Many events hold only “Open” divisions where professionals and amateurs compete in one division. As a service to our amateur and junior members, the USEA has established a system to recognize amateurs who are not always able to earn qualifications for the American Eventing Championships (AEC) or earn enough points for the USEA Year-End Award Leaderboards. While there are many amateurs who are competitive in the open divisions, our hope is that more of our amateurs will receive an opportunity to qualify for the designated Amateur or Junior divisions at the AEC.
For divisions that are not designated as Amateur or Junior, the USEA will 'pull out' the professionals and upgrade the amateurs and juniors in placing as one “amateur” group. For example, if an amateur rider who has declared their amateur status on their USEA membership and a 13-year-old junior rider place 4th and 5th respectively behind three professional riders, they will be upgraded to 1st and 2nd respectively and receive leaderboard points for 1st and 2nd in the applicable category. They can also use their 1st and 2nd placings toward AEC qualifications.
This policy is for leaderboard and AEC qualification purposes only and does not affect the official results of an event.
The upgrade policy is not intended to discourage riders from competing amongst their peers; however, the USEA recognizes it’s a rider’s choice which section to enter. In order to create some equality at competitions that offer junior sections, if an eligible junior opts to enter a non-age restricted Rider Division, or Open Division, or Horse Division when a Junior Division is offered, the upgrade policy will not apply. Juniors not eligible to compete in a Rider Division – as defined in Appendix 3 of the USEF Rules for Eventing – shall receive the full benefits of the upgrade policy.
Riders no longer eligible as juniors (the year they turn 19) for the current competition season must declare amateur status, as defined by the US Equestrian definition under General Regulations GR1306. In accordance with USEA Policy, amateur declaration is not retroactive.
Everyone deserves a chance to compete equally with their peers, and event organizers do their best to place riders into fair divisions. To make this easier for organizers, please remember to designate your preferred divisions (Amateur, Rider, Horse, Young Horse, Open, or Championship) on the “Eligible Section” at the top of the USEA Entry Form.
This upgrade to placings does not guarantee AEC qualification; riders and horses must still meet all the qualifying criteria. Please check the List of AEC Qualified Horses and List of AEC Qualified Riders if you are unsure of your qualification status.
If you have questions about your amateur declaration, please check your status by logging into the USEA Online Services or contact the USEA Membership Department at 703-779-0440 (2).
The USEA Amateur & Junior Upgrade Placing/Points formula is not applied toward the Overall Leader Board or to any Horse Leaderboard category.
Junior Upgrade Placing/Points AM)
Applies only to those 18 (to the end of the calendar year turning 18) and younger, participating in non-Junior/designated divisions at events that do not offer a junior section.
Points apply only toward the “Junior” Leaderboard, having met all other eligibility requirements.
Placings will apply toward AEC Junior division qualifications, having met all other eligibility requirements.
Upgrade placing/points is determined by the placing of non-amateurs in the division, not age of the rider.
Amateur Upgrade Placing/Points (AM)
Applies to those who have declared Amateur Status with the USEA for the current competition year.
Points apply only toward the “Amateur” Leaderboard, having met all other eligibility requirements.
Placings will apply toward AEC Amateur division qualifications, having met all other eligibility requirements.
Young Adult Rider Upgrade Placings (AM)
Applies only to those from the beginning of the calendar year turning 19 to the end of the calendar year turning 21 and have declared Amateur Status during the current competition year, participating in non-Young Rider designated divisions.
Points do NOT apply to any Young Adult leaderboard category at any level. The Young Adult categories are restricted only by age, not whether the rider is an amateur or professional.
Placings will apply toward AEC “Amateur” or “Junior and/or Young Rider” division qualifications, having met all other eligibility requirements.