BY TPH STAFF
In the past year, there has been much debate on the line between professional and amateur. With the amateur “influencer rule” shut down and continued crisis determining who should and shouldn’t compete against each other, divisions will try new division separations in 2021—one based on income levels.
Instead of amateur and professional, the line will now be drawn between different socio-economic levels within the equestrian sport. The idea is to level the playing field and give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. Board member, Sally Snowflake, explains: “How is anyone on a $5,000 horse supposed to fairly compete against six figure plus animals? It’s gotten ridiculous. It’s time for the purchase price to be tagged with the rest of a horse’s microchip information.”
Though there are still details to iron out, some of the preliminary division breakdowns are as follows:
- Aged Out of Juniors But Still Not Paying Bills – An in-between division between the juniors and the adult rankings where riders are physically older than 18 but still taking no financial responsibility for any of their riding expenses.
- Paycheck to Show Bill to Paycheck – For riders who use the equivalent of 60% of their annual salary or more on their horse/riding. Designed for those who can’t save for a down payment on a house, because every time they have a small nest-egg their horse will colic or otherwise require emergency vet visits.
- My Horse Costs More Than Your House – If you need to ask details about this division, you can’t afford it.
- Successful Professionals – For professionals that enjoy client dinners, product sponsorships, and have a group of investors for promising horses.
- Scrappy Professionals – For professionals that may or may not be living out of their horse trailer, who will not turn down riding any horse (even if it’s bucking in every direction) and have less money in the bank than the average big eq rider’s monthly allowance.
- More Jobs Than Horses Owned – Designed for riders who work multiple jobs in order to afford horse showing. Classes to be on evenings and weekends only. Note: trust funds and stock dividends do not count as a second job (see Horse Costs More Than Your House division).
- Work Hard for the (Horse) Money – The working professional’s division. Allowances made to allow earbuds and other technical devices while riding in order to accept conference calls and zoom meetings ringside. Cannot cross enter with “Aged Out of Juniors But Still Not Paying Bills”
Formerly designated adult amateurs agree this is a positive step for the industry, but acknowledge there is more work to be done. Lisa Indigent, who used to ride in the Adult Amateur 18-35 division but is set to compete in PSBP (Paycheck to Show Bill to Paycheck), thinks this is only the beginning, “I won’t be happy until the tack and clothing is limited per division,” she states. “High-end labels have no business being in the same ring as those of us who are wearing the same pair of pea-green breeches with the waistband up to our boobs and a show shirt I lost the ratcatcher from years ago.”
Though there is a lot of early support for the new divisions, some think this is ruining the very integrity of our sport. Ryan Removed, a longstanding official for hunter task forces, opposes the changes. “If money can’t buy an advantage, what’s even the point?” he asks. “To make it about actual riding rather than the beauty of it all? Shenanigans!”
Regardless of your feelings, the new divisions are sure to stir up not only controversy but a renewed interest the hunter/jumper sport.