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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. 

November 2009
Make the Most of the Opportunity!

With the 2008 rule book, USEF introduced a new category of classes titled "Opportunity Classes."  These classes were intended to offer unrated, grass roots level classes held at breed restricted, multi-breed or Western competitions.  Hunter/Jumper competitions were specifically prohibited from offering Opportunity Classes.  The focus of Opportunity Classes was to encourage participation of new exhibitors without requiring the additional expense of membership and horse registration.

For 2009, the hunter/jumper competition was given the ability to offer Opportunity Classes (HJ-Op Classes, for short).  HJ-Op Classes do have more restrictions than Op Classes at other competitions.  Specifically, the rider in HJ-OP Classes may not participate in a rated division.  Furthermore, HJ-OP Classes must have fences set at 2'6" or below. 

The greatest benefit to our exhibitors is that riders in HJ-OP Classes are exempt from membership requirements for USEF and USHJA; because they are exempt, there is never a nonmember fee.  This exemption does not extend to the trainer.  If the rider is an USEF/USHJA member, the membership number should be provided to the show office.  GR821.6.  Likewise, the horse is not required to have an USEF/USHJA number; if it does have a number already, then the number should be provided to the show office.  GR821.4.  Lastly, horses in OP classes do not pay the $15.00 USEF Federation/D&M Fee, BUT the horses ARE subject to and must comply with the D&M rules, including being subject to testing.

In addition to Opportunity Classes, USEF provided for Academy Classes several year's earlier.  Academy Classes are for horses that are regularly part of a lesson program.  For example, at RMI we offer Walk-Trot and Cross Rails classes as Academy Classes.  As with Opportunity Classes, the greatest advantage to identifying these classes in this category is the exemption from membership and horse registration fees.  Exhibitors participating in Opportunity Classes complete a standard USEF horse show entry blank; exhibitors participating in Academy Classes complete an entry blank which clearly indicates that the classes are unrecognized by USEF. As with all exhibitors in all divisions, the RMI office is eager to assist you in completing your forms for the horse show in compliance with the USEF rules.

So make the most of this opportunity to introduce new and less-experienced riders to the quality of an "A" show while saving some on expenses.  Look for these classes at all RMI shows and save a minimum of $105.00 in fees.