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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2003
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    Midwest
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    Default Professional in Opportunity Class? WWYD?

    As background, I'm a show official (manager or secretary) at numerous area recognized dressage shows. Because of this, I tend to keep an eye on area shows to see which riders are showing where, how many entries the other shows are getting compared to ours, etc.

    Looking at a recognized show this weekend I noticed that a professional rider/trainer is entered into an opportunity class. Now.... Frankly, it's none of my business if another show operator wants to allow this, but it *is* a rule violation, as the rules state Opportunity classes are for "entry level riders."

    I actually really like the trainer and am surprised she would ethically even enter an opportunity class. I think there is probably a decent chance it is actually a mistake and maybe the owner entered her into the wrong class.

    I don't get along particularly well with the show operators, so don't really want to step on any toes.

    I'm inclined not to say anything, but at the same time, this is incredibly unfair to the "real" opportunity riders who are presumably green riders or lower level riders on green horses.

    Would you say anything or tip off the TD or anything like that? I'm inclined to mind my own business, but it's also kind of annoying to see such a blatant misuse of the class.

    Spectrum.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2011
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    813

    Default

    If you are involved with the show in question, then say something. If you aren't, then let it be.



  3. #3
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    May. 26, 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
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    Default

    For me, opportunity classes are a great chance to show without all the fees, for whatever reason. I didn't realise that it was stated anywhere that it was for entry level riders. I would imagine that a pro would be showing a client's horse in an opportunity class simply to save the owner on all the non-member fees (maybe they are entry-level showhorse owners!)

    So where is the line on entry-level riders? I have shown at national competitions up to second level, but stopped for a few years while I had a young horse. We debuted last year at intro and opportunity classes - would that violate the "Entry level rider" rule?



  4. #4
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    Default

    There is no rule that limits opportunity classes to amateurs.

    http://www.usef.org/documents/compet...tyClassFAQ.pdf
    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
    The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!
    SillyHorse adds: Or your wine.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2008
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    The eastern edge of the eventing wasteland
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    518

    Default

    Hmmm.....I rode my clients horse in two Opportunity classes this past weekend, Tr. 1 & 2.

    According to the prizelist:
    "Riders are exempt from USEF/USDF rider/horse registration, membership fees and drug/meds fee unless they enter other non-opportunity classes, except for Introductory Level. All other USEF/USDF rules apply."

    Nothing in their about being an Open rider vs. AA vs Jr. rider.

    I did this to save my client money. This was the horses first USEF show. Heck as far as I know it was his first show ever.
    She is new to dressage as is the horse and this was the perfect way to get their feet wet.

    The TD said nothing about it, neither did the judge who I scribed for in the afternoon.

    We did fairly well getting a 63+% in each class.

    We were the only ones in that class, sadly. I wish more people would take advantage of them! As well as the Academy classes that are offered.

    As for Open vs. AA vs Jr. rider these shows do not split the class unless there is 10 or more. (Which is usually Intro & Training) It is the same in eventing and in H/J. If you go in the Jumpers or Hunters you are against everyone else, unless the classs specifially states otherwise. If you go BN eventing you can be up against an Olympian.

    As a trainer I tell my clients this. That is showing. If you beat the Olympian or come in second then HOT DAMN!

    It comes down to going out there and doing the best you can and realizing on the day someone may be better or you may have bad luck or the horse doesn't want to play. Or you may just come in first!
    "You're horse is behind the vertical!"
    "Of course he's behind the vertical, I haven't jumped it yet!"
    - NLK
    "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo
    www.nshaonline.org



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2008
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
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    3,270

    Default

    I don't know the rule but I fail to see why it would be "unethical" even if it were illegal, which I don't believe it is either. Who is to say the pro has to make the client (or even herself if that is her own horse) to pay the horse ID fee or no-member fee just so they can ride in regular classes if none is inclined to do so?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2009
    Location
    Connecticut
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    263

    Default

    http://www.usef.org/documents/discip...tyClassFAQ.pdf

    I don't see where it is a "restricted" class.
    Mirror Image 2001-2007



  8. #8
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    Deep South
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    Default

    http://www.usef.org/documents/compet...tyClassFAQ.pdf

    9. Can I offer one of these "opportunity" classes as restricted to Adult Amateurs?
    Yes, but per Rule GR821.5, if an "opportunity" class is restricted to Amateurs, then the rider must have an amateur status on file with USEF or pay the $30 non-member amateur card fee.

    13. Can a horse and rider cross-enter into other dressage classes?
    Yes. Your prize list must state if "opportunity" riders/horses will be allowed to cross enter into other recognized classes at your show. Please note, however, if a horse or rider enters other non-opportunity classes at your competition in which membership by participants is required, all USEF and USDF membership requirements apply for horse, rider, owner, trainer, etc. (See GR901.9 for more information.)
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    15,556

    Default

    Uh oh, time for a rant.

    People! If an "opportunity class" was made for the purpose of inviting noobs into our obscure and hoity-toity looking sport, then for godsake don't screw those up. It may come sooner, it may come later, but you are sh!tting where you eat, you professional horse trainers, if you don't leave the novice classes for the novices.

    And you "don't want to offend" types! Juse your words, please. *Ask* the pro if he/she had meant to ride in a class meant for beginning riders. If she says, "Nope, honest mistake," she can change, get a new piece of correct information and life goes on just fine.... without more of this. If, on the other hand, she gives you the finger, you can then give her the finger right back and report her, or cancel her entry or whathaveyou.

    But not asking because you can't think of a way to be politic or because you couldn't stand a cheater telling you where to go when you are in the right is to sacrifice the honest competitor.

    IMO, we need to police our sport ourselves. And we can learn a lot by figuring out how to do that with the maximum kindness and grace.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  10. #10
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    Feb. 9, 2000
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    Default

    GR821.2.e.2 does say the class is for entry level riders, but the shows I have seen have allowed pros to show horses who didn't have HIDs or for owners new to dressage who weren't yet members of anything.

    It is a good way to introduce them to the sport, which is the purpose of the division.



  11. #11
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    Oct. 13, 2007
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    745

    Default

    I think it reflects poorly on the pro who entered the class, but I can understand if they have an owner who wants the horse to get out, wants to hang with all her barn friends, but does not want to be into the federations for $$$ for one show for the season. If the pro has entered their own horse as a way to avoid the HID or lifetime registration, yuck, or to get themselves a championship then what does that say about the pro? The classes were directed at the rider, but until there is a rule outlining it, there will be pros in the class. But I think the same of a pro riding Intro.

    We have a pro in my area that actively enters test 1 & 2 of the level to earn points towards a championship, and never enters the highest test, thus avoiding the bulk of the competition. She boasts about her show championships and season championships. We all roll our eyes at her.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 5, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    GR821.2.e.2 does say the class is for entry level riders, but the shows I have seen have allowed pros to show horses who didn't have HIDs or for owners new to dressage who weren't yet members of anything.

    It is a good way to introduce them to the sport, which is the purpose of the division.
    In H/J Professionals are mostly excluded for two reasons :
    'Entry Level' is adhered to.
    GR821 states that for H/J if a rider has competed in a regular division they are not eligible and the rule goes on to specifiy that 'zone' divisions count the same way as regular divisions.. This prevents even many Amateur Owner riders from competing in these classes.

    But the dressage rules have a variety of exclusions and exceptions that would seem to allow Pros showing Dressage to compete in Opportunity. Sort of defeats the purpose of the program.....

    Someone seemed to think that there was nothing in the rules about an exemption for owners or trainers of Opportunity horses regarding not needing USEF numbers.
    That language is already in the General Rules:

    "(5) Horses, riders, owners, trainers, and coaches participating only in Opportunity classes are exempt from Federation and affiliate organization membership and Horse Identification (HID) requirements and non-member fees, but are required to list the Federation membership number if the participant is a member"



  13. #13
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    Feb. 9, 2000
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    Default

    It doesn't totally defeat the purpose of the program.

    A pro showing Opportunity with a horse for an owner new to dressage is a great way to get that owner interested in dressage without all those fees scaring them off before they even get started.

    Hopefully they will get hooked, and eventually the owner will have to sign up to be able to progress up the levels or to win awards.



  14. #14
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Default

    http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBo...neralrules.pdf

    GR821 OPPORTUNITY ClASSES.
    1. Opportunity Classes:
    a. may be held at breed restricted or Hunter and/or Hunter Jumper competitions with no FEI recognized classes, Western Regular or Local Competitions. Classes must be open to all breeds unless it is a breed restricted competition. In a breed restricted competition it must be stated in the prize list if the classes will be restricted or open. Exception: At any USEF licensed competition, opportunity classes may not be restricted to Friesians.
    b. are limited to 10% of the total number of the competition’s classes, with a maximum of 20 Opportunity Classes per competition, whichever is less.
    c. may be held in addition to Exhibition Classes.

    2. Opportunity Classes:
    a. do not count towards Horse of the Year Awards and the results from Opportunity Classes may not be used by any entity for a national awards program. Only with permission of the respective recognized affiliate organization may results from Opportunity Classes be used for regional awards. BOD 1/23/11 Effective 12/1/11
    b. cannot be used as a qualifying class for any championship class held at the competition except an Opportunity Class championship at the competition.
    c. cannot be considered in reckoning Competition Championships awarded on points except an Opportunity Class championship at the competition.
    d. do not count towards the minimum number of classes nor amount of prize money offered when determining the rating of the competition.
    e. Dressage classes can be offered as Opportunity classes at Dressage Competitions or Regular/Local Competitions with “Open” Dressage classes as described below:
    (1) Classes are limited to the following competition levels and dressage tests:
    (a) Level 1 competitions may offer two tests and only two classes per level at Training- Second Level.
    (b) Level 2 competitions may offer two tests and only two classes per level per day at Training - First Level.
    (c) Level 3 competitions may offer two tests and only two classes per day at Training Level.
    (d) Level 4 and Level 5 competitions may not offer Opportunity classes.
    (2) Opportunity Classes are for entry level riders.
    (3) Freestyles may not be offered as Opportunity classes.
    (4) All rules and regulations in GR821 must be followed, except for GR821.6.
    (5) Horses, riders, owners, trainers, and coaches participating only in Opportunity classes are exempt from Federation and affiliate organization membership and Horse Identification (HID) requirements and non-member fees, but are required to list the Federation membership number if the participant is a member.
    f. Breed restricted Dressage classes can be offered as opportunity classes at Regular/Local breed restricted competitions.
    g. Opportunity Classes for Hunter/Jumper/Equitation Divisions.
    (1) Opportunity Classes are for entry level riders.
    (2) May be held at USEF regular or local rated competitions.
    (3) All Opportunity classes and divisions must have fences 2’6” or below.
    (4) Any rider that has shown in a Zone pointed division, such as a children’s hunter division is not eligible.
    (5) Any rider that has shown in a regular division (such as regular ponies) is not eligible.
    (6) All rules and regulations in section GR821 should be followed, except GR821.7 (no crossing over into rated divisions).
    3. Horses entered only in these classes are still subject to and must comply with the Drugs and Medication rules and are subject to drug testing.
    4. Horses entered only in these classes:
    a. are exempt from the Federation fee, including the Equine Drugs and Medication fee.
    b. are not required to have a Horse Identification (HID) or Recording Number but are to list the HID or Recording number if the horse has been assigned this number.
    5. If entered in opportunity classes restricted to amateurs, riders/drivers/handlers are required to have an amateur status with USEF or pay the $30 non-member amateur card fee.
    6. Riders/drivers/handlers entered only in these classes are exempt from the Federation membership requirements and are not required to pay a non-member fee but are required to list the Federation membership number if the participant is a member.
    7. The prize list must state whether or not horses and/or riders/drivers/handlers entered in Opportunity Classes can cross enter into the rated/recognized classes at the same competition. If cross entry is allowed, all applicable fees and membership requirements apply.
    8. The list of Opportunity Classes offered must include “Opportunity” in the class name. The classes may include but are not limited to the following categories:
    a. Opportunity Pleasure (Saddleseat, Hunter, and/or Western)
    b. Opportunity Equitation (Saddleseat, Hunter, and/or Western)
    c. Opportunity Costume (Historic and/or Contemporary)
    d. Opportunity Trail (English and/or Western)
    e. Opportunity Driving (Show Pleasure Driving and/or Carriage Pleasure Driving)
    f. Opportunity Walk-Trot (Pleasure and/or Equitation)
    g. Opportunity Gaited (Three-gaited, Five-gaited, and/or Paso Fino)
    h. Opportunity Reining
    i. Opportunity In-hand classes (Amateur and/or Junior Handler)
    j. Opportunity Fun Classes
    k. Opportunity classes for Hunter/Jumper/Equitation Divisions 2’6” and under
    l. Opportunity classes for Dressage
    9. Unless the competition is using existing USEF class specifications, the prize list must list the class specifications for each Opportunity Class, to include but not be limited to:
    a. Gaits required
    b. Judging criteria
    c. Attire, tack and equipment allowed
    10. Opportunity Classes may be judged by any judge officiating at the competition. Conflict of interest rules in GR1304 apply.
    11. The competition must submit full results of all Opportunity Classes as required in GR1214.
    Horses with HID or Recording members and participants with USEF membership numbers are to have these numbers listed in the results.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  15. #15
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    Feb. 9, 2000
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    Default

    The class does not have to be restricted to amateurs, but it is an option.

    Doing so does kind of defeat the purpose of the division, because it forces entrants to either already be a USEF member, or pay the $30 to get the non-member amateur card. The point is supposed to be you don't need memberships.

    It also leaves out juniors, in addition to the pros.



  16. #16
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    In reading what Equibrit quoted above, the only reference to entry-level riders seems to be under the Hunter/Jumper heading. I understand the issue some have regarding pros entering opportunity classes, but what about pros in other disciplines who may legitimately be entry-level dressage riders and want to bring a horse to a dressage show?
    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
    The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!
    SillyHorse adds: Or your wine.



  17. #17
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    It's under Dressage too, right under the line "Level 4 and Level 5 competitions may not offer Opportunity classes."



  18. #18
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    Default

    So it is. I need to pull out the reading glasses, I guess. But if the idea had been to exclude pros from Opportunity classes, it would have been easy enough to state that in the rules. But they don't; in fact, the rules state that Opportunity classes may be limited to amateurs, but it's not the default.
    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
    The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!
    SillyHorse adds: Or your wine.



  19. #19
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    Feb. 9, 2000
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    Default

    It probably has to do with USEF's definition of Open. Technically, anyone who is not a USEF member has to show Open, whether pro or not. So most of the time, Opportunity classes are run as an Open division, like with Intro.

    As stated before, the only way to show as an amateur is to either become a member as an ammy, or pay for an ammy card. So if you run an Opp class as restricted to amateurs, you not only cut out the Juniors as well as the pros, but you make people pay more to become amateurs. Not very competitor friendly.



  20. #20
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    Default

    I would guess that they do not want to restrict the class in order to attract new riders and horses. I don't see the problem with a pro showing Opportunity. They cannot earn points or anything else except a possible new ride/owner. Surely the only reason for a dressage pro to enter such a class would be to introduce a new horse or owner to the sport. (That is good isn't it ?) OP seems to think there is some sort of nefarious motive on the part of the pro. It's hard to believe that there could be one.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



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