By Leone Equestrian Law
Question: I work as a groom, but I also compete myself in the amateur jumpers. I occasionally lunge horses for other clients, but I was just told that this revokes my amateur status as lunging is considered training! Is it true that just lunging a horse could revoke or put my amateur status at risk?
Answer: It may not be the answer that you want to hear, but this is true. In your situation, lunging other people’s horses does violate your amateur status – but it may not violate the amateur status of, say, your friend at the barn. Here’s why:
While your friend could lunge your horse for you as a favor with no ramification, because you are likely being compensated for your work as groom, including for the lunging of horses, you would be found in violation of U.S. Equestrian rule book rule GR1306, a.k.a. the infamous “amateur rule.”
Let’s delve a little bit deeper.
The rule states:
“3. Permitted activities by Amateur. An Amateur is permitted to do the following:
h. Accept remuneration for providing service in one’s capacity as a: clinic manager or organizer (so long as they are not performing the activities of instructor or trainer), presenter or panelist at a Federation licensed officials’ clinic, competition manager, competition secretary, judge, steward, technical delegate, course designer, announcer, TV commentator, veterinarian, groom, farrier, tack shop operator, breeder, or boarder, or horse transporter.”
You’ll see that groom is included in the list of roles which an amateur can receive remuneration for without risking their amateur status, so you may think you are in the clear. However, the rule also reads:
“…a person is a professional if after his/her 18th birthday he/she does any of the following:
a. Accepts remuneration AND rides, exercises, drives, shows, trains, assists in training, schools, or conducts clinics or seminars.”
Because lunging is considered exercising, and could also be considered training in some circumstances, it does violate the rule.
Anytime that you appear to be paid for exercising, riding, or training horses, you put your amateur status at risk. By being aware of the purpose and intent of the amateur rule, you can likely avoid running into problems with amateur status.
Whoever Stands with George Should Sit Down and Shut Up, While the USEF Needs to Stand Up and Speak Out
by Armand Leone
Sexual abuse of minors by an adult has no place in our sport. Failing to acknowledge the problems in our past guarantees that problems will continue. Regardless of how extraordinary George Morris was as a horse trainer, his abuse of young boys was unconscionable and deserves condemnation without reservation.
The recommendation of SafeSport to suspend Mr. Morris was followed by an independent arbitrator’s upholding the suspension after a full evidentiary hearing – that should be the end of the discussion. Unfortunately, it is not. Some in our equestrian community still “stand with George” and blame his victims. It is now time for these deniers to sit down and shut up.