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Part of a series of emails to our exhibitors in an effort to provide helpful information about their interaction with the show office and other staff at the show.  If you have a particular question you would like addressed, please feel free to make a suggestion.   Please note that every effort is made to ensure that all rule citations are current and correct as of the publishing date, however, USEF and other organizations continuously make rule changes throughout the year and with each new year. 

December 2009
Amateur-Owner - Kinda, Sorta, Maybe

For many years the Amateur rider was limited to showing only their own horse(s) at the competition when they competed in the Amateur Owner Hunter Division.  During the last few years exceptions have been made for riding horses in equitation classes, any Under Saddle class and for another Amateur-Owner who had more than one entry in the Under Saddle class.  HU107.2  In the last instance, as long as the rider is an Amateur, it does not matter what age the rider is regardless of the division for which the Under Saddle Class was being held.   HU107.3  In the Rule Books for 2009 and prior, HU107.2 referenced "[a]n amateur who rides for a person outside of his/her family...."  This seemed to cause some confusion on whether an amateur could ride someone else's horse anywhere on the show grounds during the competition.  The rule had always been interpreted as "compete" and to avoid any further doubt or confusion, the 2010 Rule Book states "An amateur who competes for a person outside of his/her family may not compete in a class restricted to Amateur Owners at the same competition."  HU107.2

HU107.1 states that Leased horses are not eligible and multiple ownership is not permitted unless all owners are members of the same family.  This might lead one to conclude that HU107.2 therefore applies to leased horses.  In other words, if you leased a horse, which lease was registered with the USEF, you still could not show that animal and compete in the Amateur Owner Hunter division.  BUT YOU WOULD HAVE DRAWN THE WRONG CONCLUSION.  Precipitated by the Zone 5 Committee's desire to permit an Amateur-Owner Hunter competitor the ability to compete one other horse in the Adult Amateur division, the various USHJA committees reviewed Zone 5's rule which provides that "any rider showing in the Amateur Owner Hunter division may compete one different horse in the Adult Amateur division and must own or have an USEF registered lease of said horse.  Relying on GR1108, USHJA and USEF concluded that for purposes other than the Amateur Owner Hunter Division, a USEF registered leased horse is owned by the Amateur and therefore can be shown in any other division where otherwise eligible. In other words, Amateur-Owners can show the horses they own in the Amateur-Owner Hunter division and can show the horse they own AND/OR USEF-registered, leased horses at the same show in other divisions, such as Adult Amateur, Pregreen, or Regular Working Hunter.  Marion Maybank, USEF-Director, National Hunter Affiliates; telephone conversation November 25, 2009.

GR1108.2  For points to count with respect to any recorded horse at a Federation competition, such agreement or lease registration form (provided by the Federation) and fees must be received by the Federation office on or before the first day of such competition.  The lessee becomes the bona fide owner of the horse for the period of the lease (except for Owner classes) for Federation award purposes. (emphasis added). The horse must be entered in the ownership of the lessee and must be showing in accordance with GR1110.

3 To be official, a certified copy of a lease agreement or a lease registration form must be submitted and registered with the Federation and must be accompanied by the required fee.  The Horse Lease From which lists the fee can be found at  Either document must contain a start and end date and be signed by the lessee and lessor.  If a lease is not renewed within 30 days of its expiration, a later renewal will require an additional fee.  The lease registration with the Federation will then be effective the day the renewal is received by [the Federation] office.

In the midst of the fine-tuning of the Amateur Owner Hunter rule, the Jumper committee thought their rule needed attention.  Historically an Amateur Owner Jumper rider had no restriction on whose horses he/she could ride at the same show outside of the Amateur Owner Jumper class. During 2009, the Jumper Committee adopted a rule which was to be effective April 1, 2009.  However, the wording which was intended to track the hunter rule, was not accurate so the rule was withdrawn to be revised with an effective date of December 1, 2010.  JP117.1 Amateur Owner Jumper:  A horse that is ridden by an Amateur Owner or an amateur member of the owner's family. .....  Leased horses are not eligible, and multiple ownership is not permitted unless all owners are members of the same family.
a. An amateur who competes for a person outside of his/her family may not compete in a class restricted to Amateur Owners at the same competition Exception:  equitation and under saddle per HU107.2. 

So now according to the application of GR1108, a jumper rider can have a registered USEF lease of a horse and show it at the same competition in a division other than Amateur Owner Jumper but remain eligible for the Amateur Owner Jumper class on a horse actually owned by the rider.

Following all the attention to the Amateur Owner rule during the last few years, the pending rule proposal by the Jumper Committee to delete the "Owner" from the Amateur Jumper division has brought a great deal of discussion and concern that if "Owner" is dropped from the Jumper division, it will soon follow that "Owner" will be dropped from the Hunter division.  The biggest concern remains how to ensure that those competing in the division are truly "amateurs" as defined by GR1306.  But what activities should impact a rider's amateur status would be worthy of a thesis and outside the parameters of this newsletter.

So Amateur riders take note, you can probably ride anyone's horse in the Adult Amateur division. You can definitely ride anyone else's horse in Equitation or an Under Saddle.  You can ride your own horse in the Amateur Owner division, and you can compete someone else's horse (where it is otherwise eligible) at the show if you have a lease registered with the USEF.  Well, that is, until they again change interpretation of Amateur Owner!