by Eileen McClory
When Ryan Miller and Myles Linderman met at a Harness Horse Youth Foundation camp at Hoosier Park in the early 2000’s, neither of them expected to still be friends so many years later. In fact, after they met at the camp, they lost touch before attending orientation together at Morrisville State University in New York and became college roommates.
“Ryan and I are still best friends, we talk two or three times a week,” Linderman said of his relationship with Miller.
Both Miller and Linderman are still in harness racing. Miller is a trainer and owner of his stable, Miller Racing Stables Inc., in Greenville, OH. Linderman is an associate judge at Scioto Downs and was associate judge at Miami Valley Raceway earlier this year and assistant race secretary at Dayton Raceway.
Neither Miller nor Linderman said they would have become as involved with harness racing were it not for HHYF. “I don’t know if I didn’t go to camp, I don’t know if I would have fully went and tried it. There were so many nuances I needed to learn, it was a quick overview of the horse racing game,” Miller said.
Miller loved harness racing before he got the opportunity to attend camp. His grandparents, Doc and Dorothy Miller, owned Standardbreds, and Miller went to the Paulding County Fairgrounds in Ohio multiple times as a child. His first word was “horse” according to family legend.
But Miller said HHYF showed him what he could do with harness racing. “It showed you the entire game,” he said. “It’s not a big insight but a little insight into every piece.” Miller said the camp showed him what racing looked like. Most memorable, he said, was watching a throat surgery performed on a horse.
Linderman said he remembered being excited to be behind the gate for the first time and racing on a track. But he said the best thing the camp gave him was connections to people in the business.
“It helped build a lot of friendship and relationships,” Linderman said. “It installed a knowledge of the fundamentals.” Linderman said he was still close to his camp counselor, who is currently engaged to his boss. He spent several years racing at Hoosier Park.
Both Linderman and Miller still volunteer with HHYF. Linderman said he keeps a helmet in the trunk of his car for days when he volunteers at pony camp. He helps out with the camp when they’re around Scioto Downs. He has even been able to race Sweet Karen, a horse he raced when he was at camp.
Miller volunteered at the Goshen and Vernon camps, based out of New York. Most of all, he said, the camp helps kids otherwise get a chance to learn more about harness racing.
“I thought the program was amazing, I wish we could push more people to it,” Miller said. “Without the young kids learning the game, there’s no way harness racing is going to survive.”