Review This: New USEF Rule Changes for Amateurs + More

The USEF Board of Directors met on November 22, 2021 and approved the following Extraordinary Rule Changes that went into effect on December 1, 2021.

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.
  • GR1306.2
    Allows amateurs in the American Saddlebred, Saddle Seat Equitation, Morgan, Arabian, Andalusian/Lusitano, National Show Horse, Paso Fino, and Western Divisions to accept remuneration for teaching beginner riding lessons in a non-competition environment for fewer than 20 hours a week under the following conditions:

    1. The amateur must register with USEF prior to performing any instruction.
    2. Total lesson time cannot exceed 20 hours per calendar week.
    3. Lessons must be given under the oversight of a USEF Competing Member in good standing who is designated as a Professional.
    4. Lessons cannot be conducted at a competition, including Federation Licensed Competitions and non-licensed competitions.
    5. Student must be a beginner who has not competed and is not competing at any level of competition, and lessons must not exceed the basic beginner level.
    6. Teacher must maintain a log of all lessons. Log must include lesson date, lesson time and name of student.
    7. A USEF Competing Member designated as a Professional must review the teacher’s log and verify its accuracy.
    8. The teacher and professional are responsible and accountable for compliance with this rule.
    9. USEF may request proof of compliance and refusal to provide such proof constitutes a violation of the rule.
      Information on the registration process for amateurs who plan to teach beginner lessons will be available soon.
  • 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 here

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 [email protected]. 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 and 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.
  • AR221.15
    Adding lameness to the list of penalties in Arabian Ranch Horse Riding and Ranch Horse Rail Pleasure classes, thereby providing judges the ability to disqualify an entry if warranted.
  • 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 December 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.


A comprehensive list of the rule changes approved by the Board of Directors at the November 22, 2021 Meeting can be seen here.