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.
Welcome to USEF Amateur Hour
The amateur-owner rules have changed this year in several ways. First, the definition of an amateur has been expanded in an effort to clarify permissible and impermissible activity. Among other things, officiating at a horse show will not affect amateur status nor will being a farrier or veterinarian. If you have any doubt, you may receive a formal opinion from the USEF upon a written request. Any activity by a person who has not reached his/her 18th birthday as defined in GR 101 (i.e., as of December 1st) is not subject to application of the amateur rule. The full enumeration of activities can be found at GR1306.
To compete in any class where "amateur" is part of the name, you must be in possession of a current amateur certification. The certification is free for senior USEF members; there is a yearly charge of $30 for a non-member.
Amateur-Owner Hunter - to be ridden by Amateur Owners or an amateur member of the owner's family. In either case, classes are restricted to riders who are no longer eligible to compete as junior exhibitors. Leased horses are not eligible and multiple ownerships are not permitted unless all owners are members of the same family.
An amateur who rides for a person outside of his/her family may not ride in a class restricted to Amateur Owner[hunter]s at the same competition. Amateur Owner riders may, however, ride for a person outside of his or her family in equitation classes, Under Saddle classes and for other Amateur Owners who have more than one entry in the Under Saddle class. HU107*
Effective April 1, 2009, the Jumper rule has been modified to make the Amateur-Owner division more restrictive than it had been in the past:
Amateur-Owner Jumper - A horse that is ridden by an Amateur Owner or an amateur member of the owner's family. In either case, classes are restricted to riders who are no longer eligible to compete as junior exhibitors. Leased horses are not eligible, and multiple ownership is not permitted unless all owners are members of the same family.
a. An amateur who rides for a person outside of his/her family may not ride in a class restricted to Amateur-Owner[Jumper]s at the same competition. Not withstanding the language of the new rule, we have been advised that it was the intent of the Jumper rule to have the same exceptions as the Hunter rule; and executive committee clarification is to be forthcoming.
The new 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunter division is growing in popularity and is being offered at all RMI horse shows. Riders in the 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunter division are subject to the restrictions set forth in HU107. Be aware that though offered separately, the 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunter and (traditional 3'6") Amateur-Owner Hunter sections may be combined if there are insufficient entries in a division.
Likewise, the Amateur-Owner Hunter and Junior Hunter sections can be combined at an "A/B/C" show if there are insufficient entries for either section to be run independently.
Zone rules vary and should be reviewed before competing at a show not in your home zone. For Zone 4, a rider in the Amateur-Owner Hunter or Amateur-Owner Jumper division may ride one horse that they own (or owned by their family) in the Adult Amateur division. Zone 4 offers a 3' and a 3'3" option for the Adult Amateur division; a horse may be entered in the 3'6" Amateur-Owner division AND the 3' or 3'3" Adult Amateur division. This result is being reviewed by the Zone Committee and may likely be restricted. The same horse may be ridden by the Amateur Owner in the Amateur Owner (3'3" or 3'6") division and be ridden by another amateur rider in the Adult Amateur division. You may NOT have the same rider/horse combination in the 3'3" Amateur-Owner and the Adult Amateur nor in the 3'3" Amateur-Owner and 3'6" Amateur-Owner classes. However, the rider may cross-enter all the divisions if showing different horses.
So if you are riding in an Amateur class, be sure to check the most current rules, especially if you or your horse are showing in more than one division. It is a great place to show your riding talent; just be sure you are scheduled for the right talent show.
*Rule numbers reflect renumbering of Rule Book with February 1, 2009, rule changes.