Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

Last post 09-06-2006 10:46 AM by chaplain robert. 14 replies.
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  • 09-06-2006 10:46 AM

    Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    I was reading about this trend in the GM article in the last USEF mag of young adults (upper teens to early twenties) rushing into pro status before they are really ready. Then recently, a friend of mine that goes to Bridgewater College was telling me how one of the riders on their equestrian team (who is only 19 or 20) just went pro because she is "such a good rider."

    I'm just curious to see some opinions on this. Is it more beneficial to a person to go pro or stay amateur? I would think that if you are planning on becoming a trainer, you would stay amateur as long as you can to get the road miles without getting slaughtered in the show ring. You can still take prize money, as long as it isn't in equitation. It just seems pretentious to me that a girl that young would consider herself a "pro." It's like she is claiming in a way that she is too good to show even intercollegiate, that anything less than pro isn't good enough for her.

    My friend's argument for her is that she's been riding since she was little, she rides green horses for trainers, she's done such and such and such in the show circuit. But is that really enough to make someone a professional at what they do?

    What would you really consider makes a professional, a professional?
  • 09-06-2006 11:09 AM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    I'm of the opinion that anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a pro! That doesn't always mean they are any good though. There are some pros out there that you wouldn't see me step foot in their barn/arena.

    I dropped my ammy/non-pro card to teach lessons. I am NOT a trainer but an instructor. I didn't do it because I think I am "too good" for this or that but because I like it and I need the income. Chances are that is why she did it - there could be plenty of opportunity in going pro.

    Don't forget that many good professional riders continue to seek knowledge and information from other riders around them. The ones who aren't afraid to show up to ride at a clinic or commiserate with other riders are the ones I really admire.
  • 09-06-2006 11:15 AM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    In the areas I show(Breed and NRHA) going pro is VERY big step..Many people compete at the Amateur level for some time, garner large awards, basicaly dominant that division and then go professional..Its not something I would rush into personaly.

  • 09-06-2006 11:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    I don't think I'll ever go professional. I have no desire to train other's horses or give lessons (I'm a horrible teacher).

    It would actually give me a greater sense of accomplishment as an ammie to consistantly place over pros in Open classes--should I ever get to that level Grin
    Please visit the Morab Horse Association & Register, Inc. Dare to be different-Ride a Morab!

    Bailey & J in the 2004 Midwest Horse Fair Parade of Breeds. He was 4 years old :)

  • 09-06-2006 2:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    "Good riders" are often noticed, and get asked to ride other people's horses at shows. If it was just one or two, it wouldn't be a big deal, but when they have to ride several horses at a show they otherwise wouldn't even be going to, they have to charge. You CAN'T charge if you are an amateur, and don't think that nobody would notice the "amateur" riding several horses that didn't belong to them. They may technically not be running a large training business, but if they want to get paid to ride, they have NO CHOICE but to be declare themselves professionals. It's a big deal if you are a carded amateur and get "caught" charging for your services.

    This happened to me quite a bit not long after I was no longer a junior. Because I'm smaller/light, people would want me to school/show their ponies. It was fun, if I had the time, but then it started becoming a task to be responsible for a couple of pony's rides a day - and not even get paid. My option was to charge for the rides and become a pro, or give up the rides and stay an amateur. Today I am still an amateur. I might school/show a pony for a friend or one of my trainer's clients, but I'm not doing too much work as a "favor" if I'm not going to get paid! Other people would rather have the $, but to me it seems silly to lose your amateur status for a couple of rides at shows.
    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 09-06-2006 4:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    Good point, I didn't really think of it that way. I know there is a certain point in a horse career when you can simply no longer be an amateur (though there are those infamous shamateurs out there lol). I just thought it was rushing at being so young and going pro. I mean, she's not even done college yet! GM's point, and I agree, is that if she's getting all these free rides and the saddle time (which most people have to pay for!) she should be thankful, use it as experience, and stay amateur. I do agree however that it would be awesome to get paid to ride, but like spinandslide mentioned, it's a big step!

    Which brings me to another point... how many of you think it is way too easy to go back to amateur from being pro? Now, I know it would be unfair to say "once a pro, always a pro" but I just think it's too easy to scam the USEF. I say this knowing personally people who have amateur cards, and really shouldn't, but the way the rules are, they can. To me, there's a huge gap in skill, finances, and resources between those of us who are amateurs and probably always will be amateurs, and those pros who came back down to amateur status. In the amateur ring, it's like "us" vs. "them". Thoughts?
  • 09-06-2006 4:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    huh. Look at all I'm missing out on. I had no idea you could go back to amateur after going pro. And I've never had a bad sportsmanship experience, or have always been too busy with the green horse of the day to hear it! Grin

    How easy is it to go back?

    Thank you MadMare!!!

    "So now boss man, here's my 2 weeks,
    I'll make it short and sweet!" --Sugarland
  • 09-06-2006 4:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    In reining it is relatively easy if you have time. You must not take money for 5 years and then you can get your non pro card back, there are also other rules about what classes a person can go into afterward but it's not impossible to do. *I think. I am not worried too much about dropping my ammy status. I plan to show Paint on a provincial level and I don't believe I will be too much out of my league. And if I am, so what, I show for fun. I also hope to foster my son's riding and showing more so than my own from now on. And just because I am an instructor doesn't mean I can't go take lessons myself - which I plan to do regularly as soon as I can afford it! $30 an hour to teach lessons is good money and the freedom of doing this on my own time is worth more than any other job I could think of.
  • 09-06-2006 4:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    It's too easy to go back, but then again it's also too easy to stay and do un-amateurish things when you should really be declared a professional.

    The one I hate the most is spouses or children of big professionals, still carded "amateurs" but showing several horses. Either their spouse or their parent is getting paid for that ride, and it ultimately goes back to the "amateur" rider. Just like there are caps on how many ponies or how many jr hunters, etc you can show, there should be a cap on how many horses you can show that don't belong to you (unless you are officially leasing them)

    There SHOULD be a way to go back to amateur after you are a pro. I know plenty of honest ones out there. Too bad the crooks have to go and ruin it for everybody.
    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 09-06-2006 4:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    If you have never had an official USEF "professional" card...it's this easy....**POOF** you're an amateur again. However, if you have filed for pro status through the USEF, there is an application/review process you must go through before getting approved as an amateur again.
    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 09-06-2006 4:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    Are amatuers allowed to show horses that don't belong to them? I don't think they can do that in reining - but the horse can belong to the spouse or mother, ect. I'm not sure about lease horses. I ran a show for a few years and saw a couple copies of transfer papers in the "process" only to see the horse never changed hands afterall - that's bad but what can ya do?
  • 09-06-2006 4:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    Yes, absolutely they can. I think it is only in the stock-type horse shows where you have to own the horse to ride it in the ammy classes. Think of all of the english riders on school ponies or lesson horses at shows...
  • 09-06-2006 5:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    Right - at the open show level I knew a person didn't have to own the horse to ride in an amateur class - was not sure about sanctioned dressage and H/J type shows though. Hmm. Well, that does make a large grey area then doesn't it?
  • 09-06-2006 5:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    nope, in our world you can show a horse that doesn't belong to you (except in the amateur owner hunters and jumpers) otherwise it's fair game. You can show in the amateur owners if you are leasing a horse (must be filed with USEF though).

    Can't tell you how many times I've been in the adult amateur class showing against a spouse or child of a professional who is riding a horse that doesn't belong to her. Definitely a "gray" area!!!
    I don't drink coffee sir. I don't drink any hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature.

  • 09-06-2006 5:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur

    It's just my opinion but I think folks are a little to awestruck by the pro title. Given my choice, I'd compete against a pro who is riding and training a string of horses and moves them in and out of his/her barn regularly than an accomplished ammy who has a solid and long bond with the horse they are riding. I've seen this in horses and in dogs. In the field trial world, there is a saying--Fear the man who only owns one dog. Why, because he and that dog love each other and both trying to perform at their best versus just doing their job. At least, that's is my observation. I said it before but I will say it again. I'd rather compete against a pro than an accomplished ammy. In saying that, I am not bragging that I am so good. I'm stating just the opposite, in fact. I bet that seasoned ammy and their horse are going to be better than the pro.

    chaplain robert
    little farm/BIG GOD

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