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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. 

October 2011 Newsletter
Amateur Hour
(that is, about how long before the rules change again)

HU 107 Amateur Owner Hunter

1. 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 ownership is not permitted unless all owners are members of the same family.

2. 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:

  1.             Equitation classes.
  2.             Under Saddle classes.
  3.            and a maximum of one(1) horse not owned by the rider or his/her family in jumper sections and a maximum of one (1) horse not owned by the rider or his/her family in hunter sections, in classes not restricted to amateur owners.

3.  If an Under Saddle class is divided by age and a rider has two or more horses entered, all riders must be amateurs but need not be eligible by age.*

JP117 Sections/Classes Restricted to Junior, Amateur/Owner, or Young Riders.

1.  Amateur Owner Jumpers:  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.

    1. 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.  Exceptions:

(1) Equitation classes.
(2) Under Saddle per  HU107.2
(3) and a maximum of one (1) horse not owned by the rider or his/her family in jumper sections and a maximum of one (1) horse not owned by the rider or his/her family in hunter sections, in classes not restricted to amateur owners. 


*An Owner-rider must show one horse in the under saddle class before a second amateur may show another horse owned by another Owner-rider.

The two rules above are an effort by the respective committees for consistency between the disciplines as to what non-owned horses can be ridden by exhibitors who are also competing in an Amateur-Owner section [though not in rule format as is illustrated above].  In addition to the exceptions above, an exhibitor in any Amateur-Owner section may compete in any non-Owner class, without limitation, a horse that is leased by the exhibitor when the lease is recorded with the USEF.  GR141.3 [Owner’s Classes . . . Leased horses are not eligible], GR1108.1.2 [Lease Registration . . .  The lessee becomes the bona fide owner of the horse for the period of the lease (except for Owner classes) for Federation award purposes.]  Not withstanding the last phrase shown here in italics, USEF has taken the position that the Lessee is the “Owner” for purposes of JP117 and HU107.   There is a fee for leasing a horse but no minimum period for a lease is required for it to be registered.  So if you really, really want to show a few non-owned horses at the show, leasing is an option.

What combination of horses you show in what divisions currently will vary by zone.  For example, in Zone 4, an exhibitor in the Amateur-Owner division may only ride her/his “owned” horse in the Adult Amateur, and JP117/HU107 allows the exhibitor to ride one non-owned horse in any jumper class and another non-owned horse in any hunter class regardless of height.   By comparison, in Zone 3, if you compete any horse in the Adult Amateur division, you may not ride any horse in any class with jumps above 3'3 and if you show in the Amateur-Owner 3'3" division, you may only show a horse you own in the Adult Amateur section.  So in Zone 3 you can show your horses in the 3'3 AO and another horse you own in the Adult Amateur and someone else’s horse in the 1.0 jumper division and a fourth horse in the Baby Green Hunter, but you cannot show your own horses in Adult Amateur Hunter and 1.15m jumper.

Figuring out the acceptable combinations may take more than an hour . . .

One of the ongoing debates among exhibitors is what constitutes behavior as an amateur?  We direct you to GR1306 which provides a litany of activities, with or without remuneration, that can affect Amateur Status.  Generally, if you get paid for riding someone else’s horse or for providing riding instructions or brokering a sale/lease, you are not an amateur.  The list is longer, but that is the gist.  What does not effect your amateur status is being the office manager for your trainer, or doing all your trainer’s horse show bookkeeping, or hacking a barnmate’s horse in the warm-up area (as long as the friend does not pay you).  If the barnmate gives you a token of appreciation valued $300 or less, not a problem.  If the barnmate gives you $5.00 to buy yourself lunch; you have broken your amateur status.  GR 1306.2.e.    The rules get quite a bit trickier if another member of your family (see GR 123 for who is included in your “family”) is paid to train, board, or ride a horse.  If you are riding a horse trained by your “significant other” you are probably OK, even if he uses his lesson money to take you to dinner later that night.

Coupled with your Amateur Status, is the requirement for “Amateur Certification.”  To be an Amateur, you must sign the membership application certifying as to your compliance with the amateur rules.   From time to time we find senior members who are “undeclared.”  A Senior member who is “undeclared” is not eligible for any class restricted to an “Amateur” rider.  If otherwise qualified, status can be remedied by signing an Amateur Certification at the show office.   You remain an Amateur until you voluntarily withdraw your certification OR you have received a notice of a change of status by The Federation.     When you apply for membership, be cautious about signing as a “Professional.”  It is easy to give up your “Amateur” status if you should, it is a very big hill to recover your “Amateur” status; the process will take a year minimum, and  usually closer to two years.  See GR 1306.2.

Many classes are described as “Adult” classes; while this is generally accepted as classes restricted to “Amateurs,” it is not the same.  The rider need not be a declared Amateur though a professional would seem unsporting to enter such a class. 

Like most things, remember this is a sport.  Remember to “do the right thing,” think about what horses you are showing in what classes, and expect to pay your full bill.  If you want to make some money because of your horsemanship skills, you probably should not be competing with the Amateurs.