Sponsorship Secrets: What Every Horse Rider Needs to Know - MirrorMePR
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The horse industry is full of prospective sponsors, but how do you secure a successful sponsorship contract? How do you get yourself noticed? Our award-winning Equine Marketing & PR Team has extensive experience working with clients’ sponsored riders. In this blog, we share their secrets to success for horse riders keen to build relationships with equestrian businesses.


Be Visible

There are several ways to get spotted by an equestrian brand as a horse rider. One way is through word-of-mouth. Friends, family, and even other riders can help introduce you to potential sponsors. Sponsors may also contact you directly if they want to sponsor you or your horse.


Whether you are an amateur rider or a professional rider, being visible with a solid online presence is something that all brands will consider when looking for team riders. Attending horse events and displaying good manners, horsemanship, and riding skills are all part of the attraction for potential sponsors. Be aware that anything you do or say in public could affect your chances of securing amateur sponsorship.


Be Realistic

If you are starting out on your sponsored rider journey and your profile isn’t national, don’t be greedy in your expectations. The hardest type of sponsorship is monetary, so look for product sponsorship and start off small with your first few sponsors. Once your profile has grown and you have proven your worth as a strong amateur sponsorship opportunity, you can command more return.


HOWEVER, don’t underestimate the value of the marketing and PR which a brand might be adding to your profile – this is a free add-on for riders associated with the equestrian PR’s client and shouldn’t be disregarded. We have connected relatively unknown riders with brands and have subsequently grown their profiles. They have then gone on to be noticed by other brands and secured other sponsorship programs, as a result.


Love The Product

If there is a product you’ve been using for years and you love, then reach out to the manufacturers, tell them why you love it and the results you have had with the product(s) and enquire about any sponsorship opportunities they might have. This approach is much more authentic and is generally followed by professional athletes. Whether it’s luxury equestrian brands or practical equestrian products, if you are familiar already, that’s impressive to a potential sponsor.


Is Winning Everything?

Of course, the more successful you are in competitions, the more attention you will attract and the higher chance sponsors may contact you after your competition to offer sponsorship opportunities. If you win a high-profile class, publications such as Horse & Hound will likely feature you in a write-up. More prospective businesses are going to see you. Still, it isn’t all about winning everything – if you don’t have the complete package, such as good manners and reputation, winning classes won’t win you lucrative sponsorship programs.


Be Authentic

When seeking sponsorship, always be genuine and honest. Answer any questions the sponsor may have about your horse riding experience, current horses and the sport. Demonstrate your passion for horse riding and sport by sharing photos, videos, and other information about your riding and your journey to date. Your personality and professional approach will be just as crucial as your competition record, so don’t be afraid to be yourself, you could be exactly what the brand is looking for!


Do You Have The Time?

That sounds like an odd question, but sponsorship does require some time commitment from you. An equestrian business will not just give you ‘free stuff’ for nothing – companies expect you to promote their products and brand, which takes time and organisation. If you deliver on their expectations during the period of time you are sponsored, you will retain your sponsorship. If it happens repeatedly, you will start to develop a better reputation.


Make A Good Impression

Make a good first impression when contacting or meeting potential sponsors. Ask the best person to address your email, rather than a ‘copy and paste’ enquiry, which shows little effort and indicates that you are approaching anyone and everyone – an instant turnoff for equestrian businesses.


Remember to include photos, news articles, or other information demonstrating your success and dedication to horse riding and sport.


Be Persistent

Don’t give up after trying to gain sponsorship from one source. Sponsorship is a valuable asset for horse riders and for brands. Many riders attempt to contact our clients on social media DM’s, but it isn’t very likely to impress anyone or reach the decision-maker in the business. Pick up the phone and ask who or where you could send an email rather than messaging on social media. Think about local businesses first – perhaps there is a local tack shop sponsorship opportunity you still need to explore. If you are a regular customer, they may want you as part of their local team equestrian.


Tailor Your Approach

Your approach to rider sponsorship needs to be personal to the sponsor. Some sponsors are interested in horse riding as a sport, while others are interested in promoting a particular brand or product. Be sure to tailor your approach to the sponsor and the goals they are hoping to achieve. Do your research and take time to find out who, what and why before approaching a brand.


Invest In Your Content

The first thing an interested sponsor will look at, apart from your competition record, are your social media channels and website. Even if you have a basic website, as long as it has good-quality images of yourself and your horses, information about you is kept up to date; this is enough in the early days. Include video blogs and links to online media coverage, and invest in your content production to give the impression that you are a professional athlete. Take a look at your favourite athletes; what do they post or say that grabs your attention? You might have different competition experience or dressage scores, but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn a trick or two.


Enjoyed This Blog? You Might Enjoy Watching This Video, Where Our MD Ashley Chats Rider Sponsorship With Gold Medallist Paralympic Dressage Rider Natasha Baker.