sport and its past heroes alive in the minds of the present generation. Following the history of harness racing and exhibiting some of its most memorable moments, the Harness Racing Museum is not only a popular attraction in Goshen, but it serves as an educator on horses, the racing industry and the importance of providing proper care to racehorses and horses in general. Through the educational programs run by the Harness Racing Museum, many lives have been touched and attention has been brought to the Standardbred horse. For these reasons, the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, has donated $35 000 to the museum to be used in their programs.

The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund was established in 1965, with its sole motivation being to promote quality Standardbred breeding programs and to raise awareness of not only the horses, but of the sport of harness racing. The educational programs that are hosted by the Harness Racing Museum are seen as the perfect tool to reach out to the younger generation and promote interest in horses and the sport from a young age, thereby ensuring the survival of harness racing.

The programs are formulated according to various age groups and incorporate learning models that have been approved by the New York State Educational Department, therefore enhancing the learning process of other subjects, while being educated on the harness racing industry. The museum welcomes approximately five thousand children to participate in the programs each year and, because the programs are arranged according to age groups, children can look forward to a more advanced program each time they attend. Children in the “Through the Eyes of Currier and Ives” program will learn about life in the 1800’s and explore the lithograph prints of trotting horses, which were made during this time. In the “Why we are Friends” program, the needs and care of horses is looked at, including the features that make human and horse families so similar at times. American history, the invention of the wheel, legendary horses, sleigh riding, crafts and the role played by horses throughout the centuries is also explored in the programs. It also shows how interwoven the history and development of America was with these magnificent animals. Older students attend the “Own Your Own Standardbred Horse” program, that incorporates the responsibilities of horse ownership with subjects like mathematics and social studies, as students are taught how to buy a horse, hire a trainer, work out budgets in regard to paying staff, race entry fees, feed, veterinarians and maintenance. Through this program students come to appreciate how owning a Standardbred horse can be very rewarding, both financially and emotionally.

The funds that have been provided by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, will assist the Harness Racing Museum to continue these educational programs, as well as to improve and develop these programs to educate and to generate interest amongst future horse owners, trainers and syndicate members.