Eligibility for Amateurs

RULE 62 Section Three Rule Book


  • Amateur Permit - For those members of the Association, who are no longer eligible to exhibit in youth classes, who are not professionals in the horse industry and who ride their horses for the pleasure of competing against other members who are also not professional;
  • Select Amateur Permit – if a person has attained the age of fifty (50) years and provides proof of age, which must be in the form of a copy of a drivers licence or birth certificate, then their Amateur Permit will be endorsed as to allow them to compete in Select Amateur classes;
  • When a show program offers Select Amateur classes and both Junior and Senior Amateur classes in Western Pleasure, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle, Western Riding and Reining, then a person with a Select Amateur Permit, may enter either the Junior Amateur or the Senior Amateur classes on a different horse to the one they ride in their Select class, as long as the age of horse rule applies and the Amateur, or their immediate family, own the horse. A horse will not be used more than once by the same competitor in any class. eg. A horse cannot compete in Select Amateur Trail and Senior Amateur Trail
  • A Select Amateur, choosing to compete in a Select class at a show, is not confined to the other Select Amateur classes at that show. Eg. A person who competes in the Select Amateur Hunter Under Saddle can compete in the Amateur Hunt Seat Equitation on the same horse
  • Points earned in Select Amateur classes only count towards Select ROM’s and Select Annual Awards.

To Gain an Amateur/Select Amateur Permit

  • The Permit application form must be completed in its entirety and sent to the AQHA office, with the correct fees, for processing. These Permits are to be renewed annually;
  • The person applying for this Permit must be a financial member of the Association and hold an individual membership in their own name, either a Full, Life, Hon. Life Membership;
  • The person applying for the permit must declare the following:

“I have not, in the previous three (3) years from the date of application for my Permit, received remuneration or compensation for: Showing or training any horse or instructed any other person in riding, driving or exhibiting.” NB: You cannot show in an Amateur/Select Amateur class until such time as your application is successful and been processed.

Approval of an Amateur/Select Amateur Permit

Once a Permit has been approved the following rules apply:

An Amateur/Select Amateur cannot receive remuneration or compensation for Showing and/or Training any horse or instructing any person in riding, driving or exhibiting.

An Amateur/Select Amateur can only exhibit a horse owned by themselves or their immediate family in any class, (this is any class any discipline).

Separate legal entities, such as family corporations, trusts or partnerships, are also authorised owners of the amateur exhibitor’s horse so long as all legal and equitable owners and beneficiaries of the legal entity are individuals specifically authorised by this rule (“immediate family” Rule 62.6)

Ownership of horses exhibited by the Amateur/Select Amateurs must be evidenced by the records of the Association.

Amateurs/Select Amateurs need to be aware that until such time as a Transfer of ownership or Lease notification has been processed by the Association, the horse cannot be shown by the Amateur/Select Amateur who is transferring/leasing the horse into their name or their immediate family’s name.

Prize money is not to be considered remuneration. Judges fees are not to be considered remuneration. NB: If you are a Judge in Australia you cannot hold an Amateur Permit with the AmQHA.

Payment of fees for entries, stables, camping, bedding and any levies incurred at a show, by any person other than the Amateur/Select Amateurs or  immediate family will be considered remuneration.

Immediate family – Spouse, Defacto partner, parents, child of the family, grandparents, brother(s), sister(s).

Horses owned in partnership or jointly with any person other than the Amateur/Select Amateur’s immediate family do not fulfil the ownership requirements for Amateur/Select Amateur.

An Amateur/Select Amateur may ride the same horse, in a different Amateur/Select class as those of another Amateur/Select Amateur, where the rules pertain to Rule 62.6 are met.

In order to gain points, Association Amateur/Select Amateurs can only show under Association Amateur Rules.

Every person competing in an Amateur/Select Amateur class must possess a current Amateur/Select Amateur Permit appropriately endorsed by the AQHA or the equivalent issued by their relevant breed organisation. The permit must match the registered breed of horse the Amateur is exhibiting. A permit issued by the HSAA can only be used if the breed association, recognised by the AQHA, does not issue amateur permits.

No horse may be shown by more than one (1) competitor in any one (1) class.

Amateurs/Select Amateurs may exhibit two (2) horses in individually judged classes.

Youth – Upon application to the Association, a free Amateur Permit is made available for any Youth their first year out of youth, as long as that youth possess a financial individual membership in their own name. Youth who wish to apply for an Amateur Permit must meet the criteria in Rule 62.

Sponsorship – An Amateur/Select Amateur cannot accept sponsorship for payment of any show fees, levies, entry fees, stable and camping fees, cleaning fees, including transportation to and from the show or membership fees.

Amateur/Select Showing Lease 

Amateur and Select Amateurs are allowed to exhibit leased horses. The Association recommends that the lessor and the lessee have a legally formalised lease contract.

  • The Lessor cannot sell the horse, prior to the expiry date, unless the Lessee agrees.
  • If the leased horse is sold, prior to expiry date, notification in writing, to the Association, from both the Lessor and the Lessee is required;
  • Termination of a lease prior to the expiry date then notification in writing to the Association is required, from both the Lessor and the Lessee;
  • If termination is prior to the expiry date, then the horse cannot be shown in Amateur or Select Amateur classes until the original expiry date has been reached. Exception: Rule 62.17 b)

All Show Lease Notifications must be:

  • signed by both the Lessor and the Lessee and lodged with the Association before the Lessee has rights to the horse;
  • for a minimum of six (6) months;
  • renewed by submitting another signed Show Lease Notification form prior to expiry date;

NB: If no notification received by expiry date the lease will be terminated by the Association.

  • The Amateur who leases the horse can show the horse in amateur and open classes and all other rules pertaining to Amateur or Select Amateur eligibility for showing apply.
  • An Amateur or Select Amateur, showing another relevant breed, can show leased horses providing proof of lease is available and that such leasing is accepted by that relevant breed organisation.

International Lease Notification

That a minimum of a thirty five (35) day lease notification will be made available to International Amateur/Select Amateur visitors to Australia that wish to show in Amateur/Select Amateur classes at shows. The Lease Notification must be in place, with the Association, prior to the Amateur/Select Amateur submitting nominations for a show. The Amateur/Select Amateur must meet the Associations Amateur/Select Amateur eligibility criteria and must have an Amateur/Select Amateur permit with the Association. If this lease notification is cancelled prior to the expiration of the lease notification, then the owner of the horse cannot show this horse in Amateur/Select Amateur classes till the lease notification period has expired.

Professional to Amateur

A person wishing to relinquish their professional status with the view to holding Amateur/Select Amateur status must inform the Association in writing. From the date of receipt of this notification, three (3) years must pass before an application for Amateur status can be submitted.

64. NOVICE YOUTH & NOVICE AMATEUR – there are no Select Amateur Novice classes

Classes: Only seven (7) Novice Amateur and Novice Youth classes will be offered being: Hunt Seat Equitation, Hunter Under Saddle, Western Pleasure, Western Horsemanship, Trail, Showmanship and Boxing.

64.1 Points gained

All points gained in a Novice class will go towards Amateur and Youth ROM’s and other achievements. No AQHA Annual High Point Awards will be awarded for any Novice classes and any points gained in a Novice class will not go towards any AQHA Annual Awards

64.2 Eligibility: You must hold a financial Full, individual Life or individual Honorary Life membership and an Amateur or Select Amateur Permit with the AQHA or a financial Youth membership.

All points earned in Select Amateur, Amateur and Novice Amateur classes plus points earned by Youth in Youth and Novice Youth classes will count towards Novice eligibility;

  • Once twenty (20) points have been attained in any discipline, eg: Showmanship, the person is no longer eligible for Novice in that discipline;
  • Youth, Amateur and Select Amateur must apply for Novice eligibility annually. If a Youth, Select Amateur or Amateur are eligible for any Novice classes, they will be informed by letter or email which Novice classes they are eligible to compete in and also notified once they are no longer eligible;
  • Every person competing in a Novice Amateur or Novice Youth class must have a Novice Permit appropriately endorsed by the AQHA or the equivalent issued by their relevant breed organisation and the rules for gaining that Novice Permit, through their relevant breed organisation, must be rules similar to the AQHA. The Novice Permit must match the registered breed of horse the Amateur or Youth is exhibiting.
  • If there is a Novice Amateur class on the program, plus the Select Amateur and Amateur classes are offered in the same discipline, then the choice must be made, if eligible, for which class they wish to exhibit in, same applies for Youth classes;
  • Novice Amateur and Novice Youth can compete in the Amateur and Youth classes on the program if no Novice classes offered.
  • If an Amateur, Select Amateur or Youth have not accumulated any points for a period of ten (10) years with the AQHA or any other respective breed organisation, they are eligible to re-apply as a Novice.

Youth to Amateur 

From the day you are eligible to apply for an Amateur Permit you may also apply for a Novice Amateur Ticket.

If a Youth has achieved twenty (20) or more points in Hunt Seat Equitation, Hunter Under Saddle, Western Pleasure, Western Horsemanship, Trail, Showmanship, Boxing, or  a Youth from a respective breed organisation has achieved twenty (20)  or more points in any of the above classes,  they will not be eligible to compete in Amateur Novice classes.

64.6 Amateur or Select Amateur to Professional and back again

If you have gained Novice Amateur points and you relinquish your Amateur or Select Amateur Permit, and then reapply for Amateur or Select Amateur status in the future, then the Points you had gained previously will be brought forward.

How To Become An Amateur

Step 1: Refer to the Requirements above to check your eligibility

Step 2: Complete and sign an Application for Amateur/Select Amateur Permit Membership Forms

Step 3: Please note that the AQHA Membership year runs from August 1 - July 31

Step 4: Novice Amateur applications available at Membership Forms and must be renewed annually

Step 5: Send the fully completed Application to th AQHA via email, fax or post.