What a load of BS. At that level riding is certainly far more than just a "hobby".
Considering all of the other crap surrounding EA at the moment, regarding membership cost and the like, and the amount of people sitting on the fence regarding joining, or even renewing, their membership, they have done serious damage with this.
Like you say, dressage as a whole is not a popular sport, particularly with the general public. This drama is the last thing it needed.