Amateur Riders How many are truly amateurs?

only_me

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I've been paid to compete other people's horses but I'm very much an amateur!
But by automatically accepting payment for riding those horses in a competition you are no longer an amateur - you become the rider for the owner of the horse.

You mightn't be a complete pro but I don't think someone being paid to ride someone else's horse should be in an amateur class.
 

paddi22

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But by automatically accepting payment for riding those horses in a competition you are no longer an amateur - you become the rider for the owner of the horse.

You mightn't be a complete pro but I don't think someone being paid to ride someone else's horse should be in an amateur class.
totally agree, once money comes into it a rider shouldn't be in an amateur class. If you are good enough to be paid, you are good enought to go against other riders who are paid.
 

paddi22

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a true amateur is someone who has a non horsey riding job, and just competes a horse or two for the fun. Once anyone starts paying riders, or riding horses that are for sale, or benefiting from competing in an 'easier' class than the pro class then i think you lose the ethos of amateur classes.
 

Ambers Echo

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It is really tricky and I am not sure you will ever find a fair way by dividing people into Amateur or Pro?
I know pros who are up at 5am to ride their 1 or 2 home produced horse and who then fund it by teaching all day long who have far less time to ride, far fewer facilities and far fewer lessons than many amateurs. I also know amateurs as described above (me too please!!) who are on full livery on pro yards with amazing facilities and top pro riders on hand and are at training clinics all the time. And who buy fabulous horses!

In some sports once you qualify for more senior classes then you have to compete in them. You can't drop down again unless you have a season without reaching those levels again. When I see people winning BE80 classes on a 22 DC I think that might be a good system! If you win 3 80Ts or score a certain standard perhaps you then HAVE to step up to 90? And do the same at all levels? And in some spprts you are penalised for being too good for the level you have entered. In swimming for example you get 'Speeding Tickets' if you go too fast at the level you are at and won't win. So there is no point entering events that are below your true level.
 
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It really is very interesting to read peoples views and also the different societies rulings on amateur status. In my opinion, if you earn money from horses whether thats a full income or just being paid to ride, produce, teach or show someones horse surely that takes you out of the amateur category. The definition of amateur is 'a person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis'

Interestingly over the weekend reading a showing magazine, in one article someone was described as being part of an amateur team who worked as 'just a hairdresser'. In another article in the same magazine was the same person being described as a 'top producer with over 20 years experience'. Now surely with over 20 years of producing horses and still producing to HOYS winning level they have received some kind of payment for this, therefore they wouldn't be an amateur?
 

nikkimariet

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But by automatically accepting payment for riding those horses in a competition you are no longer an amateur - you become the rider for the owner of the horse.

You mightn't be a complete pro but I don't think someone being paid to ride someone else's horse should be in an amateur class.
Which is exactly my point?

I don't make my living from horses. But I do make money from them. I have a full time job in a very different industry.

So if I'm not a pro. And I'm not an amateur. So where do I fit?

I most certainly wouldn't compete against people I teach and as it is I'm gold all the way up to AM now. But does that mean it's fair for me to compete against CDJ? It's an honour (even just to share the warm up with her!).

But I think the middle ground of competing is shockingly open with a good number of people that really shouldn't be competing below PSG let alone below Medium.
 

paddi22

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Which is exactly my point?

I don't make my living from horses. But I do make money from them. I have a full time job in a very different industry.

So if I'm not a pro. And I'm not an amateur. So where do I fit?
.
if you make income from horses on any level then you cannot be truly an amateur. if you are good enough to be paid, then you are in a different class to other amateurs.
 

annunziata

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I have found this thread super interesting. I do believe that anyone who makes money from horses as a business is a profession no matter how they ride. For example my friend and her other half have a business and they profit from horses. She is unable to attend the sunshine tour as a result and I feel that is completely fair as it is for amateurs. I struggle when you see professional people even at riding clubs competing as I feel that this is also for amateurs??
 

Tiddlypom

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Why isn't it fair to compete against CDJ? I don't get this attitude at all. Back in the day when I did BD, the pros could come out from Elementary upwards and all the classes were open. Hence me and my little ex RS cob lining up against Stephen Clarke and Eternal Spirit (a future international GP horse) in our first elementary. We'd never have beaten them, but we gave them a close run for their money and came 2nd, which meant far more to me than winning a restricted class.

So this whole thing of bronze, silver and gold sections seems like dumbing down to me. Let us all aim high.
 

Chuckieee

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The Petplan Area festivals were always marketed as the championships for the amateurs and look how that has turned out. You have professional combinations clearing up at the winters then coming out at the same level AF in the summer.....clearing up again.....

Yes it is all within the rules but it’s so expensive to compete at these championships that it really disincentives a true amateur who is really there just making up numbers.

TIDDLYPOM I do get what you say but if you were in the open then it wasn’t your first Ele presumably? Had it been your first ever Ele and due to the rules, you found yourself in the same class as Stephen Clarke for the season or maybe more then you might feel a bit disengaged especially in those days when it was the wins that got you through to the Regionals. I’m just trying to give you an insight into how it feels from the amateur’s perspective.

PS I’d have been proud as punch in that line up too 🤗
 

Tiddlypom

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Chuckieee, yes it was my first ever Elementary test on any horse, and it was my second year of affiliated competiton. This was in the mid 80s, when all classes from Elementary upwards were open. Additionally, points then were only given on placings, not %'s, with 7 points for a win down to 1 for 7th place.

I'm very much an amateur, I've never been paid for anything to do with horses even when helping with transport or clipping, let alone doing any teaching or dealing :).
 

be positive

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In the "old days" all classes were open whether you had competed at that level before or not, much the same as eventing which apart from the lowest levels are open to all, you may well be against the very top riders in the world in your section there are no special classes for pros or amateurs.
 

milliepops

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These days though, the pro horses are streets ahead, well, light years ahead, of what many amateur dressage bods are riding.
It's almost a different sport. I end up at the same shows as CDJ now and then, I only live 20 mins drive away after all... even when she's riding at the lower levels, what she does and what most of the rest of us do, is just so different, lol. I do support the different streams of competition, they aren't perfect, no, but I don't think someone starting out at their first shows on their home produced pony should be up against Olympians and Olympic quality horses, it was a good move IMO.
 
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Bernster

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Also been following with interest. Chuck’s post reminded me of the winner of the Chiltern and Thames dressage comp this year, which I think is also intended to be an amateur event. It was either intro or Prelim, I can’t remember (think intro) which was won by a powerhouse of a horse, and a very accomplished rider riding for the owner. They were both streets ahead of what I’d think of as an amateur, but I never really thought about it at the time as they were in a different class to me.
 

SpringArising

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if you make income from horses on any level then you cannot be truly an amateur. if you are good enough to be paid, then you are in a different class to other amateurs.
Hmm, not so sure. There's an instructor local to me who has all the relevant teaching qualifications and is very well liked, as she is supposedly a good confidence giver, but if you were to look at her ride, IMO you would not think of her as good enough to be teaching other people, IF those people wanted anything other than an eye on the ground going over the very basics.

I think you can be a good coach without being a good rider, and vice versa.
 

Chuckieee

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Chuckieee, yes it was my first ever Elementary test on any horse, and it was my second year of affiliated competiton. This was in the mid 80s, when all classes from Elementary upwards were open. Additionally, points then were only given on placings, not %'s, with 7 points for a win down to 1 for 7th place.

I'm very much an amateur, I've never been paid for anything to do with horses even when helping with transport or clipping, let alone doing any teaching or dealing :).

Crikey I think that was when people were made of tougher stuff. Fancy having to compete against someone like that in a first test at a level!!

I completely accept there is a lot of pandering in today’s world.
 

BunnyDog

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OMG you guys. I thought the US amateur rules were bad enough, we REALLY have problems with violations. But I see the same excuses on this thread that we get.

In America we call those folks "Shamateurs." They teach some lessons but 'not enough to be a pro' without grasping that even accepting a dollar makes you a pro. Period. It's a well defined as being pregnant or not. You are or you aren't. Simple as that.

But in the USA we have all sorts of unusual things an amateur is permitted to do versus not.

I'm linking our rules so you can see:

https://www.usef.org/forms-pubs/nT3TlM3v0NA/gr13-competition-participants-and

This starts at page 228, go to page 236, rule 1306 and rule 1307.

We all know it's a flawed rule. But it's the best we have so far.

Em
 

paddi22

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Hmm, not so sure. There's an instructor local to me who has all the relevant teaching qualifications and is very well liked, as she is supposedly a good confidence giver, but if you were to look at her ride, IMO you would not think of her as good enough to be teaching other people, IF those people wanted anything other than an eye on the ground going over the very basics.

I think you can be a good coach without being a good rider, and vice versa.
But you have to draw a line somewhere. And money coming into it is where we drew ours.

And in the example nikki marriet gave where she was paid to ride a horse in a class - personally I think it's slightly unsportsmanlike of the owner to enter their horse in a class of other amateurs who DIDN'T have paid riders riding them. The ethos of amateur classes is for people to have fun and enjoy their own horses, not pay riders to get results for them. And if the horse was being schooled round a course, no reason why putting it in the non-am classes in the same level would make a difference to the horses expereince of the day. But if it WASN'T just a schooling thing, and the owner wanted to achieve a certain score or placing, then its totally unfair to pay a rider to do it.
 

Chuckieee

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BD have come up with a series of championships that get a load of stick. People cuss them as championships for championshipsake. People downplay them by saying there is a championship for any Tom Dick or Harry.....

But guess what.........

They’re great fun. They give amateurs something to aim for and they generate good income for BD. I really don’t think they dump down the sport and it gets more people motivated and signing up. I think it’s a great move by BD. However I should add that at the moment, the true pros haven’t got wind of them and I haven’t seen too much pot hunting yet, although this series is not specifically aimed at amateurs so time will tell.
 

Bernster

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I loved hickstead sunshine tour for that reason. Didn’t feel out of place although ofc there were some impressive combinations, and I really enjoyed it.
 

milliepops

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BD have come up with a series of championships that get a load of stick. People cuss them as championships for championshipsake. People downplay them by saying there is a championship for any Tom Dick or Harry.....

But guess what.........

They’re great fun. They give amateurs something to aim for and they generate good income for BD. I really don’t think they dump down the sport and it gets more people motivated and signing up. I think it’s a great move by BD. However I should add that at the moment, the true pros haven’t got wind of them and I haven’t seen too much pot hunting yet, although this series is not specifically aimed at amateurs so time will tell.
couldn't agree more :)
Looking forward to my 3rd trip to the Native champs in a fortnight, it's a fab show and what I REALLY like it that it goes up to PSG which gives those of us on stumpy hairy steeds a high goal to go at, where you don't feel like you're at a huge disadvantage just because you ride a pony ;) Probably most high level pros wouldn't bother to ride these types of horses so to a degree I think they will remain amateur type comps. (maybe not strictly by definition, but i very much doubt we're going to see the likes of CDJ steal the prizes, more likely the BHSAI or livery yard owner type of pro. ;) )
 

Ambers Echo

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i always wonder would a handicap system, like golf has, ever work? Based on a horse/rider combination.
My son plays tennis and you get a ranking - even as an entry level amateur. Wins increase your ranking and losses lower it. You can then choose appropriate tournaments if you want to.
 

be positive

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My son plays tennis and you get a ranking - even as an entry level amateur. Wins increase your ranking and losses lower it. You can then choose appropriate tournaments if you want to.
Isn't this what BD are doing by having the gold, silver and bronze sections plus the numerous other championships, I cannot see it working for eventing because there are too many variables to take into account, many riders, and horses, have limitations and could not move up through the levels beyond a certain point, for some 90 may be as far as they can go.

In a way I do feel that after winning a certain amount there should be rules in place to make them move on but equally I know that for many it would be impossible and stop them being able to compete, the only option I can see would be more open classes so once the rider has won ?? FP they have to compete in opens if they don't want to move up.

The main difference with eventing and other sports is the safety aspect, if a horse lacks scope it is not safe to move on whereas in other sports is just means you do less well but no one is at any real risk if the competitor is not good enough at the level.
 

Ambers Echo

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I know nothing about DB but that sounds good.

I agree with the difficulties in eventing. If 90 is your limit but you can win at 90 with a 19 dressage (as a friend of a friend did last year on a dressage horse who can jump a bit), then where can you go if that win disqualifies you from further 90s. I hadn't thought of that! Yes more open classes would be good.

NSEA has the 30 cm rule which stops anyone who has showjumped a metre competing at 70cm. This stops super-duper ponies dropping down to 70 to qualify for the Champs although how well policed it is, I don't know.
 
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I don't understand home produced, so I no longer go in it as my younger sister and I both have schooled and competed ponies for friends, but not been paid for it. For one pony, my sister gets presents and photos at shows and gets to keep any prize money. We weren't sure so now we just don't do it. However I know several people who have their ponies schooled by other people then enter home produced and win. Someone down here lost their RI ticket because of this a few years ago.
 
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I don't understand home produced, so I no longer go in it as my younger sister and I both have schooled and competed ponies for friends, but not been paid for it. For one pony, my sister gets presents and photos at shows and gets to keep any prize money. We weren't sure so now we just don't do it. However I know several people who have their ponies schooled by other people then enter home produced and win. Someone down here lost their RI ticket because of this a few years ago.
So how i read the home produced ruling to be was that the horse needs to be kept on either DIY livery or at your own private yard. You can have lessons with professionals but the horse must stay at either DIY or own private yard. In terms of amateur i believe you can not keep the prize money as that would belong to the owner and would be seen as payment for the ride. In addition any form of gift or payments toward travel, lorry hire, diesel, riding attire or any expense for riding a horse can also be seen as payment for riding.
 
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its such a grey area the amateur / non-amateur and there will always be violations. I am well aware of the hard work that the amateur eventing in Ireland have done to try and tighten the rules and make it fair to all.
I don't think you will ever get it right....for example my best friend has 1 horse at 3*, she works full time and has just had a baby? Is she an amateur, I would say yes, but the rules would say no if she ever gets another horse.
I think the amateur v non-amateur issue arises more at the lower levels rather than higher levels and sometimes you have the make the decision whether to move up and try a higher level and forgo your amateur status -this is something I may face next season.....hopefully anyway
 
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