The USEF Regulation Department reviewed a selection of common questions that flood their inbox for The Chronicle. Note: each of the scenarios assumes that all other qualifications for amateur certification have been met.
Q: I’m a 19-year-old working student who does barn work and hacks customers’ horses around the farm to keep them fit. I do not get paid cash; I do get free lessons, board and housing in exchange for my work. Am I an amateur?
A: No, your exchange for lessons, board, and housing is considered remuneration. Pursuant to Chapter 13, GR1306.2, you could do so if you were on an internship from an accredited university.
Q: I occasionally show a friend’s horse in the low hunters to give it some miles. She pays my entry fees and stabling. I do not show any other horses at the show. Am I an amateur?
A: Yes, you are permitted to compete horses and have the expenses for the horse paid for (or reimbursed to you) if you are otherwise qualified pursuant to Chapter 13, GR1306.1.
Q: I gallop racehorses two mornings a week for a small amount of money in order to round out my equestrian education. Am I an amateur?
A: No, the amateur rules do not separate disciplines. If you are being paid to ride horses, then you are considered a professional.
Q: I teach two beginner riding lessons a week. Am I an amateur?
A: No. If you receive remuneration for these activities, then you are a professional.
Q: I volunteer teaching riding lessons to inner city kids. Am I an amateur?
A: As long as you are receiving no remuneration, you may maintain amateur status; however, as always we warn about the perception of teaching lessons, and suggest you have information available validating your volunteer activities.
Q: I teach therapeutic riding lessons. Am I am amateur?
A: Yes, pursuant to Chapter 13, GR1306.1b, you may give instruction and training to the handicapped.
Q: I’m a 19-year-old college student who just got a job teaching beginner riding lessons at a summer camp this June. Am I an amateur? Explain the “summer camp exception.”
A: The exception that you are referring to is in Chapter 13, GR1306.1b, which allows for persons acting as counselors at summer camp who are not hired in the exclusive capacity of riding instructors and are permitted to maintain amateur status as long as they are otherwise qualified within Chapter 13, GR1306. In this case, the student cannot maintain amateur status because he or she is being hired in the capacity of a riding instructor. The intention of this rule is to allow counselors, who also teach arts and crafts, swimming, or have numerous duties at a camp to be able work in a summer camp without jeopardizing their status.
Q: In my spare time I ride sales horses and hack friends’ horses for them around the farm. I do not get paid, reimbursed or receive any gifts for this. Am I an amateur?
A: Yes, as long as there is no other financial connection to this friend.
Q: I am taking some time off from riding after an injury and am leasing out my horse, effectively making a profit. Do I lose my amateur status? What if it’s a “free lease,” i.e., someone else rides the horse and pays his bills?
A: Leasing out a horse does not affect your status as an amateur, as long as you are otherwise qualified pursuant to Chapter 13, GR1306.
Q: I own a busy boarding barn. I hired a trainer to run a lesson program and take lessons from him. Am I an amateur?
A: Yes, you may maintain amateur status and own a boarding stable. You are permitted to take lessons from the trainer on your horses; however, please be aware that pursuant to Chapter 13, GR1306.1f, you cannot ride, drive, show, etc., any of the horses that are boarded at your facility or for whom your trainer trains through your facility.
Q: I am employed by Mrs. Smith as a bookkeeper/baby-sitter/personal assistant. May I show a horse owned by her? She is not paying me to ride her horse specifically.
A: No, pursuant to Chapter 13, GR1306.1c, an amateur cannot accept remuneration in another capacity and ride, drive, show, etc., any horse owned, boarded, or trained by the employer (payer) or any member of their family or corporation owned or controlled by them.
Q: I braided/shod/clipped Mrs. Smith’s horse one time this year. May I show a horse owned by her? She is not paying me to ride her horse specifically.
A: If you are not currently receiving remuneration for the activity and will not receive such in the near future, then it should not be an issue, but as stated in the Federation’s introduction in this matter, should a protest or charge be filed, it would be up to the Hearing Committee to note the payments and financial relationship of the individuals.
Q: Can I groom, braid or clip and still be an amateur?
A: You could do the above, but not ride, drive, show, train any horses owned by the payer.
Q: I am a veterinarian/farrier/equine chiropractor. Am I an amateur?