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Something I should really know, but don't...

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  • Something I should really know, but don't...

    I often see people posting about trying to maintain amateur status (does this violate still being an amateur, etc). I've also heard of trainers (who are CLEARLY trainers) sweeping it under the rug in order to compete as an amateur.

    My question is: what are the huge benefits of staying as an amateur status, and why does it seem like no one wants to declare as a professional? Wouldn't it be positive to be a professional in order to earn money for riding?

  • #2
    I think one of the benefits would be to keep from competing against other professionals in the show ring. A professional is also restricted to really showing in "Open" classes, and thus kept out of competing against any other persons who do not make a living by their involvement with horses.

    At least, this is what I've gathered. Someone please correct/affirm?
    "You either go to the hospital or you get back on! Hospital or on!"

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    • #3
      Another item that's been up for big discussion recently is how the prize money is distributed at horse shows. In recent years there's been a lot more money in amateur and junior classes than in the past which is motivation for someone to want to stay an amateur.

      There's also long been the concept of the "professional" amateur which is really someone who rides well enough to be a professional (often with plenty of money and many horses of their own to ride) but they don't teach or ride other people's horses for money so they aren't a professional. Having the rule that amateurs have to own their mount for A/O classes is supposed to help curb any issues but as with all rules it helps some things and hurts others.
      You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!

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      • #4
        It's easier to beat a 2-3 day a week rider competing the horse they own and fund with a demanding outside job/juggling kids and DH then a competent professional with access to many quality horses and ability to ride 24/7/365.

        There are also more classes for that ammy and they are conveniently schedualed weekends in most cases.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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        • #5
          I read The Eighty Dollar Champion a while back (the book about Snowman) and they had an interesting perspective about the amateur/professional dynamic. Supposedly back in the day the difference in skill levels were flip-flopped. Wealthy amateurs were the better riders because they could afford to spend all day riding for leisure while professionals were busy working at teaching lessons and doing barn chores. And so the amateur classes were restricted so that the cream of the crop in horse quality and riding ability could be highlighted. It probably had a lot to do with social class segregation too.

          Nowadays I think the rule-dodging has more to do with the fact that amateur horses are extremely pricey and worth a lot if they can be sold with a bunch of amateur titles.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RdEventer View Post
            I read The Eighty Dollar Champion a while back (the book about Snowman) and they had an interesting perspective about the amateur/professional dynamic. Supposedly back in the day the difference in skill levels were flip-flopped. Wealthy amateurs were the better riders because they could afford to spend all day riding for leisure while professionals were busy working at teaching lessons and doing barn chores. And so the amateur classes were restricted so that the cream of the crop in horse quality and riding ability could be highlighted. It probably had a lot to do with social class segregation too.

            Nowadays I think the rule-dodging has more to do with the fact that amateur horses are extremely pricey and worth a lot if they can be sold with a bunch of amateur titles.
            Lol this is what I face as a professional...I find I have a lot less time to ride when operating my own barn then I did when I got paid by another barn to do their work...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nlk View Post
              Lol this is what I face as a professional...I find I have a lot less time to ride when operating my own barn then I did when I got paid by another barn to do their work...
              Right? I free lance so I have no barn maintenance to do but in my pro rides I ride mainly green horses, ottbs fresh off the track, or total rehab cases. I get a new one in and I'm like, "OK! Let's get the rope halter and flag and see if it's broke at all!"

              My personal horse who I ATTEMPT but generally fail to get ridden 4x per week lopes over 3'6" (when we ever get around to it, which is basically never) and is preparing to show 3rd/4th level dressage and possibly make a bid for DAD this summer.

              I love all my training horses but I do find it funny when people post on COTH like it is such a huge advantage to keep 5-6 baby green squirrels in full work. Lol!
              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
              Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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              • #8
                Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                I love all my training horses but I do find it funny when people post on COTH like it is such a huge advantage to keep 5-6 baby green squirrels in full work. Lol!
                hehehe - 'baby green squirrels' love it!
                “You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky

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                • #9
                  In theory people who get paid to ride and teach are better riders than those who pay them to ride and train. Yes, there are ammies who can ride and compete with any pro, even the elites.
                  My instructor just left her job at the barn where I ride. She is a very good rider but she left in part because she rarely got to ride other than to "fix" misbehaving schoolies. Much of that fixing could have been done by better riding clients hacking them from time to time, so clearly her talents were wasted and she felt that talent no used is talent that could easily fade. Thus I understand why pro's worry about maintaining their skills.

                  The rule BTW is very convoluted because it's been stretched to cover the many ways people have found to get around it. Irony is that a good riding ammy could (in theory, in a better economy) buy, train and resell horses as their primary income and NOT be considered a professional if they don't teach or ride or show or sell on another's behalf for remuneration.
                  F O.B
                  Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                  Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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                  • #10
                    You can ride in A LOT more classes if you're an amateur at a week-long rated show. There are also many more money classes in the lower levels for amateurs than professionals.

                    As a professional, it is often difficult to find a show that offers four days of open classes. Quite often, there are two days of open classes followed by two days of amateur classes.

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