Top riders that ride at the national and international levels typically have sponsors. Why? As we all know, showing horses is very expensive. A sponsor provides financial support to pay for a rider’s and sometimes a horse’s expenses. Expenses can include travel, food, and lodging, show fees, care and feeding of the horse, equipment, and so on. Sponsors can be wealthy individuals or families with great interest in the sport and/or can be corporations. It does not matter if you are at the top of your sport or you are a serious amateur, sponsorship enables riders to participate in equestrian activities. Here are a few ways you can get a sponsor.
Through the Sponsor’s Eyes
Remember that sponsorship is a partnership between you and your sponsor. The first question you need to be able to answer is: why would someone want to sponsor me? It is not enough to tell an individual or company that you love horses, horses are expensive to show, so you need money to be able to do what you love. You need to be able to provide the individual or company with solid reasons for why they should financial support your riding career. For example, will you be able to promote their products in a professional consistent manner? Essentially, you will be the face of the company so from the sponsor’s perspective they are very careful as to whom they select to sponsor them.
Where to Begin
The best way to begin the process of obtaining a sponsor is to create a list of all of the companies that you are interested in approaching about sponsorship. Then, think about the best ways to contact the company. There are many options available to you: a letter telling your story that includes images of you and your horse competing, a short video promoting yourself and asking to be sponsored, as well as talking to a company representative at a horse show or equine trade fair. The latter may be the most effective method as you are talking directly to an individual who represents and works for the company.
Make sure that you have a presence on social media including a website and blog. Keep your information, images, and videos up-to-date. Once you obtain a sponsor, you can promote their products through your social media outlets. In the meantime, prospective sponsors will look at what information you have posted online to get a sense of who you are and what you do.
Make a Connection
In today’s economic times many riders contact vendors and companies seeking sponsorship making obtaining sponsorship highly competitive. You are one of hundreds of riders so you need to make yourself a more attractive candidate than other riders. You can do this by making a strong connection between yourself and the company you are seeking sponsorship from. For example, if you are a specific company’s biggest fan of a certain product, ask them if you can be a spokesperson and/or advertiser for their brand. You promote their product and in return the company gives you products for free. To be successful at this you need to truly and honestly believe in the product(s) you will be promoting.
Individuals and companies do not provide significant financial support for riders especially those who are just starting their riding careers and/or have never been sponsored before. As such, be realistic about your sponsorship goals. Being able to promote a sponsor’s product is a first step toward obtaining more lucrative financial support.
Also, be prepared for a lot of rejection. Remember that companies receive hundreds of requests for sponsorship each year. Those who do provide sponsorship go through a very rigorous vetting process to ensure that the riders they are financially supporting will accurately represent their image and their products.
Sponsorship is an avenue for obtaining financial support for your riding. Partnering with an individual or company can be beneficial not only for you the rider, but for the sponsor as well.