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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Changes to the rules governing amateurs from the November USEF Board of Directors Meeting

LEXINGTON, Ky.--The USEF Board of Directors met on Nov. 22 and approved the following Extraordinary Rule Changes that went into effect Dec. 1.

Tina Brown on WandererAmateur Tina Brown compeing at Devon showgroundsMost interesting were the Amateur Rule Changes put forward by the USEF Amateur Task Force

• GR1306.1
Allows amateurs to accept remuneration for performing specified barn duties, including lunging, without affecting their amateur status.

• GR1306.1
Increases the value of a non-monetary token or gift of appreciation an amateur can receive from less than $300 to less than $1,000 annually.

• GR1306.2
Allows amateurs to receive renumeration as a Social Media Influencer or Social Media Brand Ambassador. The rule change also designates individuals who accept remuneration for the use of commercially logoed items while on competition grounds as Sponsored Riders, and therefore professionals. The rule change added definitions for Social Media Influencer, Social Media Brand Ambassador, and Sponsored Riders to differentiate between activities allowed and disallowed by amateur participants.

GR1306.6
Includes a one-time exception for individuals aged 18 to 25 who engage in professional activities to reapply for amateur status after a utilizing a three-month waiting period.

The complete updated Amateur Rule is available on the USF website.

If you now qualify as an amateur under these new rules and wish to be reclassified as an Amateur, please submit a letter to the Regulation Department outlining the horse related activities which previously led you to select/hold professional status and explain, as accurately as possible why you believe you are now eligible for Amateur status. You must also verify that you are otherwise eligible for amateur status. The letter must be signed and notarized. The letter can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Regulation Department will review the letter and update your status accordingly. Any concerns surrounding the request will be forwarded to the Hearing Committee Co-Chairs for review. The Regulation Department may request additional information from you, as necessary. No fee will be required from individuals who are benefiting from the changes to the rule.

Safety & Welfare Rule Changes

• GR849
Any human injury occurring at a licensed competition of which competition management is made aware must also be reported to the Federation on the applicable Accident/Injury form, including injuries to non-competitors such as grooms, spectators, owners, etc.

• GR702.1
Violations of the 2021 updated USEF Code of Conduct are now included in the list of violations against which penalties may be imposed.

• DR 133.5
Remove “riding without stirrups” from the list of additional movements and exercises that may be requested in Dressage Seat Equitation classes. This is a safety issue, as it impacts young children, some new to dressage, and those who compete on borrowed horses.

• EV153.4
For safety reasons an Eventing competitor who receives a Compulsory Retirement Penalty at Training level or above, will not be given permission to ride the cross-country course.

• EV108
In Eventing, placement poles are now prohibited for jumps at National Horse Trials.

In addition, several Competition Task Force proposed rule changes specific to the Hunter/Jumper competition environment were approved that will take effect Dec.1, 2022 for the 2023 competition year.

These rule changes were necessary to support the 2023 Hunter/Jumper competition restructure approved by the USEF Board earlier this year.

USEF and USHJA have been working collaboratively to initiate these rule changes in order to address the needs and priorities identified through member and competitor feedback that include:

• Safety, fairness and enjoyment
• Accessibility based on location, cost and offerings
• Opportunities to attend well-organized, appropriate quality competitions at all levels that comply with standards
• Meaningful recognition for horses and athletes at all levels
• Simplification of the sport

The Competition Task Force will be hosting a member webinar in the coming weeks and providing additional resources to assist competition organizers and members in better understanding the updated competition structure.

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