The stigma that amateur dressage riders move aside in the United States is now over. Janne Rumbough, an Adult Amateur competed in the Grand Prix at the US Dressage Finals stated, “This show puts amateurs on the map. With this equal recognition of Adult Amateurs as the Pros, the sport has a chance to grow. It encourages amateurs across the country to work towards reaching the goals necessary to compete head to head.” A long-time item on Rumbough’s bucket list can now be crossed off with the national head-to-head competition in the United States. She won the USDF Region 3 Adult Amateur Grand Prix in Georgia, but she wanted win the US National Adult Amateur Grand Prix in Kentucky. She finished the championship class in second place, but tied for first the day before with a score of 65.461%. She said, “My bucket list is not finished yet. I have to come back next year to win the Adult Amateur Grand Prix!”
Rumbough spoke of the electric coliseum in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, “This national finals is like going to Europe. There is no other place in the USA with this environment: the stables, the indoor arena, and the judges. They selected top judges, all of it American.”
Born in Denmark and owner of My Lady for Danish High Perfomance rider, Mikala Gundersen, Janne has been to all the international competitions in Europe. Moving to America in the early 1970s, she continues to ride up the levels on her own dressage horses. At the age of 69, she is a force to be reckoned with. A super approachable owner and competitor, she's one who truly cares for the Adult Amateur riders in the US. With 18 Regional Championships under her belt, she shared, “Owners always come up to me and say I’m an inspiration and I ask them why they aren’t riding here too?”
She shared, “The amateur riders buy horses and the pros are riding them. Wouldn’t it be great if the pros encouraged their amateurs to come out here and compete with them? We have enough trainers competing against each other. It’s time for the owners to come out and compete too.” She advised, “But, they must stay at the level where they do well!”
Janne’s horse, a gray PRE gelding "Junior" (Gaucho III x La Nina by Brioso VI) is a horse she trained all the way from Training Level as a 4 year old. She encourages others with a bit of wisdom, “I went through the entire USDF Dressage system. The tests are set up for the horse and rider to succeed. You will never be out of your element if you stay in the level you belong. I would prefer to get a 75% in Training Level than a 60% in 3rd Level. We started at Training Level.” She continued, “I find the judges in the United States so willing to give a good score with good comments as long as you and your horse do not go a level higher than you are ready. You will never be out of your element or frustrated with the scores. You’ll be so proud to have the 75%. That’s what people want to hear about, the success. I would love for an amateur to be able to say, ‘I got a 75%’ at whatever level they are riding.”
“I’ve always stayed an amateur because I want to encourage amateurs in the sport of dressage. The amateurs all have paying jobs or big families to take care of. The amateurs are the ones supporting the sport. The US Dressage Finals is the place to be recognized,” Janne shared.
With strict USEF rules on Amateur status (USEF Rulebook - GR 1306 - Amateurs and Professionals), an amateur cannot accept any sponsorship - paid endorsements from any company, payment for riding, showing or schooling a horse, selling of horses, or conducting dressage seminars for money or (gift)token of appreciation.
USDF Regionals and now Nationals are the only place the amateurs and pros are separated into different classes. The adult amateurs in the United States want to earn the equal recognition. The US Dressage Finals opens the door for a great goal for Amateurs in the United States.