The Adult Amateur vs Social Media Influencer Debate

Professional (noun): A person engaged in a specified activity, especially a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.


I am a professional equine photographer.


I am an amateur rider (trust me, if you saw me ride, this would be abundantly clear).

I do not train horses.

I do not get paid to ride, lunge, etc any horse.


I happen to be a social media “influencer” with a decent size following.


I am an “influencer” not because of my riding abilities.


I am an influencer because of my photography, modeling, & writing abilities. I am an influencer because of my marketing abilities. I am an influencer because of my understanding of social media platforms. None of these things correlate with my ability to ride or train any horse.

100% of my annual salary comes from being an equine photographer. Not once have I made a dime off riding or training a horse.

I will likely be considered a professional in 2021 instead of an adult amateur.


Which blows my mind in a lot of ways.


This means I would have to compete against professional horse trainers at recognized shows.

I will have to take my little rescue mare into the ring & stand up against professional trainers.


But I am simply a professional photographer & model aka “influencer.”


My ability to use social media to create a personal brand has absolutely zero to do with my ability to ride or train my horse well.

My personal brand & social media following is the reason I am able to be self employed and work full time as an equine photographer.


Brands choose to work with me because I have a large audience that I have worked hard to obtain. They choose to work with me because I have professional camera equipment & can model their items.


The brands that I work with are not selecting me as an influencer for any of their campaigns because of my riding ability. My social media following was not obtained by being a highly skilled professional rider. Heck, for the first year I was