Amateurs Like Us

USEF-logoI don’t know about you but I personally find the USEF Amateur Status rules kinda complicated. They make the running of equestrian businesses as an amateur more complicated as well. I would say that 95% of the time your average Jane Doe is not going to be even close to violating their ammie status. If you have interest in reading the rules click here or see below.

Main takeaways for violations are:

  • If you accept any money or “remuneration” and perform any riding, training, teaching, or consultation you are in violation of amateur status
  • If you accept any “remuneration” AND are employed as a groom, farrier, vet, etc AND ride, train, teach, or consult for any of the horses owned by the employer or person paying the remuneration you are in violation of amateur status
  • Ultimately don’t accept money for anything for any horse that you ever plan to ride would be my main goal

idea-1020343_960_720I have a few ideas up my sleeve for horse related sales but I need to do more research on what kind of steps I would need to take to sell items that are consumed or used on horses… I also need to find more time to experiment with my creations… Work and actually riding take up the majority of my time!

Do any of you have any tips or insights for keeping within the bound of amateur status? Things to avoid? Any violations that are easy to miss and accidentally do? Personal experience with any of the examples above?

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18 Comments

    1. See you would think that but it turns out that if you are a groom or working student that gets paid and you accept payment from anyone and then ever sit on that horse technically you have accepted money and you rode it. Additionally lunging said horses is also a grey area as that is technically a training activity.

      Accepting money for hauling is a big one too. (Though in general accepting money for hauling isn’t a good idea if you aren’t a commercial hauler).

  1. Remuneration is a big one and the reason I am not currently an amateur. I rode with a trainer for about 2 years and worked in exchange for riding his horse. Not worth being considered a pro when my skills are not pro level. I’ve got another year plus before I’m an ammy again.

  2. Up here there’s a bit of a grey area around teaching. If you only certified as an instructor (not a coach) and only teach dead beginners that aren’t showing then your usually ok. Reading all the rules makes my eyes cross.

  3. yea i really don’t know much about it, other than i just avoid payments of any kind. no trailer fees for riding with me, and no i will not give your child a lesson, tho i’ll be happy to ride ‘with’ them.

  4. This has been really tricky for me, as I always rode as a working student in high school, and since I was too broke to pay for lessons or board when I got to college, and my school didn’t have a team. I was definitely toeing the line by riding a bunch of my trainers horses, and getting free lessons, but since I was basically only competing in open divisions like the greens with all the green horses, no one ever complained. Honestly, I think that the rules could use some adjusting, simply because it makes things really difficult for young amateurs like myself who are definitely not pros, but also need a way to earn rides and lessons.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that even showing on a horse that isn’t yours and not paying for the classes you ride in can put you in pro status. So that friend that asks you to do their horse in a class for them? If you don’t pay for the class, but USEF rules, that makes you a pro. But then again, there are tons of people out there who show as amateurs even though they clearly cross the lines, and nobody really says anything.

  5. I just know I’m stuck as a pro! But I teach lessons and get paid to ride horses so it makes sense. At least in dressage, all it does is change my placing (since I ride against pros vs ammys) vs my score, sometimes in my favor. It also takes away my ability to ride in the regional adult amateur championships and qualify for the amateur clinics. I’m okay with that since I’m not super competitive and I can just ride with a clinician outside of those clinics if I wanted to.

    The interesting thing about dressage, and I dunno if this is across the board, is that juniors are only age-bound, so they can actually be trainers and still compete as juniors. So one of my kids, who is 17, gets paid to ride, teach, and generally do horse things and still rides as a junior. But when she turns 21, she’ll have to decide. That happened to me, I’ve never actually been an amateur. It was daunting to be 22 and riding against the pros! But I managed.

  6. A friend and I have discussed this rule to death, since both of us are certified as therapeutic riding instructors, have worked as therapeutic riding instructors, and have obviously accepted money as therapeutic riding instructors. She doesn’t feel it’s fair to be marked as a professional since the extent of our teaching was essentially telling people to sit up while they were led. (This isn’t the case for ALL therapeutic riding students; the center where we worked just happens to have many significantly disabled clients.)

    She doesn’t do rated dressage shows and shows as an adult amateur in the local schooling show series. I don’t do rated dressage either, but show as an open rider at the same shows; for me, it’s mainly because I have accepted money to ride horses for people. The therapeutic riding is sort of a weird area, though, and I can see why my friend doesn’t want to be categorized as a pro!

  7. We had a young student that rode my horse for a while and had to be very careful about how we handled that situation, as there was no point in getting a young pony clubber in this kind of a situation as a teenager. I was not allowed to pay her anything, and she didn’t show for me. But she did get nice Christmas presents 🙂

  8. I find the amateur rules also very vague in some areas. Like obviously I can’t teach, I get that. But what about being a brand ambassador? What about catch riding?

    I find it sad that so many amateurs I know are willing to work and take on extra part-time jobs to support their hobby of owning and showing horses (which is quite expensive), but are unable to leverage their knowledge and experience around horses to do so.

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