You can try to legislate it to the nth degree times infinity and there will still be people that lie, cheat, compete as shamateurs, and just don't really care.
Then there will be people that are convinced that if grandma Betsy bakes Suzy q Ammy a pie for riding "Should be Glue", and grandma Betsy's pies are award winning at the kendall county fair, they are clearly accepting remuneration that is more than a token of appreciation.
There has not been a time in the 12 (EEK 12!!) years that I have opened up these boards and have not seen at least one topic on Amateur status.
I am a working ammy. Will I ever have a so called "level" playing field with those that are independently wealthy? No. Will I ever have a so called "level" playing field with those that are naturally more talented than I? No. Can I do my best and bust my butt and ride as much as I can? Yes (but only if I don't get paid to do so).
To me, the rules are pretty clear, however as all rules that have ever existed since the beginning of time, they are also open to interpretation. My typical approach is that people are generally good, people generally want to do the right thing, and if someone says they are an ammy, 99% of the time, they are. Maybe that's a pretty positive outlook, but hey, if they're cheating and I somehow manage to pull together 8 nice jumps and beat them, then all the more power to me.
IMHO making more rules will only make the cheaters cheat in a different way.
Remember. Amateur status is based on the honor system.
Last edited by Nickelodian; Jul. 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM.
and frankly the rule is pretty easy to understand. Life isn't based on fairness so go out there and do your best with what you have.
First of all, it's "Hear, hear!"
Like you and the OP, I understand the rule because I understand it's intention.
FWIW, I'll always defend a governing body's *attempt to legislate fairness*. That's because it is irrational to sign up to play in an optional and expensive kind of competition where cheating is acknowledged and allowed.
If you have enough nobility and money such that you don't care if you spent, say, $500 to take a shot at winning in your division.... would you still do that if it cost you, say, $2,000 for the week?
And when you asked your family (or yourself) to pay $$,$$$ for the next horse rather than $,$$$ because you felt you needed that quality of animal in order to make you maybe,kinda,sorta competitive against the shammies (because, remember, you are paying the same money to feed and show the winner as the loser), can you really justify the expense?
I want a level playing field. I don't want to pay to lose to cheaters because other people trot out aphorisms like "Life Ain't Fair). I can only assume that they don't mind paying to lose.
I'll settle for a governing body that attempts to limit cheating. But it bloody well needs to do that or what's it worth? Like the OP, I really want to know that my colleagues in this sport and competitors want a level playing field as well. That's where it starts and ends-- with the rank-and-file.
Where did I say I'm not interested in a level playing field? However you look at if Life isn't fair. Someone will ALWAYS have a nicer horse, or be a better rider, or have more money.
I'm a working adult that budgets for my shows, plans for my time off, and has the nicest horse I can afford. I'm going to go and do the best I can every time against the other adults that (I think) are also out to do the same.
I just don't believe that the majority of riders are out there to screw the system. You can't legislate every single person in everything they do. So yes I still think the rules that we have do a pretty good job.
Don't mean to pick on you, but I never understand why anyone would argue against a rigorous effort to keep a level playing field simply because it was hard to legislate. Were the rules required worse than the problem they would cure, then, yes, I suppose there's an argument for letting this stuff slip.
But the harder we Average Joe ammies work to pay-n-play, the more we need a governing body-- and a membership-- that protects us.
Some of that too, I suspect, comes from the general impression that cheating won't be tolerated. That stops plenty of would-be cheaters prior to any wrong-doing.
Oh, and last bit of fussiness. IIRC, picking the right word ain't a grammar issue. It's "syntax."
Actually, from my POV, my governing body is doing absolutely nothing to legislate the amateur rule. Thus my point of....Amateur status is based on the honor system. They can create rule upon rule upon rule, but until someone is willing to stick their neck out and protest a fellow rider, it's all for naught. And even if they DO protest. The burden of proof is on the protester, not the protestee.
So let's say that I protest a fellow rider, I have to somehow prove that that rider is accepting remuneration for something that is illicit per the ammy rules. That can become both sticky, and politically charged. As a jo-schmo decidedly un-connected, and un-cool average A/O rider, what would that benefit me other than a scarlet letter on my chest for the next several years?
A legislate-able rule is hard and defined and clear. The drug rule is an example of a legislate-able rule (which people constantly try to get around). Amateur status and all of its current flavor of a-z is pretty much impossible to enforce. How do you define "token of appreciation?" How would the USEF ever know if someone was slipped a 20 after each ride? There is just absolutely no way to "enforce" it. That's why it's the HONOR system. You either trust your fellow riders or you go home and create the black trak over 12 division and play by yourself.
There is honestly no way to justify the expense of horses. Level playing field does not justify the expense. Really nothing other than my joy of walking out of a 30++ division of horses with a blue ribbon justifies the expense. Those are some damned expensive pieces of nylon.
When I read post upon post of how to fix the ammy rule, or questions on if this or that goes against the ammy rule, it really makes me think that people are missing the fact that no matter how much you try to legislate it some are going to cheat, others are not, and do the best you can with what you have. If I had a billion dollars to spend on a horse to find "the winner" I can guarantee you that someone else would have a billion + 1.
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
I've taken away four things from my life in the real world and as a working ammy:
1. There are people who ride flat out better than me and have better horses. Sometimes they are wealthier than me, sometimes they are not. Sometimes they ride a made horses, sometimes they make up their own horses. A very small amount of them are shamateurs. I still got outrode. 2 bad, so sad, sux 2 b me.
2. Rules can always be improved and clarified and we always need to be ready to adapt to meet changing circumstances and be diligent about glaring loopholes as we find them.
3. Cheaters will still always find a way to cheat.
4. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be diligent about #2 and it also means I need to accept that #1 still applies in a majority of situations.
Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.