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Were professionals always allowed in equestrian events?

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  • Were professionals always allowed in equestrian events?

    I may be showing my age a bit, but I remember when they started allowing professionals in most sports in the olympics in 1986 but it seems that equestrian athletes were always allowed to compete as professionals.

    Does anyone know when professional equestrians were allowed to compete as opposed to amateurs only if ever?

  • #2
    It kind of depends on what you mean by 'professional'. Until the 1952 games, only military members were allowed to compete in Eventing. Since they did get paid to ride and train with horses, as well as other military duties (the percentage of riding time, I do not know), one could consider them a professional.

    With horses, there has always been a fuzzy line between pro and ammy and some people end up being able to claim amateur status because they 'fix' the books to make it seem as though they are amateurs when they are not. I'm not accusing any current or form riders - just sayin in general it is possible.

    Basically the line is not as clear as the one between a college hockey student and a member of the NHL.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't know when the rules were changed but Rodney Jenkins was not allowed to compete in the Olympics because he was a professional.

      Comment


      • #4
        Last night I was reading the part in The Show Gypsies when Dave freaks out at Diane for breaking her ammie status and blowing her shot at the Olympic team, and I was trying to remember when the no-pro rule changed. I'm sure I could Google an answer, but I'm counting on someone piping in here. :-)

        Wasn't there a change across all sports? I'm thinking of the basketball "Dream Team" a few years back that was composed almost entirely of NBA MVPs...?

        Comment


        • #5
          There were VERY strict amateur regulation for riding in the Olympics through the late 60s.

          When my sister, then in high shcool, was offered the opprortunity to ride 2 yo race horses at the TB barn across the street, the barn owner (Mrs. Waller, whose father, Mr Kirby, had been involved in founding the modern Olympics) made sure that she understood that by taking this job (as a junior) she was FOREVER giving up eligibility for the Olympics.

          In those days, strict amateur rules also applied to the Nations Cups. The first US pros who were permitted to ride in the Nations Cup (at Washington, MSG, and the Royal in Canada) were Rodney Jenkins and Harry DeLeyer.

          After that, the amateur restrictions for the Olympics were transferred to the governing body for each sport(rather than the IOC).
          Janet

          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks, I think i found it......

            Thanks to the Rodney Jenkins reference I found it! Below is the link to an article in 1987 about him saying how excited he was that he would be able to compete in an olympics or pan am games due to a new rule.


            http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...52C1A961948260

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm glad you found it!

              I do remember a time when the rules were changed and pros were allowed to compete, but I don't remember when exactly. The 80s sounds about right, though.

              Remembering when the rules were different is the main reason I'm glad that baseball is being discontinued.
              Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
              People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
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              • #8
                Oh my gosh,I remember the hoo ha this caused in UK.

                Many of us who made a living from horses were told in no uncertain terms,that We would never be allowed to compete in the Olympics.

                Then when we watched the games,there were people riding who were in business with us,bought and sold horses from us.

                They were representing their countries,but we could'nt,or werent allowed to represent our country.

                It caused a lot of hard feelings.
                \"I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound\".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Janet View Post
                  There were VERY strict amateur regulation for riding in the Olympics through the late 60s.

                  When my sister, then in high shcool, was offered the opprortunity to ride 2 yo race horses at the TB barn across the street, the barn owner (Mrs. Waller, whose father, Mr Kirby, had been involved in founding the modern Olympics) made sure that she understood that by taking this job (as a junior) she was FOREVER giving up eligibility for the Olympics.

                  In those days, strict amateur rules also applied to the Nations Cups. The first US pros who were permitted to ride in the Nations Cup (at Washington, MSG, and the Royal in Canada) were Rodney Jenkins and Harry DeLeyer.

                  After that, the amateur restrictions for the Olympics were transferred to the governing body for each sport(rather than the IOC).
                  Ah, I suspected Janet would come through for us -- thanks!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't think it was as cut and dry as some are saying, esp for the eventers and dressage riders.
                    With showjumping, it was easier, if you rode for prize money, you obviously couldn't go, so the likes of Rodney Jenkins, Harvey Smith, Eddie Macken, all the top pros in the world in the 70's.
                    There was no prize money in eventing and dressage, but some of those riders you had to wonder if they were making a living in the horseworld, or at least a partial living.
                    What was the Shockemole brothers official occupation when they competed in the '76 Olympics? How about the likes of Bruce Davidson, did he have a day job prior to the '88 Olympic games? I've often wondered what the exact definition was back then.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While there were strict rules about professionals not competing in the Olympics, not all countries adhered to them and gave money under the table to people who were in fact true professionals. Bill Steinkraus held down a full time job as a book editor while riding with the USET, Reiner Klimke was a practicing attorney. In fact RK switched from eventing to dressage in part because he said he didn't have the necessary time to commit to eventing.

                      I don't think prize money had anything to do with it, that is money the horse won. People who earned their livlihood in the horse business by boarding, teaching, showing other people's horses, etc. they were considered professionals.

                      Mary and Frank Chapot had their own barn of horses while riding for the USET but I don't think they trained anyone else, etc. in order to maintain their amateur status (at least they didn't openly do that).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I could be wrong, but I thought the amateur status was initially officially broken in one of the 70's games with Russia sending professional hockey or basketball players to the games. That's when the rest of the world started talking about adding pros in - I could be wrong though. I'm attempting to find out now.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ajierene View Post
                          I could be wrong, but I thought the amateur status was initially officially broken in one of the 70's games with Russia sending professional hockey or basketball players to the games. That's when the rest of the world started talking about adding pros in - I could be wrong though. I'm attempting to find out now.
                          Well, the problem was that in the communist countries like the USSR, the state supported the athletes and they did not have to have real jobs. So the distinction between who was a pro and who wasn't didn't make any sense in comparing communist and capitalist countries.
                          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So lets take an example, say the '84 Olympics, the last amatuer games.
                            Here are the team medal winners. Does anyone know what these people's official occupations were in 1984? Most were well known pros afterwards.


                            Joseph Fargis
                            Conrad Homfeld
                            Leslie Howard
                            Melanie Smith
                            Michael Whitaker
                            John Whitaker
                            Steven Smith
                            Timothy Grubb
                            Paul Schockemöhle
                            Peter Luther
                            Franke Sloothaak
                            Fritz Ligges

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                              I don't know when the rules were changed but Rodney Jenkins was not allowed to compete in the Olympics because he was a professional.
                              But he did compete in the Olympics once, after the rules were changed.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                From Wikkipedia

                                According to Wikipedia, quoted below, each sport was allowed to make its own rule after 1970. So the FEI must have changed the rule for equestrian sports?


                                "Initially, only amateurs were considered such; professional athletes were not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. A short-lived exception was made for professional fencing instructors. This exclusion of professionals has caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics. 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon champion, Jim Thorpe, was disqualified when it was discovered that he played semi-professional baseball prior to winning his medals. He was restored as champion on compassionate grounds by the IOC in 1983. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport and were considered professionals.

                                It gradually became clear to many that the amateurism rules had become outdated, not least because the self-financed amateurs of Western countries often were no match for the state-sponsored "full-time amateurs" of Eastern bloc countries. Nevertheless, the IOC, led by President Avery Brundage, held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. In the 1970s, after Brundage left, amateurism requirements were dropped from the Olympic Charter, leaving decisions on professional participation to the international federation for each sport. This switch was perhaps best exemplified by the American Dream Team, composed of well-paid NBA stars, which won the Olympic gold medal in basketball in 1992. As of 2004, the only sports in which no professionals compete is boxing and baseball (though even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees); in men's football (soccer), the number of players over 23 years of age is limited to three per team."
                                "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
                                  So lets take an example, say the '84 Olympics, the last amatuer games.
                                  Here are the team medal winners. Does anyone know what these people's official occupations were in 1984? Most were well known pros afterwards.


                                  Joseph Fargis
                                  Conrad Homfeld
                                  Leslie Howard
                                  Melanie Smith
                                  Michael Whitaker
                                  John Whitaker
                                  Steven Smith
                                  Timothy Grubb
                                  Paul Schockemöhle
                                  Peter Luther
                                  Franke Sloothaak
                                  Fritz Ligges
                                  Are you sure it was 1984? I thought it was earlier. At any rate, many amateurs (Fargis, Homfeld) had their own barns but technically they weren't getting paid by anyone and weren't earning a living doing it. Whether they were being honest or not, you be the judge. Some were but many probably were not but I have no idea which ones. And I believe you could sell horses without being considered a professional, as long as you weren't a dealer. But if Frank Chapot just happened to have a few too many horses on his property and sold a few that was OK.

                                  And if you are old enough to remember the iron curtain countries, all of their athletes were professionals in the sense that their government provided them with homes, cars, money, and other perks and they trained full time, whether they were ice skaters or equestrians. Of course they were under extreme pressure to come home with medals too. In the Soviet Union Olympic titles could earn you your own apartment, fresh fruit and vegetables or a steak, luxuries the common folk didn't have access to. Many young married couples had to live with their parents once they married, you couldn't just go out and rent an apartment the way you would in a capitalist society. The world has changed drastically over the last several decades.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
                                    According to Wikipedia, quoted below, each sport was allowed to make its own rule after 1970. So the FEI must have changed the rule for equestrian sports?
                                    I distinctly remember that during the 70's the likes of Eddie Macken and Paul Darragh were not allowed to compete on the Irish jumping teams at the OG, and I'm pretty sure in '84 also. So the rule change had to have been after that.

                                    Actually I just found this interesting tidbit on a wikipedia piece on Eddie Macken....

                                    The Olympics frame his other great regret. When he and Boomerang were at the peak of their powers Macken was barred from competing at the Games because he was a professional and had sponsorship. Other countries, Macken noted, didn’t apply the rules so stringently. In Germany in 1976 he watched Alwin Schockemöhle return from Montreal with the individual gold medal Macken felt might have been his.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Eclectic Horseman, I wish I had seen your post before I spent so much time writing mine. At least you confirmed for me that it was in the 70's and not 1984.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I also thought the roster for '76 was starting to look less "pure amateur".
                                        Janet

                                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                        Comment

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