So You Want To Be A Sponsored Rider? Here’s all you need to know…

So you’ve been riding at a variety of competitions in your chosen field, you are enjoying it and want to step up to the next level, sounds easy right? Well, it’s a hard job and of course there’s the financial commitment too. Unless you are a well known rider or an up and coming rider in the equestrian world being an amateur rider isn’t easy.

We’re coming out of a pandemic so the thought of financial sponsorship for both small and big companies alike is actually quite a daunting prospect. Yes, it can be a good marketing tool for a company, but a financial contribution is not as easy as you might think. For a lot of businesses, funds are generally tied up in a combination of stock and show fees. It would be very nice if all shows were just £60 to have a stand for the weekend but these ones are very few and far between, then when you factor the transport costs, any accommodation that’s required staying on site or otherwise, your food etc and that’s without leaflets, bags, gazebo, pegs, ratchet straps etc it all adds up!

As you can see, there are all sorts of costs that need to be considered before even thinking of sponsorship!

Now this doesn’t mean that companies are not willing to support up and coming riders it just means that really focus on finding people that stand out from the crowd…

The Do’s & Dont’s:

Don’t send a DM on social media. Its impersonal and with the standard ‘Hi I’ve got 10,000
followers on Instagram and would really like to promote your brand’ is not something that screams to me ooh yes please let’s work together!

Do send an email, and try and find out who deals with the sponsorship side of things. Do your research and find the name and contact for the correct person. It’s a lot more personal than ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ as this just shows you’ve gone the extra mile and not just copied and pasted your message.

Don’t send a blanket email out. Yes you are likely to be approaching a lot of companies but that
doesn’t mean you cannot spend some time telling that company why you would be a good match for them.

Do approach companies that you already buy products from. It’s so much easier for you to talk about something you already use. It also shows the business that there is a connection with them and that you already like their products. If you are already following them on social media tell them, mentioning posts about products you use and actively engaging with the company before you approach them is great. Many of Team EcoGreen were actively engaging with me at shows or over on social media before I approached them to become part of my team. It’s always a big plus for me.

Don’t Don’t just tell companies that you will wear their branded clothing, use a saddle pad with their
logo on etc and then stop the sentence. That’s all very nice but it really doesn’t tell them anything else. It’s great you’re going to a show with one of my saddle pads I’ve provided for you to use and then what?

Do talk about your current achievements and include your plans and goals for the next 12months. I know that’s something I like to see. Be realistic though, telling me you plan to compete at HOYS is great but only if its achievable for you.

Don’t use the wrong language. How you communicate says a lot about you. There is nothing worse for me than seeing ‘I would luv you to sponsor me because I’m a gr8 rider with a big future’!

Do send pictures though as a visual – it’s great to see and shows the company that you are doing what you say. I know I really appreciate someone telling me where the image was taken from, why it’s a favourite picture etc. If you are approaching a company that sells grooming products, then
sending a picture of you getting your horse ready with their products in the background is also a nice touch especially if you tell them why you like using the product.

Don’t send images of you with copywright stamped across them. If you didn’t know it already its
illegal!

What’s the difference between a sponsored rider and a brand ambassador?

To be honest, they are very similar; a sponsored rider is in a way, a brand ambassador. An ambassador is someone who represents a brand; everything from the brand values to the products they sell.

Selecting a brand ambassador is extremely important for this reason – you are representing the company through your actions and how you behave. As a sponsored rider you will be promoting the brand primarily at shows and events, as well as online and in person and be expected to promote products to those around you. A brand ambassador is slightly more general, and you’ll be expected to promote the company through your lifestyle, and in your day to day life.

Team EcoGreen:

A note from Vicky Southern, the founder and Director of EcoGreen Equestrian

“Don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive an email back. I’m a one-woman band and I get more than my fair share of requests for sponsorship, so I imagine the larger companies get even more than I do! Now I take the time to respond to anyone who emails me. It might not be what you want to hear but I do try and respond within a couple of days.

If you’ve got a sponsorship with a company that’s fantastic. Just remember it’s important to build a solid relationship with them. For me people join my team with a contract of 12months but that tends to become a rolling one. The vast majority of Team EcoGreen have been with me for at least three years, some have been working with me since the start and as I’m going into my seventh year that’s a good while! It works so well because it’s a mutual relationship.” #TeamEcoGreen