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denny
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:16 PM
Last night at supper, several of us who "came of age" in the 60s, George Morris, Patty Heukeroth, Tiff Teeter (formerly married to Bernie Traurig), myself, and a few others were talking about the change in obtaining sponsorship, "then and now."
Back then, the USET either owned or was loaned top horses, by such generous sponsors as Patrick Butler, the Clark family of So Hamilton, etc.
These were "no strings attached" horses, and the coaches of the USET were free to assign them to whoever.
Now, it`s a case of "find your own sponsor or be born rich, or go without", was our conclusion. Much, much tougher for the kids today, who get caught in the classic "Catch 22", which is that in order to get good horses, you have to be noticed, but in order to be noticed, you have to have good horses.
So the question I`d ask is whether this is an accurate assessment, and, if it is, what can the good up and comers do to break out of the trap?

RHdobes563
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:19 PM
.

grzywinskia
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:56 PM
I think that is a very valid question and one that I am sure many riders have lost sleep over. I am a Preliminary level young adult rider who is what I would consider semi-pro. I am fortunate enough to have a student whose father is an agent for motocross racers. So, although he has little experience in eventing, he has tons of experience in marketing. We have started small, in my area, and hopefully one day I will be able to compete at a level where larger sponsorships might be a possibility. I am fortunate to have a wonderful mare who (God willing) should take me where I want to go. And I have come to learn that eventers, if they want it bad enough, will do what it takes to get where they want to go. For instance, one of our own COTHers (who should remain nameless :) ) selling herself to Science to compete... That's what we LOVE about eventers. And I don't think there is one rider who wouldn't mind eating ramen noodles so that their horse could get monthly adequan and weekly aquatred sessions... That's just the way we roll. But, it would be nice to be rewarded for the hard work by being allowed to ride horses that Denny speaks of from the old USET days.

BarbB
Dec. 28, 2007, 06:58 PM
If riders are looking for one big sponsor to buy horses and write checks, that is really difficult to come by and I have no information about that.

But if riders are looking for multiple smaller sponsors to help them along the way, they need to treat their riding career like a business. Ask for investors and be prepared to show what you offer in return. The big names with lots of sponsors know how to do this....it's probably something they should be teaching their students, in addition to how to ride that advanced corner combination.

I work in pr in the horse industry and I have had a few riders or parents of riders ask me if I would help them get some help in the way of sponsorship from a client. MANY makers of horse products would love to help a promising rider, not in the form of blank checks but with a small amount of help along the way.
I tell the people asking for help to send me a resume, some photos, what they want from a sponsor and what they offer in return. I don't hear back from them.

If you are going to go to a business and ask for money you better have all your ducks in a row and be prepared to make a professional presentation.

The same sort of presentation made to breeders of sport horses could land someone the use of a top quality horse, but those breeders, with rare exceptions, are not out shopping for a rider, the rider needs to go and find them.

Going around in a haphazard way basically begging and hoping for the best is just not going to work.

And it is going to get more difficult rather than easier in the future.
The big money families like the Duponts and the Firestones who spent a ton of money to support sports like ours for generations are just not there anymore.

Makes me glad my aspirations stop at training level.

grzywinskia
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:12 PM
If riders are looking for one big sponsor to buy horses and write checks, that is really difficult to come by and I have no information about that.

But if riders are looking for multiple smaller sponsors to help them along the way, they need to treat their riding career like a business. Ask for investors and be prepared to show what you offer in return. The big names with lots of sponsors know how to do this....it's probably something they should be teaching their students, in addition to how to ride that advanced corner combination.

I work in pr in the horse industry and I have had a few riders or parents of riders ask me if I would help them get some help in the way of sponsorship from a client. MANY makers of horse products would love to help a promising rider, not in the form of blank checks but with a small amount of help along the way.
I tell the people asking for help to send me a resume, some photos, what they want from a sponsor and what they offer in return. I don't hear back from them.

If you are going to go to a business and ask for money you better have all your ducks in a row and be prepared to make a professional presentation.

The same sort of presentation made to breeders of sport horses could land someone the use of a top quality horse, but those breeders, with rare exceptions, are not out shopping for a rider, the rider needs to go and find them.

Going around in a haphazard way basically begging and hoping for the best is just not going to work.

And it is going to get more difficult rather than easier in the future.
The big money families like the Duponts and the Firestones who spent a ton of money to support sports like ours for generations are just not there anymore.

Makes me glad my aspirations stop at training level.

Wow! That was very well thought out and presented!! BarbB. It's easy to see how people could have a hard time receiving sponsorships if they don't want to put in the work that it takes. My client who is the motocross agent has always said... "ask not what your sponsor can do for you but what YOU can do for your SPONSOR" it's not like these people are going to give you money/product out of the goodness of their hearts. They need to know what it is you can give them

Kanga
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:29 PM
cevent- you need to go work and/or be a working student for an upper level event rider that you respect. Try to get into a barn where there are young horses to bring along and "PROVE YOURSELF". This will take you many many years of paying your dues and making no money. That is something you will have to face with the level you are at right now. This will also be a way to show you, if you are really cut out to be able to work/train/ride as an eventer, and in the future make it your business.

denny- these are good questions you ask and definately need some answers. Riders (in general) are not good at getting themselves sponsorship. Do you think it would help if there was some kind of "agent" to be the go between for riders that had a marketing degree and the experience of selling? Most all sports that have up and coming athletes have agents to represent them, isn't it time that this starts to cross over more into the horse world, especially the eventing world ??

Our sport is getting more expensive than ever. We do need to come up with something so that the hard working, talented, willing to sacrifice anything youngster doesn't slip through the cracks just because of the almighty $$$

cevent
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:29 PM
I totally would put the time and energy into searching for a sponsor if I knew that I would be considered. I know that sounds terrible and selfish, but realistically will a company look at someone who hasnt gone above training?

Also, do you only help people you know find sponsors or would you be willing to help anyone? :)

Gindarkh
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:36 PM
Last night at supper, several of us who "came of age" in the 60s, George Morris, Patty Heukeroth, Tiff Teeter (formerly married to Bernie Traurig), myself, and a few others were talking about the change in obtaining sponsorship, "then and now."
Back then, the USET either owned or was loaned top horses, by such generous sponsors as Patrick Butler, the Clark family of So Hamilton, etc.
These were "no strings attached" horses, and the coaches of the USET were free to assign them to whoever.
Now, it`s a case of "find your own sponsor or be born rich, or go without", was our conclusion. Much, much tougher for the kids today, who get caught in the classic "Catch 22", which is that in order to get good horses, you have to be noticed, but in order to be noticed, you have to have good horses.
So the question I`d ask is whether this is an accurate assessment, and, if it is, what can the good up and comers do to break out of the trap?

Denny,

Who paid the competition expenses of the horses that were loaned to the riders that you speak of ? What about the upkeep, vet bills, transportation, etc. ? Who was responsible for what in the arrangement ?

Speaking as a breeder, I have often given some serious thought to this same idea, as I do not have the time to be able to compete on a regular basis, yet the horses need to. But besides the above financial considerations, there is the fact that I would want to send stallions, which most riders do not want to compete.

Also, do you think the current "powers that be" would have the same freedom to assign such horses to specific riders these days ?

cevent
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:42 PM
Kanga- I worked for 8 years at a very busy Event barn with an ULR and have helped out another ULR for the past couple years. I did everything at that barn from picking paddocks, scrubbing feed buckets, grooming at events and exercising the horses and I learned everything I know now from the people that worked there. I decided to break away from that event barn because it wasn't as much of an event barn anymore because the ULR moved herself to a different location and isn't competing as much as she used to. She still owns the farm but doesnt come up to teach as much. Plus I felt like I had been there for so long that they couldnt offer me anything new than what I had already done/learned. I worked by butt off and I am very dedicated to what I do and I don't mind working long hours and getting paid very little, thats why I'm not at college and am on my own. I am currently working for a former groom of an ULR who has decided to get away from grooming and has started her own training business. She has a lot of different horses, not just the event type, and she has mostly greenies at the moment. She's been totally helpful and has offered to find me a horse from someone she trains and sells young horses for so I can have my own "project" sale horse.

Believe me, I know this is a difficult sport and I know nothing is going to be handed to me on a silver platter and I am VERY willing to work hard to get where I want to be in the future. This type of lifestyle isn't for anyone, but I believe its for me.

RAyers
Dec. 28, 2007, 07:47 PM
Barb is a woman of her words!!! She is helping me with a small sponsorship form Arctic Blast Wraps and Blankets. Seriously!

The sad part, it is easier to be a privateer (an amateur who rides at the top levels) than to get sufficient sponsorship to be able to focus on riding.

Reed



But if riders are looking for multiple smaller sponsors to help them along the way, they need to treat their riding career like a business. Ask for investors and be prepared to show what you offer in return. The big names with lots of sponsors know how to do this....it's probably something they should be teaching their students, in addition to how to ride that advanced corner combination.

I work in pr in the horse industry and I have had a few riders or parents of riders ask me if I would help them get some help in the way of sponsorship from a client. MANY makers of horse products would love to help a promising rider, not in the form of blank checks but with a small amount of help along the way.
I tell the people asking for help to send me a resume, some photos, what they want from a sponsor and what they offer in return. I don't hear back from them.

pegasusmom
Dec. 28, 2007, 08:09 PM
Excellent post Barb.

Sometimes, all it takes is asking and following through. My son just recently became a featured rider for a saddle pad manufacturer (not sure I can say who??:D - but THANK YOU!!)

PhoenixFarm
Dec. 28, 2007, 08:50 PM
I am a breeder and a trainer and I have no upper level/team aspirations. I however have a talented 20 year old in my employ who does. I have worked for and around upper level riders for 20 years, and I was an equine journalist at the top levels for more than a decade. So I've seen that world, and what it requires, first hand.

The young man who works for me is not from a wealthy family, and has worked very hard for everything he has. Until recently he has had good, but not great horses--he made it to NAYRC twice, but didn't come home with a medal. He hopes to return this year and remedy that. :winkgrin:

We have been working through the sponsorship thing, and his long term career goals. Working for me he gets a lot of opportunities to ride and show, but mainly it's sale horses and babies, so it's mainly at Novice level. However, having his name announced multiple times over the loudspeaker on a given weekend doesn't hurt. I do have a nice upper level homebred I have given him to compete, but my business isn't such a crazy moneymaker that he has carte blanche to do whatever he wants with him, and he does have to help out with entries, etc. On the other hand, he's getting a horse that's competing at prelim and intermediate, with talent to go all the way, for next to nothing.

He has secured, on his own, several product sponsorships from local companies. A tack shop provides him with any products he needs, and he has a "free" dressage saddle from a local custom saddle maker, and jumping saddles from another. It's not cash in hand to pay vet, farrier, and entry fees, but it certainly helps out the bottom line. Our next goal is to get a bit more financial backing for "real" bills on the two upper level horses he has (the one we own, and the one he owns).

But, compared to most 20 year olds with his relative level of success, he's doing really well. What are his secrets?

1. He is incredibly friendly, personable, and chatty. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, about anything. Any sponsor meeting him immediately think , 'this guy will talk my product or company up.' And he does. He's also honest with them about what he can, and can't, do for them. If he says they'll be a banner, there is, if he says he'll give out a flyer on a given saddle with every horse we sell, he does. He doesn't promise a blue ribbon every weekend, or a horse in the advanced at every show. He also gratefully accepts every level of help offered.

2. Luck. He has been in the right place at the right time on multiple occaisions. Not the least of which when he was a small child. I was his first riding instructor 15 years ago, when I moved back east a decade ago, he kept in touch, and when we moved back here, he came for a visit. One thing led to another, and now he has a pretty good opportunity to be seen and get lots of mileage.

3. He isn't too good to ride any horse. It doesn't mean you take stupid risks, but don't turn down a bunch of "average" horses hoping that an "awesome" one will come along. Ride the "topped out at Novice" horse with the same care and passion as the "Rolex 2010" horse, and people will notice. I always remind him that the horses Kim Severson rode for Linda Wachtmeister weren't Dan and Vennie, but her homebred Halflingers. By the same token, the horse he currently owns is world class, but quirky, quirky, quirky. Has been through several other good riders. It means he was able to afford more talent and success than his pocketbook should have allowed, but it also means he's had a few disapointments when the quirk has surfaced.

4. He has worked very hard for some tough people (not me of course :lol: ) and learned the trade from the bottom up. I get on him sometimes because in his perfect world he'd get to be a rider and nothing else, but I also know with full faith that he is capable of doing every job on this farm to perfection if I got hit by a bus tomorrow. I wouldn't hire or offer any opportunity to anyone who was "just" a great rider. That doesn't impress me, or most people, terribly much.

I do think making it to the top is MUCH more difficult than it was 20 or 30 or more years ago. And I think that the more our sport requires money as the overriding facotr the worse it will get. But, I hope there will still be enough good mojo in eventing that hardworking kids can still find their way into that pinque coat.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 28, 2007, 09:53 PM
I am a breeder and a trainer and I have no upper level/team aspirations. I however have a talented 20 year old in my employ who does. I have worked for and around upper level riders for 20 years, and I was an equine journalist at the top levels for more than a decade. So I've seen that world, and what it requires, first hand.

The young man who works for me is not from a wealthy family, and has worked very hard for everything he has. Until recently he has had good, but not great horses--he made it to NAYRC twice, but didn't come home with a medal. He hopes to return this year and remedy that. :winkgrin:

We have been working through the sponsorship thing, and his long term career goals. Working for me he gets a lot of opportunities to ride and show, but mainly it's sale horses and babies, so it's mainly at Novice level. However, having his name announced multiple times over the loudspeaker on a given weekend doesn't hurt. I do have a nice upper level homebred I have given him to compete, but my business isn't such a crazy moneymaker that he has carte blanche to do whatever he wants with him, and he does have to help out with entries, etc. On the other hand, he's getting a horse that's competing at prelim and intermediate, with talent to go all the way, for next to nothing.

He has secured, on his own, several product sponsorships from local companies. A tack shop provides him with any products he needs, and he has a "free" dressage saddle from a local custom saddle maker, and jumping saddles from another. It's not cash in hand to pay vet, farrier, and entry fees, but it certainly helps out the bottom line. Our next goal is to get a bit more financial backing for "real" bills on the two upper level horses he has (the one we own, and the one he owns).

But, compared to most 20 year olds with his relative level of success, he's doing really well. What are his secrets?

1. He is incredibly friendly, personable, and chatty. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, about anything. Any sponsor meeting him immediately think , 'this guy will talk my product or company up.' And he does. He's also honest with them about what he can, and can't, do for them. If he says they'll be a banner, there is, if he says he'll give out a flyer on a given saddle with every horse we sell, he does. He doesn't promise a blue ribbon every weekend, or a horse in the advanced at every show. He also gratefully accepts every level of help offered.

2. Luck. He has been in the right place at the right time on multiple occaisions. Not the least of which when he was a small child. I was his first riding instructor 15 years ago, when I moved back east a decade ago, he kept in touch, and when we moved back here, he came for a visit. One thing led to another, and now he has a pretty good opportunity to be seen and get lots of mileage.

3. He isn't too good to ride any horse. It doesn't mean you take stupid risks, but don't turn down a bunch of "average" horses hoping that an "awesome" one will come along. Ride the "topped out at Novice" horse with the same care and passion as the "Rolex 2010" horse, and people will notice. I always remind him that the horses Kim Severson rode for Linda Wachtmeister weren't Dan and Vennie, but her homebred Halflingers. By the same token, the horse he currently owns is world class, but quirky, quirky, quirky. Has been through several other good riders. It means he was able to afford more talent and success than his pocketbook should have allowed, but it also means he's had a few disapointments when the quirk has surfaced.

4. He has worked very hard for some tough people (not me of course :lol: ) and learned the trade from the bottom up. I get on him sometimes because in his perfect world he'd get to be a rider and nothing else, but I also know with full faith that he is capable of doing every job on this farm to perfection if I got hit by a bus tomorrow. I wouldn't hire or offer any opportunity to anyone who was "just" a great rider. That doesn't impress me, or most people, terribly much.

I do think making it to the top is MUCH more difficult than it was 20 or 30 or more years ago. And I think that the more our sport requires money as the overriding facotr the worse it will get. But, I hope there will still be enough good mojo in eventing that hardworking kids can still find their way into that pinque coat.


I have just copied your reply to my son! Great reasons, every one....

Robin@DHH
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:15 PM
Would it work to syndicate a horse for eventing? I can imagine a promising eventing mount
(would have to be a stallion I think) being purchased by a large group of folks who like to
follow eventing with the intention of providing the animal and it upkeep costs to a rider who
is a promising up-and-comer. Instead of one rich patron this rider would have many patrons
of modest means. Wouldn't it be fun to go to Rolex or other major competition to watch
and cheer for "your competitor"? And there would always be a hope that the animal would
be successful enough that stud fees would eventually provide a monetary return to the
investors.

Other idea is a long term effort to supply mounts for the rising stars who are not able to
buy their own mounts. Get someone to donate a farm and start a breeding program.
Get donations of stallion service from eventing supporters who own proven eventing
sires. Expect those who have "prospects" of receiving one of the production of this farm
to volunteer for a season to provide the majority of staff for the farm. Once a horse does
show promise, assign it to a rider who gets to compete the horse (and hopefully make
his or her name in eventing). The horse will eventually come back to the farm for stud
service or will eventually be sold for financial support of the farm. It might be possible
for the farm to come close to be self sustaining eventually.

olympicdreams04
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:21 PM
This is the question that keeps me up nights. Through alot of hard work, a whole lot of luck, and some stupids risks, I have sort of stepped over the threshold to some degree making it to Intermediate and to Radnor and VA and getting my name out there on a lot of horses and, for better or worse, gaining a reputation of as a "fixer" of problem horses. Nonetheless, I have gotten more small time feed, tack, and expense sponsorships than I can count just by asking. Pennfield, Nutrena, Adequan, Cosequin, GLC, BoB, several horse trials that are local to whereever I'm living, several local tack shops, and numerous individuals have provided their support in furthering my career and for that I cannot be thankful enough. What it has ultimately come down to is they can't say "Yes" if you don't ask and remember to be asking what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. I still don't have an Advanced horse but it's about finding a horse than you can work with within your and his/her parameters and working you way up. Ex: Purchase $200 pony in field that can move at liberty well, sell for $3500 two months later after teaching he/she to WTC, jump small courses, switch leads. Use that $3500 to buy a nice OTTB or young prospect, repeat same steps, sell for $8500, repeat steps with nicer prospect, sell for $15,000, and then just maybe you'll find something worth having. Atleast that is my system. WEG 2010 is my oh so ambitious goal. Watch out guys!

JanWeber
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:27 PM
As a parent of two young eventers, Liz and Caroline, I am painfully familiar with this story. Caroline (16), when not in school, is a working student for a respected eventing trainer. She is paid in lessons and show entries, advice and equipment. Her own horse won't go above Training, so a client of her trainer offered her a free lease on her daughter's (currently in vet school) * horse. Liz (20) is developing her own...her mare just did her first Prelim after a slow start due to lack of a trailer and random injuries. She works too many hours (and goes to school) to support her horse, pay for lessons, and fund entries. Both kids want to keep moving up in the levels as they also live their lives (go to school, do internships, plan for non-riding careers). They do see friends who are daughters of wealthy parents being handed one nice horse after another...but they also know it's the journey as much as the destination. Doesn't mean (as Caroline said) that she'd turn one down...

luveventing
Dec. 28, 2007, 10:56 PM
That is an accurate representation in my opinion. If you have lots of horses to get your name out there, you can get sponsorships. or if you have one really great horse you can campaign a lot, you can get sponsorships. If you make it as a YR you can get sponsorships with less than stellar results as long as you are competing at CCI** or up.

The people with the most money, support and horses get the sponsorships and it leaves the rest to just wonder "what if". Although Olympicdreams makes a good point. Asking local businesses for anything they can offer helps and trying to flip "cheapie" horses can get you there- but as she stated, you have to start small and very cheap and work your way up. that takes a lot of time and sometimes you get a "lemon" that you take a loss for.

but its a long hard road that many have to give up along the way or settle for the lower levels or as young horse trainers. I would love to see more grants and scholarships for those of us without a string of horses and money. I have nice young horses, but it will take some time until they are going prelim which would put me in the position to seek assistance. but the more money I can put into them as youngsters the quicker they come along and the more successful they become.

its certainly not an easy situation. Maybe upper level riders could offer some free entries to their clinics won by essay or something of the sort?? I would love to take both of mine to clinics- but many of them are 300-400 per horse.

I know getting a few entries paid a year, or a clinic or two, or a handful of lessons would make a HUGE difference in my bottom line and the training of my horses and myself.

JanWeber
Dec. 29, 2007, 08:16 AM
luveventing - several years ago, the Young Rider Advancement Program encouraged "young riders" at the top of the sport to donate time to clinics for BN-P kids on their way up. We talked facilities into hosting at a minimal charge (Pleasant Hollow, for one) - so the cost per rider for a 2 hour XC session in a group of 4 was about $50. The ones I hosted up here were very well received - Sara Kozumplik Dierks (who drove non-stop from Florida) and Will Coleman (who drove all night after waiting up for the vet for an NQR horse). They were wonderful - and the kids were really inspired.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 09:06 AM
Our Pony Club has been supportive and inspirational for our young riders, one of whom was on the NAJYRC ** Silver Medal team and finished 10th individually, one was on the * Bronze Medal team and finished 7th individually, and one member rode at Rolex this year, finishing 23rd. Each of these young women came to a meeting to talk about the Young Riders program. They give that program a lot of credit for their successes.

I think it is very difficult for young people with no money or support to "make it" in equestrian sports. I have tried before to see if there is anyone who has "made it" without either money or family in the business. Anyone?

kacey'srider
Dec. 29, 2007, 09:42 AM
[QUOTE=BarbB;2897260]
I tell the people asking for help to send me a resume, some photos, what they want from a sponsor and what they offer in return. I don't hear back from them.

If you are going to go to a business and ask for money you better have all your ducks in a row and be prepared to make a professional presentation.

The same sort of presentation made to breeders of sport horses could land someone the use of a top quality horse, but those breeders, with rare exceptions, are not out shopping for a rider, the rider needs to go and find them. QUOTE]

This may be a stupid question, but... aside from their name on a saddle pad and verbal promotion of their product, what do amateur no name riders have to offer sponsors?

BarbB
Dec. 29, 2007, 09:51 AM
[quote=kacey'srider;2898365
This may be a stupid question, but... aside from their name on a saddle pad and verbal promotion of their product, what do amateur no name riders have to offer sponsors?[/quote]

Verbal promotion of a product is advertising, which produces sales, which is why the company is in business in the first place.
Time donated to the sponsor is valuable. Endorsements that can be used in advertising are valuable. Trial use and feedback is valuable. Visible and prominent use of the product is valuable. Banners in the stabling area are valuable.
Riders looking for sponsorship should be thinking about ways that they can help the sponsor, be creative.

IMHO upper level riders with serious international aspirations are candidates for sponsorship from corporations and possible use of horses from breeders.
Other competitors who need sponsorship in order to get to that level should be looking locally for sponsorship. Tack stores, feed stores, newspapers, local riding assoc., your gym, your barn, your employer will often give help on a PR basis....local rider makes good....that sort of thing. It is also easier to find things to do in return for a local merchant or organization.

I think that too many competitors, and not just in horse sports, think that 'sponsorship' means free money. Ask any BNR what they do for their sponsors, it will probably blow your socks off.

BigMick
Dec. 29, 2007, 10:49 AM
But if riders are looking for multiple smaller sponsors to help them along the way, they need to treat their riding career like a business. Ask for investors and be prepared to show what you offer in return. The big names with lots of sponsors know how to do this....it's probably something they should be teaching their students, in addition to how to ride that advanced corner combination.

I tell the people asking for help to send me a resume, some photos, what they want from a sponsor and what they offer in return. I don't hear back from them.

If you are going to go to a business and ask for money you better have all your ducks in a row and be prepared to make a professional presentation.

Going around in a haphazard way basically begging and hoping for the best is just not going to work.




BarbB has really hit the nail on the head.

Part of the issue, I believe, is that these riders don't have enough basic business sense to realize what they need to do in the first place. They lack the professionalism to present themselves to prospective sponsors in a way that will be taken seriously.

Starting in 2005, I helped a young friend of mine by creating a portfolio and some sponsorship materials. I designed and maintained a website and worked some connections with a Purina rep trying to get her a level of sponsorship (which she got). Quite a few of us jumped on the wagon to help her reach her goal of getting to Rolex. She made it, but didn't handle the situation as professionally as she could have. Her parents would ask me to post photos to the site, and then never send them to me. Friends would donate money, and she never wrote thank you notes. At one point, one of the well-known horse magazines wanted to interview her, and she wouldn't even return their phone call. She had to be pulled aside and reminded that this was part of it. All in all, it was an entirely frustrating and thankless situation.

I work for a big Fortune 300 company in Marketing. I believe the same business model under which we operate should be applied to these riders seeking sponsorship.

Create a "product" pipeline: have as many young, talented horses as possible. This is necessary to replace upper level horses that age out or retire for a variety of reasons. These up-and-comers are resale prospects to keep a steady income coming in.
Marketing, marketing, marketing. Realize that it's necessary and that you can't do it by yourself. Get someone to help you. A website, portfolio, frequent letters/brochures to current and potential sponsors are minimum requirements.
Operations must be top-notch. Everything should be clean all the time - horse, rider, facilities, equipment, etc. You never know who will be stopping by. Be hospitable to everyone - they could eventually throw money your way. Be accountable for your actions. Maintain your horses AND yourself for maximum performance. Learn to manage your time so you never leave anyone hanging.
Mentoring. Get a SUCCESSFUL business person to help you maintain a business model. Not just your mom or someone who is a "good" rider. Often these people aren't the best examples.
Hone your communications skills. The facility where I board has an awesome young rider currently competing at Intermediate. Unfortunately, her communication skills merit about a C-. Poor spelling, lack of timely messages, and a weak vocabulary will not get you very far.
Learn to play the game. Yes, politics suck but that's life. Introduce yourself to top riders. Invest in lessons with them. Get on the USEA Leaderboard - even if it's on one of your pipeline project horses at Novice. I don't personally know 90% of the riders on the list, but I sure as heck recognize their names because I see them in every, single issue of Eventing magazine.
Manage your finances. Yes, I know...sitting in front of an excel spreadsheet or some sort of financial workbook is no fun. However, you need to get a handle on what's profitable and what's not. As much as you need financial backing, you need a plan for financial freedom/recovery as well should things go awry.
Know your competition. Every other rider at your level is not only competing for ribbons and placings, but potential sponsors as well. Find out what they do, then do it better.
Open yourself up to constructive criticism. You already take lessons - possibly with someone who really lets you have it when you lean too far forward, ride a line sloppily, etc. Now take that one gigantic step further and open yourself up to this same feedback from students, boarders, etc. At our company we have mid-year reviews where we set goals, 360 peer-reviews (anonymous), and a year-end Perfomance Appraisal. Sometimes it's really painful to hear that peers, clients, and supervisors think you're falling short in certain areas. However, from this comes growth. Suck it up, squelch the defensiveness and put that energy into improving. It's almost enlightening - like a good session with a therapist!Denny, I think having good horses is only a small part of the problem. We need an over-arching program in place that pairs these aspiring riders with local "recreational" riders who are smart, successful business people. (Though these mentors don't have to be horse people, it would probably help.) The best rides out there will only get you so far if you don't have a machine to keep it all going. Riders like me have long given up working the levels, but certainly enjoy the high of supporting a deserving rider trying to get there. However, there needs to be certain guidelines in place to ensure that the rider is learning and participating beyond just hopping on a horse and waiting for a hand-out.

Perhaps it's time to pilot a program? Let me know how I can help!

luveventing
Dec. 29, 2007, 11:05 AM
BigMick-
That was a perfect explaination and also very inspiring to go down the list and "check off" ones I have done and ones I need to work on more. Perhaps a certain someone should be writing up an article for USEA on this???? :) Thanks for the comments.

BigMick
Dec. 29, 2007, 11:14 AM
BigMick-
That was a perfect explaination and also very inspiring to go down the list and "check off" ones I have done and ones I need to work on more. Perhaps a certain someone should be writing up an article for USEA on this???? :) Thanks for the comments.

Well, thank you! I think I need to do more homework before writing any articles, but I'm certainly mulling it over!

ellebeaux
Dec. 29, 2007, 11:20 AM
I second that idea! Maybe you can interview some of the others on this post to give real-life success stories.

CapturinYerRide
Dec. 29, 2007, 12:59 PM
This is an interesting subject that has been brought up more than a few times recently. Up until now, the threads have mostly been started by riders who are currently looking for sponsors to help them on the way. The responses are all along the same lines, giving ideas on where to go to get support as well as how to go about convincing the potential sponsor to “take a chance on me.” This thread is different as it starts with someone who is well past looking for sponsorship who was just pondering with others of his generation whether things are today the same, or tougher, than things were in their heyday. But I don’t see anyone answering the question asked. The responses are all again answers to the other threads, how to go about getting sponsors.

I say Denny that your assessment is largely correct, but it isn’t 100% of the case. The situation is kind of like college education today. There are a whole lot more people trying to go on to college these days, and they aren’t making any, or many, more colleges. Competition for slots is fierce, and the price tag is way up there. I went to a fine institution in my day, but I couldn’t get in today, not because I’m not so smart, but because there are so many more smart kids out there vying for the slots, most of them working much harder at it than I ever did. Then with the economy being very different, the fact is that even my father would have a hard time paying for that school these days, much less me paying for it. Same goes for eventing. Are there more or less venues to compete at these days? I think less. Are there more, or less, capable and qualified horses these days? I say that perhaps there are just as many, but many more riders looking to have them. This goes with my perception of an almost doubling in the price of a decent lower level prospect in the past 10 years. With two daughters who event (as a passionate hobby, not a career dream) we seemed to be able to find decent horses under or around $10k in 2000, but today, good luck finding one under $15k! There are just simply more people getting into the sport. It's simple supply and demand. Sponsors and a lucky birth can go a long way to covering that price increase!

Now, a whole variety of businesses are out there are willing to take a chance on an “up-‘n-comer.” (I’m not answering Denny’s question here.) Everyone wants to get behind a winner, but how do we know who will continue to be a winner? Well, I suppose you have to have a good horse, so back to the original question…. Having a local tack shop, I’m approached almost weekly by riders who are looking for help with their journey. We’ve taken some chances on individuals over the years, and still do occasionally, but from a business perspective we have boiled it down to two points. First that the local shops and organizations are better served when they sponsor the venues, and second, that the equipment manufacturers are better served when they sponsor the individual. Not a 100% rule, but a guideline. By sponsoring the events that everyone rides at, helping with donations and organizing help days and benefit shows, the good will that brings folks in to shop is generated. By putting a brand name on a saddle pad, the manufacturers generate recognition that makes you choose their products when you come to shop. If a rider has a good resume, we can help sometimes make the introductions, but the rider has to prove he or she is worth the investment to the equipment company. Like GPA and SAT scores, the resume minimums have gone up in a generation. I recently heard a local clinician list the venues at which you'd better be winning.

The rider also then has to do what happens in any sport, namely, to give back to the community from which the support came from in the first place. There may need to be some creativity here! Are you willing to do that? Are you passionate enough to do anything that it takes, within morality of course? If so, I say, you’ll find the help you want. Just like the situation with colleges, you have to do a lot more work to prove your worth it!

pegasusmom
Dec. 29, 2007, 03:30 PM
I think it is very difficult for young people with no money or support to "make it" in equestrian sports. I have tried before to see if there is anyone who has "made it" without either money or family in the business. Anyone?


Becky Douglas Holder comes to mind. Her parents are terrific, very supportive, but as I recall Bob started to ride after Becky and he is a retired senior NCO.

Stewie
Dec. 29, 2007, 03:37 PM
I agree with all you've said... you're selling and representing not only the sport, but yourself and the product. There's a lot of discussion on this board (and in person), when it comes to 'I NEED a sponsor to go far', but when you can't form cohesive sentences, then I wonder how well you'll do convincing someone to brand themselves with you.

You may win, but can you talk, write, represent? Maybe that wasn't AS important 30 years ago, but today I'd toss your resume out if your cover letter is filled with errors, let alone let you represent me!

That said, I also believe thinking outside the box will make a difference. Be more inventive than logo-ing a saddle pad...make the sponsorship unique, just as their product is.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 05:36 PM
I agree with all you've said... you're selling and representing not only the sport, but yourself and the product. There's a lot of discussion on this board (and in person), when it comes to 'I NEED a sponsor to go far', but when you can't form cohesive sentences, then I wonder how well you'll do convincing someone to brand themselves with you.

You may win, but can you talk, write, represent? Maybe that wasn't AS important 30 years ago, but today I'd toss your resume out if your cover letter is filled with errors, let alone let you represent me!

That said, I also believe thinking outside the box will make a difference. Be more inventive than logo-ing a saddle pad...make the sponsorship unique, just as their product is.

That is why the USHJA Zone 5 committee has started a college scholarship program. They realize that athletes represent not only their sport, but their communities as well.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 05:41 PM
Becky Douglas Holder comes to mind. Her parents are terrific, very supportive, but as I recall Bob started to ride after Becky and he is a retired senior NCO.


And, I see that her web site does have a space for a "featured student"! :)

denny
Dec. 29, 2007, 05:47 PM
It almost seems that marketing has become as essential a skill as riding, if you haven`t been blessed (or cursed, I`m not sure which) with a family fortune to rely upon.
Would it not make sense for either the USEA, or, more to the point, the USEF high performance discipline committees, to create marketing and promotion seminars, open to up and coming riders?
Also, perhaps talent derbies, to identify raw talent, and then some sort of program to put horse owners in touch with the winners of those derbies?
Certainly something needs to be done if ,in the future, the only kids able to get spotted will be those who financially don`t need to be.
Does anyone want to take this on? Would the associations LET anyone take this on?

DancingPretense
Dec. 29, 2007, 05:50 PM
Those of you that are saying "think outside the box", "something other than a saddle pad", my questions is like what??

Options seem to be:

- Using product
- Mentioning product in interviews
- Displaying logo and info on banners, trailer, truck, saddle pad, jackets, etc.
- Link on your website

How else? My mind is blank...

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 05:53 PM
It almost seems that marketing has become as essential a skill as riding, if you haven`t been blessed (or cursed, I`m not sure which) with a family fortune to rely upon.
Would it not make sense for either the USEA, or, more to the point, the USEF high performance discipline committees, to create marketing and promotion seminars, open to up and coming riders?
Also, perhaps talent derbies, to identify raw talent, and then some sort of program to put horse owners in touch with the winners of those derbies?
Certainly something needs to be done if ,in the future, the only kids able to get spotted will be those who financially don`t need to be.
Does anyone want to take this on? Would the associations LET anyone take this on?

Great start - as I said, the USHJA is trying to address this but seem to have fallen in the trap of promoting those who really don't need it (trickle down theory?). A couple of thoughts about the talent derbies - great idea, because it states up front what the participants are looking for (support), and will hopefully help to identify horse owners who are hoping to help. However, you need to address the riders with talent but no horse - how can they participate?

Also like the idea of marketing seminars.

Kairoshorses
Dec. 29, 2007, 06:24 PM
What a fascinating thread! I am a late-comer ammie who will never ride above Training, I fear (if I get that far), but I LOVE this sport. And I'm seeing a lot of parallels to my own work--I am a professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication, and our students have similar problems--if the market is flooded with PhDs, "raw talent" doesn't always get you a job. You have to market yourself.

Bur marketing isn't easy, nor is it obvious. I love what others have said about being professional, clean, gracious, and so forth, but folks have to LEARN how they are being perceived by others. We teach a three-year ongoign professional development seminar for an hour a semester, and we cover everything from the interview to writing articles/getting published (the cultural capital in my field) to writing a job letter to how to deal with departmental politics.

And still folks don't always get jobs--but it helps.

SO--it would seem that what the USEA needs is a series of professional development seminars, akin to clinics, given by those who've made it, by potential sponsors, by professionals (like Denny!), and so forth--right?

What a great idea!

I also might suggest this: several people in my field have put together some really important web pages in which work that's not always "valued" in my field (work with technology, work with administration) can be "pitched" when going up for tenure. One site actually recruited tenure cases and chairs from English depts. to see if the various cases would "make" it at their university (all anonymous, of course). The reasoning behind it was REALLY educational--and it helped me and my colleagues understand how to "spin" work we were doing with technology, administration, and so forth to tenure committees. Again, some of that has been happening here, with various great lists of what to do (as well as some tales of what NOT to do). Perhaps a web site site with some of these "do"s and "don't"s could be useful as well.

PhoenixFarm
Dec. 29, 2007, 06:34 PM
I'm going to respond first to Denny's idea. Here is the challenge, to my mind. It is not difficult to find a breeder or owner of a nice horse with tremendous potential who would be willing to give the ride, and make a long term commitment to, an up and coming rider. I'd consider myself in that category. Denny, I suspect these days, you'd consider yourself one as well.

What is difficult however, is to find one of the above, who also has themselves the financial deep pockets to support a horse at the top levels. I can speak from personal expereince when I say that the vet bills alone will effing kill you. That doesn't even count the board, entry fees, trailering, farrier, etc. Show me someone who claims the last month before the CCI doesn't make their credit card scream in agony, and I'll show you a liar. ;)

Believe me, it's a tough sell to my accountant to try to explain the benefits of letting my assistant have my homebred to campaign. And I don't pay him a dime for his riding or training of him, and he helps out with entries and pays for his own lessons/clinics. If he goes advanced, it will be a mixed blessing--because it'd be a dream come true I have no idea how I'd afford. And to be blunt, I'm a rider too. I have other horses to show and ride, and while it's fun to "be an owner" I'm not willing to hang up my own boots quite yet--something else I don't think is uncommon.

And yet, I know for a fact, that many of these "eager young talents" expect to be paid for having these nice horses, in addition to all their bill sbeing covered. That's just not an option for the average owner/breeder. Cover expenses, possibly. Tack a bunch of overhead on top of it? Far less likely. Similarly, I can afford this at all because we keep the horse "at home" (yes, our home is a professional barn, but still)--if I had to pay commercial board on him, there'd be no way.

Speaking as an owner and breeder who'd like to help the cause here, I can say I don't need to have talent identified for me or pipelines created or anything else. I need some help to help the kid. Money for the vet or farrier, and/or show entries every month would make a HUGE difference to me. Astronomical. I can put the horse on the ground, develop it, identify my local talent, provide facilities and guidance, etc. etc. just fine. What I struggle to do is pay the dang bills. If not for that, hell, I'd offer a horse to every great kid I find. But right now I can barely afford the one I have.

And to touch on something Dancing Pretense said, let me put my journalist hat on for a sec, and just say/suggest that you shouldn't promise potential sponsors press attention. I can tell you that I have interviewed hundreds of riders, and every one of them dutifully listed their sponsors. I don't even bother to write them down. Now before you all jump on me, there is no point. No legitimate magazine is going to print a sentance like "Sally Joe, who is sponsored by Amerigo, Nunn Finer, and Uncle Woo's House of Chicken, moved in to the lead on day two witha a double clear cross country round." As a young reporter sympathetic to their plight I tried to slip those kinds of sentences in early in my career. At best they were simply cut, at worst I got a lecture on the theme of "we are not a PR agency, tell them to buy an ad." Yes, there are some flulff mags that will print that stuff, but the hard core press, the ones you'd really like that stuff printed in, won't do it.

Even if you do as some rider do, and call your horse "Uncle Woo's House of Chicken Bob" you might get their name printed, but you won't get an accompanyng explanation of what the sponsor is or does or how people can reach them. It's just a name hanging in space.

The occaisional, and I do stress occaisional, exception to this rule is a theraputic product that the rider uses to solve a problem. I remember a few years back a rider had a sponsorship with a therpautic saddle pad company. They had a horse that had dissapeared from the scene for a year, and then re-emerged. When interviewed about where the horse had been, the rider explained the horse had been retired due to back problems, but then on a vets recomendation they had tried these pads, and the horse had returned to full work, better than ever. That story got printed.

BarbB
Dec. 29, 2007, 06:56 PM
Those of you that are saying "think outside the box", "something other than a saddle pad", my questions is like what??

Options seem to be:

- Using product
- Mentioning product in interviews
- Displaying logo and info on banners, trailer, truck, saddle pad, jackets, etc.
- Link on your website

How else? My mind is blank...

I can tell you what one Olympic competitor did for a sponsor.....not an Equestrian. She was handed a small check by the corporation that her father worked for to help her along. She did all the usual stuff in thanks and then she found out what the pet charity was of the VP who wrote her the check and she volunteered at the annual fund raising event that the VP took part in to support THAT charity.
The next year the same VP handed her a very large check.
This girl made it to the Olympics this way, her family could not afford to finance her, she found a way to do it herself, by asking for help and paying people back in something other than money.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 07:10 PM
So, Barb, you do need to think outside the box!!

BarbB
Dec. 29, 2007, 07:26 PM
It almost seems that marketing has become as essential a skill as riding, if you haven`t been blessed (or cursed, I`m not sure which) with a family fortune to rely upon.
Would it not make sense for either the USEA, or, more to the point, the USEF high performance discipline committees, to create marketing and promotion seminars, open to up and coming riders?
Also, perhaps talent derbies, to identify raw talent, and then some sort of program to put horse owners in touch with the winners of those derbies?
Certainly something needs to be done if ,in the future, the only kids able to get spotted will be those who financially don`t need to be.
Does anyone want to take this on? Would the associations LET anyone take this on?

Denny, I am going to let my cynical side answer this.
IMHO, nobody needs to form a committee or spend a lot of money to identify future international riders. Eventing is a VERY small world. I would bet that half the people who compete in any Area can identify the people who want to make it to the top, have the talent and are working at it to the very best of their ability.
If the USEA or USEF was interesting in identifying riders to offer help in some way all they have to do is ask at any HT in the country who deserves some help and they could compile a list.
The fact that they don't do this speaks to me of a mindset governed by old school, old habits and old money.
And maybe the fix is a grass roots effort that doesn't involve waiting for USEA or USEF to do something. That could be a very long wait.

PhoenixFarm
Dec. 29, 2007, 07:53 PM
I'm going to agree with barb, and again stress for many of us the help doesn't need to be incredible sums of money (say, what it would cost to procure a world class horse). $500 or $1000 a month. The horses are out here. The people who are willing to get them in the right hands are out here. They are even willing to offer some degree of financial support to those horses. The riders are out here. What isn't here is the $$$.

If the NF wanted to help, I mean really help, it would have need-based scholarships, paid out as a monthly stipend, that riders could apply for. We don't need more competitions, committees, staff or beauracracies. We need money. -shrugs- Inelegant, and crass, but it's the truth.

Want to make the kids work for it? Require they turn in x number of volunteer hours in the sport per month. Or make them volunteer for animal charities. Or teach the next tier down from them for free. Write a weekly blog about their learning and progress.

It's as simple and as complex as that.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 08:02 PM
Want to make the kids work for it? Require they turn in x number of volunteer hours in the sport per month. Or make them volunteer for animal charities. Or teach the next tier down from them for free. Write a weekly blog about their learning and progress.


Sounds like Pony Club!!

luveventing
Dec. 29, 2007, 08:15 PM
I love the idea of scholarships, entry fees, clinic fees, etc. for volunteer hours. its tough to volunteer a lot of hours if you have little money and time. Working full time, riding and volunteering gets tough, so where I can- I charge a WAY reduced fee to at least pay my gas. So the scholarship would have to be a fair amount of money to be able to commit time volunteering where you might normally charge.

its tough, those of us that need financial support end up working all hours of the day just to be where we are. It might get tough to find time to volunteer too, but if it was a good sized scholarship, it would be worth cutting back to get that chance.

I for one am very excited at all the talk on this bulletin board about scholarships, "financial aid", grants, etc. for up and coming riders. I just hope it comes to a point we see them in writing next year. I dream of eventing being like college scholarships- where you can go down a list and find something that you fit into and apply. dreaming yes- but its good to know there are people out there trying to find ways to make this sport available to the ones trying to make their own way.

I think the idea of derbies is great too! with the increasing specatorship for the derby crosses- that could be a great showcase for up and comers. Maybe branch off and have lower level classes in coordination with the ones in existance?

CallMeGrace
Dec. 29, 2007, 08:29 PM
There are things we can do that may be small, but may make a difference. I volunteer to support my kids' habit! I volunteer as Secretary for our local event, as Treasurer for our Pony Club, and I usually have a working student or two living free in our walk out basement. It may not be much money wise, but hopefully some day these little things will come around to help my kids. I also work full time to support their habit! ;)

Albion
Dec. 29, 2007, 08:54 PM
I for one am very excited at all the talk on this bulletin board about scholarships, "financial aid", grants, etc. for up and coming riders. I just hope it comes to a point we see them in writing next year. I dream of eventing being like college scholarships- where you can go down a list and find something that you fit into and apply. dreaming yes- but its good to know there are people out there trying to find ways to make this sport available to the ones trying to make their own way.

But all that college scholarship, graduate stipend, fellowship, etc. money comes from somewhere. Someone, at some point, put up cold hard cash to get those sort of funds started. Where does the money come from in this case?

I'm a graduate student who is blessed with a program and (most importantly) advisors who are INCREDIBLY aggressive about securing funding for us - in the same way sponsorships take the pressure off competitors so they can focus on the competing, we don't ever 'really' have to worry about funding so we can focus on our work. Who will be the ones 'behind the scenes' securing funding and sponsors for these sorts of funds? And who will be putting up the funding - those funds come from somewhere. The nice fat fellowships and the like that we all apply for - someone, at some point in time, put up the cash to get the ball rolling. Fulbrights and Javits and all those other wonderful scholarships, fellowships, and grants didn't just appear. :)

The idea of having scholarship funds is great - but someone has to be willing to sink a relatively substantial amount of money to get the ball rolling, and someone has to be willing to organize the whole thing. That said, once the ball gets rolling and the funds start growing by way of interest and the like, the potential is quite amazing, as all those scholarship and grant funds prove. It's just getting the ball rolling & having people who can go out and fundraise for what might be small dividends (ie, not getting the benefit of a visible sponsorship) to organize everything.

WNT
Dec. 29, 2007, 10:49 PM
I like the idea of being rewarded for volunteering at events, etc. Honestly, anyone who competes in eventing should volunteer at events when they can. I loved doing it. I haven't been able to for the last two and a half years. Once I decided I needed to get out and work for ULRs, all my free time for volunteering went PFFT out the window. When I'm at an event, I am either competing or helping my employer compete, usually both.

Not wanting to sound like a whiny, broke "up-and-comer", over the years, I've gotten the 'things' I need to compete: tack, rig, horse, etc. I'm in a position where I am being helped out wonderfully by my employers who provide room and board for me and one horse, as well as riding other horses, plenty of lessons and training, etc, which I am deliriously grateful for.

The problem rolls around every time the farrier comes out, every credit card bill paying for last season (bad money management on my part there), every trip to the pump for the semi-reliable old gas-guzzler that hauls my very-reliable hay-guzzler to events. {Shrugs} A paycheck barely covers it, and the next season hasn't even started yet. If I get a "real" job, to try and make enough money to cover rent, board, training, competition, etc, then I'm looking at the age-old amateur question of "when do I develop my riding career?" around my money-earning career. Hard to be an up-and-coming rider when you don't have time to ride.

I guess I need to get thinking out of the box, too!

RAyers
Dec. 29, 2007, 10:53 PM
...I'm a graduate student who is blessed with a program and (most importantly) advisors who are INCREDIBLY aggressive about securing funding for us - in the same way sponsorships take the pressure off competitors so they can focus on the competing, we don't ever 'really' have to worry about funding so we can focus on our work. Who will be the ones 'behind the scenes' securing funding and sponsors for these sorts of funds? And who will be putting up the funding - those funds come from somewhere. The nice fat fellowships and the like that we all apply for - someone, at some point in time, put up the cash to get the ball rolling. Fulbrights and Javits and all those other wonderful scholarships, fellowships, and grants didn't just appear. :)
...

And the reality is that we, as professors, expect our graduate students to produce. Just like the funding agencies we get our money from expects us to produce. I expect my gradate students to publish and to push their work forward with QUALITY data.

So when a person gets a sponsorship they better produce and that does NOT mean always winning. It means getting the sponsor's name out there (e.g. making sure their product is used and folks buy it). I find that I do more for my various sponsors by using and recommending their products. At the same time it seems my scientific background has MORE of an impact than my riding. In other words, my words and actions and reputation.

So, like others have said, you need to be MORE than just a good rider to get and keep sponsors. You need to present professional, reputable, and strong representation.

Reed

Robin@DHH
Dec. 29, 2007, 11:28 PM
One small step toward financial support for eventers could come in the form of financial support
for entry in competitions. I am an organizer (of a very small and unimportant horse trial) and
I would have no problem contributing a free entry to my competition if there were some agency
that would go about awarding it. I would hope that there are lots of other organizers who are
able and willing to do likewise. This won't carry a competitor very far, but many small bits can
together amount to something.

pwynnnorman
Dec. 30, 2007, 06:31 AM
A bit of of the box, but wouldn't it be kinda neat if those who have "made" it gave a bit back, financially (acknowledging that many give back by volunteering their time and expertise, too)? I was thinking about how fairly miniscule prize money tends to be in the grand scheme of things for those routinely trodding the road to international competitions. Many of those riders are deep in horses and owners, and/or have some pretty solid familiar support (or sponsorship), making the occasional $1000 or so more or less like a drop in a bucket (and I'll be quite blunt on this: $1000 is NOT a drop in a bucket to me, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that, if Ted could read his own financials, he'd think it was!). So why not contribute that small sum (10% of prize money or $1000, whichever is greater) to a fund for up and comers?

Nothing like trying to give away other people's money, huh? Still, to defend my thoughts and where they're coming from, let me explain that when I was growing up, my boss at the sales barn I rode for was a member of the Professional Horsemen's Association, which was much, much more active back then than it is now. Its members routinely put money back into the sport--for themselves when they got injured, lost spouses or horses, had barn fires, etc., but also, sometimes, for young people needing a helping hand. Wouldn't it be nice to reinvent that tradition in the form of scholarships or grants?

How many times have you read about someone's talented student foregoing opportunities because funds weren't available to enable them to take advantage of those opportunities (such as to work with another trainer or specialist, to compete at a championship or maybe abroad, to purchase some desparately needed equipment (or horse) -- or even to deal with bills that might force the rider to scale back and/or start eyeing jobs outside the sport)?

Right now, there's that newish group of pros, right? Can't remember the name of it and, again, I apologize for proposing to spend other people's money, but the fact is that the busy pros sometimes don't have time to think through this sort of thing--and many of their owners, who could also help, may not be connected (to the sport) enough to realize how much of a difference even a small contribution could make. Put it this way (which is my point: a ULR might not THINK to "put it this way"): $1000 is .0166 of Ted's average annual expenses and that's WITHOUT going to Europe! And in this sport, no one goes into a competition [I]expecting to get money out of it: so much can go wrong and/or so few points -- a puff of wind on a teetering rail, a little bobble on landing -- can be the difference between bieng in and out of the money...when there IS money. So why not give back a little bit of what you didn't really expect to get anyway?

M. O'Connor
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:20 AM
I've actually given this situation quite a lot of thought.

It was easy for owners to have confidence in the system in years gone by because the group of owners and coaches knew each other so well--it was a small club. Now that it's grown beyond that, there are owners and breeders with horses but not enough resources, riders with not enough resources, and no one central infrastructure through which a coach can raise funds and match them up in pairs.

There are pieces to the puzzle lying all around--no one has the responsibility right now for putting them all together.

This is a problem that requires a top-down solution in creating a formal infrastructure to be made available to owners in any of the disciplines through which young horses with potential or accomplished horses with credentials could be loaned to the teams for coaches to be able to match them up with a partner for the purpose of competing, either nationally or internationally.

I might be over simplifying things but I think it's a question of focused fundraising specifically for such a program, and creating a process for the consideration of riders and owners that could be supervised by the coaches. Even if begun with very small numbers it would be a start--say, a goal of obtaining one or two horses in each discipline for the benefit of one or two riders in each discipline, or even for established riders in each discipline to get the horse part of it going if it's perceived as too much of a risk to gamble on low profile riders.

AKB
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:47 AM
I think that it is important for YRs to stay in school. Going to college part-time is fine. Not going to college is a potential problem. Some sponsors want to see that they are helping create young adults who will be successful members of society. In case the riding career ends, there needs to be a backup plan. My daughters have received a lot of financial support through college. Their sponsors, members of the alumni association, keep in touch with them to be sure they are doing well in school. One sponsor enjoyed keeping track of my daughter's riding career. Admittedly, the full time academic programs have been too academically rigorous to keep riding competitively through college. Going to school part-time is a good compromise. Degrees in nursing, pharmacy, radiology tech, law, or whatever will help you get sponsorship money and will support yourself so you can have a nice horse if you don't get enough sponsorship money.

denny
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:49 AM
The USEF structure for allocating grant money used to be slanted in favor of the best supported riders, (whether through family money, or by way of wealthy sponsors).
In other words, those who did well got money from the team, despite the fact many didn`t need it, and had done well in the first place because they already had it.
In one case there was a choice to be made between a kid whose family was in the Forbes 400 richest families, and a woman whose husband drove a bulldozer for a living. Sure enough, the kid got the money.
The old USET refused to consider need based grants, although the model was solidly in place at every college in America, and could have been modified.
I don`t know whether this elitist thinking still reigns at the new USEF, but the old USET was riddled with it.
So if anything`s going to actually happen, it needs to be through a non-profit group above suspicion!

M. O'Connor
Dec. 30, 2007, 09:41 AM
I agree that poor reasoning has resulted in the present situation.

It's certainly not because there isn't enough money in the sport.

Just read the stats in this weeks COTH on USHJA membership (forgive me for being illiterate on eventing, this topic just caught my eye on the main forum board--but this affects all high performance disciplines). On those membership numbers:

USHJA membership stood at 35,744 in 2007. 35,744 X 10 is 350,744; if $10 of each membership fee went to this program (and God only knows where else it's going, but I'm presuming that this is a realistic amount to shave off of some other expenditures) that is certainly enough to keep two or three horses in board, training, and entered in top competitions, particularly if the combinations produced could be expected to win some prize money back for the fund. And that's adjusting for inflation since I haven't seen the books on a GPx horse for about 15 years, at which point it took $50K annually to keep one on the road, excluding prize money. Depending on the numbers in the other disciplines, such a formula could work just as well for each one. Putting the money aside for one "dormant" year would enable quite a seed fund to be established, and prevent the collapse of the program due to inevitable disappointments that arise (injury and such).

This is purely a question of lack of initiative--not to underestimate the amount of initiative required! In order to get anything done in this day and age requires dogged determination, singleminded obsession, and a receptive majority. There's a lot of "noise" out there to rise above.

I've always been good at "macro-conceptualizing;" but I've struck out at translating this ability to produce an earned income from it-consequently, I am too busy cleaning stalls and driving children to and fro on a daily basis to be able to set down my pitchfork and put the ideas that pop into my head while I'm slinging it into the wheelbarrow into action. So, while I can visualize this program in it's entirety, it will have to remain an idea in my head and described in these paragraphs, as unfortunately, I am not at the moment serving on any committee, nor do I myself have resources to put this agenda "out there" for consideration. Out "here" on COTH is as far as I can get presently. I await a solution to this dilemma, and am definitely open to suggestions from the "floor" on it!

CallMeGrace
Dec. 30, 2007, 09:58 AM
The USEF structure for allocating grant money used to be slanted in favor of the best supported riders, (whether through family money, or by way of wealthy sponsors).
In other words, those who did well got money from the team, despite the fact many didn`t need it, and had done well in the first place because they already had it.
In one case there was a choice to be made between a kid whose family was in the Forbes 400 richest families, and a woman whose husband drove a bulldozer for a living. Sure enough, the kid got the money.
The old USET refused to consider need based grants, although the model was solidly in place at every college in America, and could have been modified.
I don`t know whether this elitist thinking still reigns at the new USEF, but the old USET was riddled with it.
So if anything`s going to actually happen, it needs to be through a non-profit group above suspicion!

It's funny, I was thinking about this discussion and I did think this might be a way for the USEF to show a little more grounding in reality. Just read many of the threads on this board to see how out of touch many people believe the USEF to be!

But, again, the discussion is veering towards how to keep the top performers in horses. My big question is - how did the woman whose husband drove the bulldozer make it that far to be considered for the grant?

Also, the point about education is a good one. That is why (sorry to reference this again) the USHJA decided to offer a college scholarship. One way they funded it was with commitments from show organizers to donate $1 per equitation entry. I like the idea of a portion of membership fees going back to some such program.

We also have some interesting case studies for non-profits. How about the KY Horse Park Foundation? Or, the USET Foundation? Are these programs successful?

Many of us would like to work towards a solution, but, as M. O'Connor says, we don't have the resources to put the agenda "out" there. Perhaps that's why Denny asked the question, because he does?

dressagediosa
Dec. 30, 2007, 10:31 AM
I'm a dressage rider, but this thread caught my eye, and I can tell you that up-and-comers in dressage face a lot of the same issues.

Something that (I don't think) has been brought up yet is that once we have The Horse, through whatever means, we've also got to get some help in bringing it up. USEF has Training Sessions for the Grand Prix A and B lists, as well as for the Developing List, but there are only two of them - one in California, and one in Wellington. Makes it a little tricky for those of us NOT in those two places, not to mention that the Developing List misses a lot of people, and that while some "extra" riders get invited to the clinics, the selection process for that is arbitrary and, frankly, bogus.

Maybe you eventers are more fortunate than us, but I would love to see more educational opportunities for up-and-comers. The cost of getting the horse, keeping the horse, keeping the horse healthy and fit and getting the top equiptment, and getting to and entering the Big Shows is so daunting, it would be really swell to have more free, or cheap, opportunities to learn how to make the horse better! :) Not to mention that, with all the controversy over training methods in dressage, it would provide a forum for the next generation to confirm their methodology is "in the right way." There is a team coach for the Canadian dressage Young Riders, and we do have a "Developing Coach" (Debbie McDonald, who is a wonderful coach but still an active competitor herself - her time is precious) and a Young Horse Coach (Scott Hassler, who is EXTREMELY generous with his time) - it would be wonderful to have more opportunities to work with them.

I think it's also very interesting to see how positive and warm the responses to this have been from the Event contingent, whereas every similar thread on the Dressage board seems to be met with lots of negativity. Interesting, but not suprising :)

As far as "what do riders have to offer sponsors," one of the things my sponsors like the best that I do is my bi-monthly (or so) newsletters, just for them, which talk about how the horses are doing and what we're up to, but is much friendlier and more personal than just reading results online. They like being part of the journey as much as I like them being part of it, and I make VERY sure that they are included in every step.

west5
Dec. 30, 2007, 10:44 AM
But all that college scholarship, graduate stipend, fellowship, etc. money comes from somewhere. Someone, at some point, put up cold hard cash to get those sort of funds started. Where does the money come from in this case?

The nice fat fellowships and the like that we all apply for - someone, at some point in time, put up the cash to get the ball rolling. Fulbrights and Javits and all those other wonderful scholarships, fellowships, and grants didn't just appear. :)


This is an important issue. the money can come from anywhere and somebody has to be on top of the ball.

I see a couple of problems standing in the way.

One, there is a lot of complaining (at least on the boards) about the people who can buy a horse to get around whatever level. Did any one stop to think that those are the SAME people who might consider giving back major dollars to the sport? Instead of bashing them some one should be courting them especially the adult amateurs. If there are parents buying great horses for their young rider kids maybe someone should be trying to get them to "loan" those horses for a season or even a month or two before they are sold if said young rider goes to college.

Also, there was a post much earlier about an up and comer who had to have their arm twisted and be reminded about doing interviews, writing thank you notes, and the accompanying duties that come with receiving funding. If you receive funding you must act thankful even if you don't want to.

I once e-mailed a rider about a lease horse advertised on the area web-site. I never received a response. I will always remember that fact. She had a lot of info about sponsorship possibilities on her personal web-site. If you can't return an e-mail I'm not going to ever consider sponsoring you. If horse was already leased, a friendly thanks for your interest but horse is already taken would have done the trick. I know you might be busy but every interaction is an opportunity or a missed opportunity.

My trainers tried to support a teen rider with no funds. They have serious competition horses for sale which she was able to ride and compete. Said teen rider was basically lazy and ungrateful. I was shocked. At one point she called a horse stupid in a lesson to the trainer's face. She was then yanked off the horse and told not to come back. I ride and compete this particular horse who is a phenomenal athlete and a saint. My trainers are going to less inclined to help out again.

I was walking around a big event with my dog having competed the day before. Who should strike up a conversation with me but Karen O'Connor. Was I having a nice day? Did I like the event? Blah, blah,blah ... Now she may or may not be a "nice" person in real life but she made a positive impression on me. I am aware that it might be just for show but that is part of the game, too.

I just think that this issue needs to be tackled both from the organization (USEF-USEA) side and the grass roots side too.

Mary in Area 1
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:08 PM
I think that it is important for YRs to stay in school. Going to college part-time is fine. Not going to college is a potential problem. Some sponsors want to see that they are helping create young adults who will be successful members of society. In case the riding career ends, there needs to be a backup plan. My daughters have received a lot of financial support through college. Their sponsors, members of the alumni association, keep in touch with them to be sure they are doing well in school. One sponsor enjoyed keeping track of my daughter's riding career. Admittedly, the full time academic programs have been too academically rigorous to keep riding competitively through college. Going to school part-time is a good compromise. Degrees in nursing, pharmacy, radiology tech, law, or whatever will help you get sponsorship money and will support yourself so you can have a nice horse if you don't get enough sponsorship money.


AKB, I am completely perplexed by your post. Are you in the US? How do degrees in those areas help you get sponsorship?

My two daughters ride very competitively, one in eventing and one in dressage. One chose to go to college and was very successful academically (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude). The other is going the working student route. Neither has EVER had even the SLIGHTEST most REMOTE opportunity to receive any sponsorship through any academic channels.

Please elaborate.

RAyers
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:33 PM
AKB, I am completely perplexed by your post. Are you in the US? How do degrees in those areas help you get sponsorship?

My two daughters ride very competitively, one in eventing and one in dressage. One chose to go to college and was very successful academically (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude). The other is going the working student route. Neither has EVER had even the SLIGHTEST most REMOTE opportunity to receive any sponsorship through any academic channels.

Please elaborate.


What she means, I believe and I completely agree with, is that an education provides a fall back if, for some reason, you can no longer ride. At the same time, education can help show a sponsor the potential of the person. It can show the capabilities and dedication beyond horses. Many sponsors want a well rounded person, not somebody who can only do one thing, even if they do it well. Why? Because the person they sponsor can represent the company to wider variety of people (e.g. Tiger Woods' appeal goes way beyond his own demographic).

Reed

BarbB
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:44 PM
What she means, I believe and I completely agree with, is that an education provides a fall back if, for some reason, you can no longer ride. At the same time, education can help show a sponsor the potential of the person. It can show the capabilities and dedication beyond horses. Many sponsors want a well rounded person, not somebody who can only do one thing, even if they do it well. Why? Because the person they sponsor can represent the company to wider variety of people (e.g. Tiger Woods' appeal goes way beyond his own demographic).

Reed


Exactly. Some of you have asked, what can I do besides a name on a saddle pad. Well, the (potential) sponsors are also looking for what can you do besides put their name on a saddle pad.

CapturinYerRide
Dec. 30, 2007, 12:44 PM
dressagediosa’s comment zooms us out from this issue a bit. Potential sponsors in the equestrian industry are asked for support from all of the disciplines, not just from eventers. If one is looking for support outside of that industry, well, then there is every endeavor under the sun to compete against. The local lumber company gets asked for free wood for fences; a tack shop is asked to help pay for soccer uniforms as well.

From a potential business sponsor’s standpoint, it is a business decision whether to support one rider over another or a little bit to more than one, but a business decision nonetheless. There isn’t a sponsor out there who wouldn’t love to be able to recognize which new rider will be the star in a few years, put some backing behind that person, attach its own business reputation to that person, then reap the benefit after a few or ten years. A bad decision can not only be financially bad, but can potentially tarnish the business’ image over the long run. For this group of askers, help has to come from a lot of places, but in all cases, if my name is to be attached to any individual, I want it to be with someone with a well-rounded character. I’m going to demand not that they put in hours working in my business, but that they volunteer in the community, that they show that they have intention to get a college degree, not as potential means of support, but because the reality is that chances are slim! A whole community will get behind these riders, and if the odds are beaten, the community might also expect the successful rider to come back once in a while and give something back!
Then the subject of getting organized support is being kicked around here as well. So I wonder if we are just assuming that it is the responsibility of organizations such as the USEA, USDF, USEF, etc. to generate the next generation of world class competitors and their horses. I truly don’t know, but it seems that the conversation assumes that from the start.

pegasusmom
Dec. 30, 2007, 02:21 PM
[quote=CallMeGrace
Also, the point about education is a good one. That is why (sorry to reference this again) the USHJA decided to offer a college scholarship. One way they funded it was with commitments from show organizers to donate $1 per equitation entry. I like the idea of a portion of membership fees going back to some such program.

quote]

Interestingly enough, the American Polocrosse Association has just initiated a Presidential Scholarship program very similar to this. Administered by all the former president of this national organization, it awards money to a worthy recipient each year to be put towards college (payable directly to the school only) and requires, among other things, that any applicant must be willing to serve as an intern over the summer to the national organization.


Great thread - please keep the comments coming! I am making this mandatory reading for my son!

CallMeGrace
Dec. 30, 2007, 02:30 PM
Great thread - please keep the comments coming! I am making this mandatory reading for my son!

Me, too!!

sm
Dec. 30, 2007, 03:01 PM
For a top competitor, like someone on the USET: we had a fundraiser mailing with return envelope where everyone -- businesses, corporations, friends -- was asked to donate *only* $100 each (something people could live with). Obviously, some sent much more. But this professional had qualified and made the team and was looking for $20,000 to attend the World Championships. This fundraiser was successful two out of two times as the same person used it for two World Championships.

For the up-and-coming unknown rider: Get creative, BarbB is on the right track. Maybe your local group will hold 50-50 raffles at local events and raise scholarship money for promising riders. Maybe USEF will take one dollar of each entry fee on every show and put it into a fund. Maybe USEA regions will tag on a tiny show/event fee and use the money for riders in each region.

There was an article, I could have sworn in the 12/21/07 issue of COTH, on how a young dressage rider got sponsorship and an inside look at her successful techniques. She had good pointers for any sponsorship situation. Much along the lines of BarbB's posts -- no magic pill and think outside the box. I can't find the article online, I need to search around to see if I still have the hard copy on that issue.

Stewie
Dec. 30, 2007, 03:06 PM
I believe another thing that those who want sponsors need to remember is, again, similar to the professional corporate environment...be very careful in how you present yourself online. An employee (and potential sponsor), can fairly easily track posts, comments, party pix, etc and so on.

(yeah, I'm kinda hard core about stuff like that, but when I was interviewing a new assistant, all it took was a little digging to unearth unflattering myspace accounts!)

And, as small as a community eventing is, there is no such thing as "anonymous" posting. If someone researches you, just remember stuff is out there forever.

I love the idea of donating one entry for a deserving rider. But, then the 'how do you decide' question comes up... does it go to a deserving, poor working amateur who volunteers and has no aspirations of taking on the world, just self improvement; or to the up and coming hungry young rider who has a small string and has a one track mind, focused on making "It"?

Could the USEA somehow 'track' volunteer hours, and then in turn foot the bill for an entry in exchange for volunteering? (this does not answer the question "where does the money come from?"...although I'd pay $5 more a year if it meant I could earn 'event dollars'). That could help the hungry amateur, especially those talented ones who can only do one event a month, at most.

And, as far as the thinking outside the box ideas....well, OF COURSE I'd like my events paid for by a sponsor, so I can't very well post them publicly now, can I? :D Just kidding...

However... if there were a specialty service offering marketing and sponsor ideas to all equestrian disciplines...hummmm.... I may have just thought of a career for myself!

sm
Dec. 30, 2007, 03:16 PM
Good one, Stewie. I remember that article had mentioned your very point: always be positive and your comments can be tracked.When someone rejected sponsorship, always present a professional and positive response, a big smile and a "thank you" regardless. Never any negative energy anywhere, even online under an "untrackable" user name.

dressagediosa
Dec. 30, 2007, 05:03 PM
There was an article, I could have sworn in the 12/21/07 issue of COTH, on how a young dressage rider got sponsorship and an inside look at her successful techniques. She had good pointers for any sponsorship situation. Much along the lines of BarbB's posts -- no magic pill and think outside the box. I can't find the article online, I need to search around to see if I still have the hard copy on that issue.

I don't know if this is the article you're looking for, but September's Dressage Issue of the Chronicle had an article with myself and my friend, Liz Austin (another up-and-comer), talking about our experiences in looking for sponsors. There's a link to the article from the "News" section of my personal webpage, http://lauren.sprieser.com (I can't link directly to it because I've tried to cut corners on the website front, sigh), or I'm happy to email it to anyone who'd like to read it.

I've also got a packet I send out to potential sponsors, with press cuttings, photos, my biography and resume, and "categories" that clearly lay out what my sponsors get for each level of financial support (you can see those categories on my website, too). I can't really email them (I could take a photo of them, I guess?), but I'll happily snail-mail them out if you'll send them expediently back. They take a while to produce.

M. O'Connor
Dec. 30, 2007, 06:34 PM
This thread's getting "noisy"--all good ideas, but off on tangents compared to the OP's question. This is what I mean when I say that singleminded focus is necessary to bring any one good idea to fruition.

Not that the subtopics aren't worthy, but they don't solve the infrastructure problem for the horse loans.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 30, 2007, 06:37 PM
This thread's getting "noisy"--all good ideas, but off on tangents compared to the OP's question. This is what I mean when I say that singleminded focus is necessary to bring any one good idea to fruition.

Not that the subtopics aren't worthy, but they don't solve the infrastructure problem for the horse loans.


Well, maybe we misunderstood the question. I read "what can the good up and comers do to break out of the trap?" - the trap being you cannot get a good horse without being noticed, and you won't get noticed without a good horse. I assume that by the time you have made it to the team, you have been noticed ;)

luveventing
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:07 PM
I think this is a great idea from Stewie-
"Could the USEA somehow 'track' volunteer hours, and then in turn foot the bill for an entry in exchange for volunteering? (this does not answer the question "where does the money come from?"...although I'd pay $5 more a year if it meant I could earn 'event dollars'). That could help the hungry amateur, especially those talented ones who can only do one event a month, at most."
This could help offset the lack of volunteers and also help out the really hungry riders who are willing to get out there and get their hands dirty. I would think MOST organizers would be more than willing to donate an entry to generate that kind of interest in volunteering!

As for the OP question- I do think talent searches would be great. Sent in videos, goals, essay statement. Have a clinicians donate clinic or lesson time to a handful that won. (sort of like the H/j worlds horsemanship clinics with George Morris, Beezie and the like). Out of that small clinic setting, I am sure some mentoring would take place that could help that group of riders. The problem I see with Developing Riders and The winter training lists is STILL they are the SAME people, and a lot of who you know. so maybe an impartial jury could review applications and pick the most worthy people. Maybe even a handful of top finishers, could be offered a week of training at some BNT place?
Jimmy Wofford, Karen O'connor, Phillip Dutton, Denny Emerson types? :)

I would be THRILLED at that sort of recognition and mentorship.

eventrider
Dec. 30, 2007, 08:26 PM
I think this is a great thread, but obviously a hard question to answer. I know that there are a lot of other riders out there that are in my same situation. I understand the need for funding to get to the upper levels, but what about someone like me, who has trained and ridden numerous horses to the advanced level? I have no problem finding nice horses and producing them to the top. I have no problem finding the instruction I need to win at the top. I have a sound training, conditioning and management program. I have several really nice horses in my barn right now that are just waiting to make a name for themselves. But what I need is simply funding. I am stressing about how to make the 3 horses entries this spring;pay board, shoes, vet bills. I can't afford a truck and trailer big enough to take my horses and students to the events. I have worked hard, and proven that I can produce and have the determination, but I have to have funding to do it. As I said, there are a number of other riders in the same position I am in, many of them my friends I grew up riding with. We have all managed to get by, but the only thing keeping us from the big time is quite simply, money.
So, as Denny originally asked, how do we solve this problem for the riders in this position? There used to be the USEF that would pick up riders that were in this situation, but not anymore. There are many riders that have put themselves through college, competed at the top level, and continue to push on, just on the brink, without any support financial or otherwise. Just filling in the money problem would ensure these riders would be world class....
I don't know the answer to the question of how to do this, but I will continue to brainstorm, and approach sponsors, and just do the right thing. I do believe that things will come to the people who really step up to the plate and try no matter what the adversity. I would love to see some of my fellow competitors get the help they rightly deserve.
It is an important question, and I am glad that Denny has posted this!

BarbB
Dec. 30, 2007, 09:38 PM
eventrider,
do you have a website, photos, a resume and a plan for sponsors?
If so, keep knocking on doors. If not you should put together a package and then go knocking on doors.
Getting sponsors is almost another full time job, but if you are knocking on the door of making it to the top, there are companies/people that will help you.
Get someone to pitch your story to the local press, the local horseman's association, the local businessmen's association. When you are at a big event hand out cards to every business rep who is making the rounds, ask them if you can call them later, tell them up front you are looking for sponsors. If they can't help you, maybe they know someone who can.
This is networking plus, but it can be done.

eventrider
Dec. 30, 2007, 10:55 PM
Barb,

Thanks for your post!! Yes, Trainor Eventing has a website, resume, photos, newsletters, promo package, etc. We actually have a number of product sponsors and I have gotten them all by cold calling and approaching with various "outside the box" ideas. BUT...the hole to fill for me and a number of other upper level riders in my situation is owners and actual money for major equipment and entries, etc. It is a matter of either fundraising and asking individuals for smaller contributions, or finding a backer to really help. I have a few of these fundraisers in the works, but only time will tell.
But to look at the overall picture for eventing as a whole, and other riders in my position, it would be nice to find a way to have a system to support these riders like there used to be with the USET. I am not sure if this is possible with the system today, and the broad nature of our sport, but just talking about it is a step in the right direction.

Fairview Horse Center
Dec. 30, 2007, 11:10 PM
I know of several breeders that have incredibly talented horses. Breeders need youngsters trained to assist in getting them sold. Young talented riders could work in partnership with a breeder, or two to help them, and in exchange, have one of the horses to compete. If the breeders other youngsters sell, the young rider could earn commission, or a % towards expenses.

EvntDad
Dec. 30, 2007, 11:22 PM
Eventrider’s post reminded me of a question I’ve had for some time. Of the top group of riders that are firmly established, how many of them had, or currently have, a deep-pocket sponsor to help them become firmly established? I’m talking about someone that can afford to buy big-ticket items – i.e., a talented horse (or two or three), perhaps a rig/trailer, travel costs to faraway shows, big vet bills, etc. Not that they necessarily provide everything, but at least fill in the gaps enough to help a talented rider with one or two good horses on a regional budget make it onto the national/international scene. I’ve heard of a few, but am wondering if this is the exception or the rule.

Mac123
Dec. 31, 2007, 12:22 AM
Verbal promotion of a product is advertising, which produces sales, which is why the company is in business in the first place.
Time donated to the sponsor is valuable. Endorsements that can be used in advertising are valuable. Trial use and feedback is valuable. Visible and prominent use of the product is valuable. Banners in the stabling area are valuable.
Riders looking for sponsorship should be thinking about ways that they can help the sponsor, be creative.


Threads like these tend to sit me back in my chair for a second and cause me to stare out the window, brow encased in a twinge of desire and discouragement.

I'm not an eventer, I'm a jumper, but let's face it; the dilemma is the same in either ring. Years of efforts turned sour and hopes down the tubes confronted my dreams with reality. A pro told me once that sometimes the best way to "do" this horse thing is as an amateur in a non-horse job that I could be moderately content doing.

And so I'm in college; two more years until I'm through with my degree. But oh, how I want the 'horse thing,' oh, how I want it. Yet I'm torn between the reality of life and the desire to pursue my dreams. I ride every day, seriously, go to school full time, and work a part time job (soon to be 2 jobs) to try and make this happen.

BarbB, the fact is that no one would want to sponsor me because know one knows me. I didn't have a junior career; I'm the antithesis of a local household name. I have a horse that I'm trying to get in the show ring for miles for myself and him....but what business would want me to use their product in exchange for advertising? It's not like that many people pass my one stall setup back at the barns. It's not like there's people watching me, or that I have multiple rides.

And I'm by far not the only one out there in this struggle. But what are we to do? We need financial or product backing to even have a change of making it, but we don't matter enough for businesses to want to sponsor us.

There's possibilities for riders once they reach a certain level, and far too many do not possess the business wherewithall to recognize and capitalize on that. But what about us who can't get even to that first level?

What can I do for a sponsor? Well they won't see the banner in the back corner of the barn, neither will anyone pay attention to the shampoo with which I'm bathing my horse. I'd do whatever it takes to get a sponsor....but I just can't see what a rider at this level could offer.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 31, 2007, 09:21 AM
Mac123's story is so familiar to many in the horse world. My son rides 3-4 horses a day, is in all honors classes, works weekends taking care of a barn of 20 horses before he goes to ride his trainer's horses, and fits his own horse into all that. Now, he doesn't get discouraged when Suzy Q's grandmother buys her the pony she can win on - his view is that there will always be people with more money. However, there aren't too many with more will to ride and "do the horse thing".

I do not agree with no sponsor opportunities for these kind of kids. Any little bit helps. Watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. My son rides all these fabulous horses and gets free lessons just about every day. I pay the board for his horse (and, staked him to the purchase price, which wasn't much at all for a OTTB too slow for racing), he pays all the rest, so every little bit does help!! And, his horse just spent the Christmas week at his trainer's barn to get him ready to show this spring - again, in exchange for the work he does there. The barn he works at on weekends has a lesson program that goes to the local shows - he has bartered for any "holes" in the trailer to take his horse to these shows this winter to get some "miles".

So, as I said, every little bit helps. He has, of course, also had to con me into lots of driving and early rising on weekends because he is only just 15. He thinks he'll be able to fit in some other things when he can drive :)! But, I guess my point is that these are the kinds of kids that need to be found and supported (understanding, of course, that they have talent on top of all the drive). Look at what they manage without "the horse" - just think what they could do with a boost!

Mac123, keep plugging away. There has to be a place in the sport for people like you!

BigMick
Dec. 31, 2007, 10:33 AM
Yes, Trainor Eventing has a website, resume, photos, newsletters, promo package, etc...


Um, holy cow, are you THE Christan Trainor?? The one who rode Teddy before Karen got him??

I never would have known this as your website URL isn't part of your signature on this site. Any reason why you're not taking advantage of this audience??

Picasso
Dec. 31, 2007, 10:53 AM
I agree with Denny, the world had changed. My trainer and great friend is a marketing dream, his story is incredible (Pwynnnorman has mentioned him here, Eventing Magazine was interested in a story on him as well). I am helping him by developing the business side of it. I am having a new website built and more tangibly helped by buying us a new (BIGGER) truck and by the use of my trailers that will proudly sport our newly designed logo! But I am no DuPont. We are working on getting him out there and noticed on the East Coast, and looking at sponsorships. We do have a bio, pics, etc. and I am going to start knocking on doors of products. We aren't looking for the big checks, product sponsorship to start would be great. A horse to bring through the levels would be fantastic! I am working with some Expo organizers and he should be out in some of the 2008 ones, so we do offer a ROI for products that would like to sponsor, but the foot in the door is the tough part.

I don't have the riding talent to do this, so I get to live through him. I hope we make it!

hey101
Dec. 31, 2007, 11:39 AM
(Picasso, first of all I love your sig line- AMEN!)

This has been a very interesting thread, and i'm glad some other disciplines have added their thoughts- it seems to be a common issue. I know I'll never be a pro, but it sure would be great to have a little help- competitions and training and gas for the truck are $:eek:$:eek:$!!

Something I was pondering along the lines of not just finding and sponsoring special riders, but finding and sponsoring special HORSES and how the two might be able to work together. It's commonly stated that there just aren't that many four-star potential horses out there. But... could there really be a lot more than we think? The american breeding programs have improved so dramatically in the past decade. how many Winsome Adante's or Brentina's are out there with a LLR ammie, happily carrying him or her around Training or Prelim or 2nd or 3rd level or Level 4 or 5, when the horse has the talent for so much more?

And even further, what if that LL Ammie knows, or at least has an inkling, that their horse could go on much further than they could take it whether due to talent or guts or MONEY or "real life" (family, job, etc).

How, or even should, there be a way for these talented kids who desparately want to "make" it in the horse world, link up with people who would love to have their horse go on to do more but just can't afford it? The kid gets the ride on a good horse. Then it would be up to them to do something with it.

Just some random over-caffeinated thoughts. Maybe I'm way out in left field. :)

BarbB
Dec. 31, 2007, 11:43 AM
Let me hazard a guess...read back over this thread, note the admonitions to make sure anything you do is a "class act", then think about this part of your (VERY well-intentioned compliment) statement to Christan: "taking advantage of this audience??" What I know of her would just about eliminate promoting herself via the BB - Christan is very much a class act! Saw her ride Teddy at Poplar a few years back! :cool:

I don't think that refers to 'taking advantage' in a bad way.
This is a fantastic audience for anyone to get their name out. You never know who is reading this forum who might want to offer help, or knows someone else who would, or who just wants more information about up and coming riders.
"taking advantage" of the opportunity to make your name and goals public is not the same as taking advantage of a person, as in, to their detriment.

If you don't take advantage of every opportunity that appears in front of you - you may as well stay home. And don't expect some sponsor to come and knock on your door.

RunForIt
Dec. 31, 2007, 11:49 AM
you're quite right, but I expect most up-and-coming young event riders are not going to be strutting their stuff here - though we ARE a super audience! That's why I made sure I noted that BigMick's statement is very much a compliment. Just to make sure that no harm is done by my opinion - I'll just delete it. :)

BarbB
Dec. 31, 2007, 12:00 PM
you're quite right, but I expect most up-and-coming youong event riders are not going to be strutting their stuff here - though we ARE a super audience! That's why I made sure I noted that BigMick's statement is very much a compliment. Just to make sure that no harm is done by my opinion - I'll just delete it. :)

Don't delete it. It is a valid observation. I think a lot of riders, especially if they have no marketing experience or help, are probably unsure of what is good promotion and what is just pushy and will be viewed badly.
IMO, this bb is an excellent platform to make information available about yourself without feeling like you are 'advertising' where is it not welcome.
There are probably people on this forum you feel like you do....or did :D

We may see a whole bunch of new signature lines.....personally I hope so.

tommygirl
Dec. 31, 2007, 12:10 PM
I was lucky enough to find a $1200 OTTB that I took from beginner novice to advanced level, won multiple championships on, got long-listed and lost it ALL to an injury. I have been working my fingers to the bone to get back to the upper levels and have had some very miserable experiences along the way. If I had the money, I would have been back "up there" in a stroke of a pen... It is very hard for the working class to get to the top and stay at the top. Not just because of money, but the sport changes faster that we can train our horses. Not the mention how difficult it is to find the "right horse". It seems the upper levels have really become an elite sport.

Mac123
Dec. 31, 2007, 12:20 PM
CallMeGrace, good luck to your son. He's doing what I would have died to do at 15! I'm sure with his obvious work ethic he will "make it" in this world.

Maybe I just need to be patient and wait until college is over. The ever needed working student position (a couple of which I've found and could do) don't work because of classes. Even the summer positions conflict with summer classes I need to take so that I can graduate in 2 years. I wish I could take a break from college for a semester and do a working student stint, but sense tells me that it's better to finish my degree first.

sm
Dec. 31, 2007, 01:39 PM
I don't know if this is the article you're looking for, but September's Dressage Issue of the Chronicle had an article with myself and my friend, Liz Austin (another up-and-comer), talking about our experiences in looking for sponsors. There's a link to the article from the "News" section of my personal webpage, http://lauren.sprieser.com (I can't link directly to it because I've tried to cut corners on the website front, sigh), or I'm happy to email it to anyone who'd like to read it.

I've also got a packet I send out to potential sponsors, with press cuttings, photos, my biography and resume, and "categories" that clearly lay out what my sponsors get for each level of financial support (you can see those categories on my website, too). I can't really email them (I could take a photo of them, I guess?), but I'll happily snail-mail them out if you'll send them expediently back. They take a while to produce.

Yes Dressagediosa, that's the one: COTH Dressage Issue, Sept 14, 2007 , "How Do You Pay For This Expensive Business?" author Sara Leiser. http://www.chronofhorse.com/index.php?cat=40311030495963&z_get_Article_ID=1291309070526945&search_type=Issue&Archive_Year=2007&Archive_Month=9

Beautiful article, many congrats to you!

sm
Dec. 31, 2007, 01:50 PM
Going back to Denny in the OP, maybe one of these is worth considering:

1. As editors are always looking for ideas, have a two-part series researched and written in USEA eventing magazine that outlines sponsorship for regional events (part I) and individual riders (part II).

2. or have the USEA develop a webinar on this, available for USEA members only. There are companies that provide this service, for example (and this may not be the best of them, I don't know) https://www1.gotowebinar.com/tgw/gg/webinar/g2w_semlp?Portal=www.gotowebinar.com&Target=w/g2w_semlp.tmpl

eventrider
Dec. 31, 2007, 04:40 PM
Yes, I am Christan Trainor who rode Teddy, and I post under eventrider here on the board. I haven't included my website in my sig line because I didn't want to "advertise", but it is now listed under my profile page ;). To be honest with everyone, the reason why I no longer ride Teddy is totally about money. Wynn and I knew he could do Rolex, and that was our goal, but money got tight and I attempted to put a syndicate together to purchase him from her. No one I approached believed me; that Teddy would do a Four star and was a world class athlete, so I was unable to come up the with purchase price and he was later sent to Karen, who has the backing.
I really don't think any of the comments posted should be deleted, as they all help in answering this question Denny has posed. Do we need to focus on individual, smaller promotion vs. an organization to oversee funding for other riders in my situation? I appreciate all the comments made by everyone.

Mac123....don't think for a second that you shouldn't try as hard as you can. I currently have 3 horses competing full time, including a long format 3-day this spring. I am in college full time (which I pay for totally, including all my bills as I am almost 27!) and I will graduate in May with my 3rd undergrad degree. I have finished college with 3 degrees in only 3 years also, which helps cut down on tuition costs (but requires 20 hours a semester and summer school). I also teach full time and I am involved with 2 interships relating to Human Rights law. I am applying to Law School right now. Point is...if you are smart, good with time mangement, and work hard you can do anything you want. I won't cut back on riding during L.S...actually I should have 3 horses running Int/adv during that time. Sponsors will come if you are inventive and if you really think outside of horses, you will come up with a long list of things you can offer. We have pages of ideas here, we just have to present them to the right people! And it was not a struggle to come up with them either.
To address another poster here in regards to horses, all of mine have been OTTB's, except Teddy. I don't see finding upper level prospects as an issue personally. It has never been a problem for me to find nice horses (I have another one I would buy right now if I had the money to support it!), but I don't have the income to campaign 3 horses of my own, or more. So, linking top riders with horses is one solution, but it may not solve the problem. If the horses do not come with owners to support them, then you are in the same boat again.
The USET solved this problem in the past, to a degree. So what can we do in the future to help again?

RunForIt
Dec. 31, 2007, 04:50 PM
Um, holy cow, are you THE Christan Trainor?? The one who rode Teddy before Karen got him??

I never would have known this as your website URL isn't part of your signature on this site. Any reason why you're not taking advantage of this audience??

now, happily reposting my "opinion":



Let me hazard a guess...read back over this thread, note the admonitions to make sure anything you do is a "class act", then think about this part of your (VERY well-intentioned compliment) statement to Christan: "taking advantage of this audience??" What I know of her would just about eliminate promoting herself via the BB - Christan is very much a class act! Saw her ride Teddy at Poplar a few years back! :cool:


:) have also urged tommygirl to include her website in her signature line. I'm currently buying back a horse from Jenn I thought was unrideable ; I wish this mare was upper level material - I'd scrimp and save every month to get Talura and Jennifer to advanced - IF the progression was good for Talura. Silly RFI, Jennifer would call a halt to pushing her before you even had a clue!

RunForIt
Dec. 31, 2007, 05:19 PM
originally posted by tommygirl:

I was lucky enough to find a $1200 OTTB that I took from beginner novice to advanced level, won multiple championships on, got long-listed and lost it ALL to an injury. I have been working my fingers to the bone to get back to the upper levels and have had some very miserable experiences along the way. If I had the money, I would have been back "up there" in a stroke of a pen... It is very hard for the working class to get to the top and stay at the top. :no:

and even if you have help, get to the developing rider list, there is plain old, HATEFUL, FATE. You can be walking a horse around on the buckle after a lovely school...and FATE happens. This sport at the advanced level takes...- hell, at ALL LEVELS - takes your heart, soul, money, sanity, and lots and lots of guts. We all love it though.
Happy New Year! :cool:

pegasusmom
Dec. 31, 2007, 05:53 PM
Don't delete it. It is a valid observation. I think a lot of riders, especially if they have no marketing experience or help, are probably unsure of what is good promotion and what is just pushy and will be viewed badly.
IMO, this bb is an excellent platform to make information available about yourself without feeling like you are 'advertising' where is it not welcome.
There are probably people on this forum you feel like you do....or did :D

We may see a whole bunch of new signature lines.....personally I hope so.


Wow. So much good information and great ideas!

Christan - Andrew says "you rock".

And for what it's worth, my son just received his very first sponsorship - through this bulletin board.

CallMeGrace
Dec. 31, 2007, 06:15 PM
Congratulations!!

RunForIt
Dec. 31, 2007, 07:00 PM
:D HOO-RAY ! congratulations Andrew...AND Mom and Dad!

Have the happiest New Year! :cool:

BigMick
Dec. 31, 2007, 08:36 PM
eventrider, et al -

I am so sorry if what I wrote sounded like I was suggesting something parasitic or devious. Perhaps I should have written "...leverage the bb..." instead of "take advantage". I got a little excited when I made the connection. :)

It's because I value this online community so much that I think a subtle addition of a website URL wouldn't necessarily be lowering one's standards. I'm not suggesting starting a thread begging for money (which would be quite inappropriate), just putting the link out there.

Happy New Year!

RunForIt
Dec. 31, 2007, 08:40 PM
You didn't do anything offensive at all, BigMick - in fact, it helped the conversation! have a great New Year! :cool:

eventrider
Dec. 31, 2007, 08:49 PM
BigMick

I didn't see the original post, but from what I did see, I didn't find it offensive in any way, nor did I take it to mean anything other than what you meant by it!

tuppysmom
Dec. 31, 2007, 11:29 PM
This whole money raising money/sponsorship thing is like learning a foreign language. And it takes time, a lot of time. I need a secretary! Time is very hard to come by if you run a training/teaching barn.

It is also very hard to get a handle on what people want in the way of "giving back" from a rider. It is different for each situation.

The hardest thing in the world, for us anyway, has been to ask for help. But, we have. We have to. It is an uncomfortable thing to do, though.

We are of modest means and could not have done what we have done without help, a lot of help. It comes from the most unexpected places and sometimes in very unexpected ways. Generous people have donated fuel for the truck, frequent flyer miles, a 28 yr old car that was sitting unused that my daughter now has to drive to other barns where she teaches lessons. Her farrier shoes one of her horses in exchange for homebaked cookies. Discounted, or free services from numerous horse professionals. That is in addition to the more ususal items like tack and clothing. Our state dressage and eventing association gave us a huge gift in '07. It is wonderful to get that vote of confidence from the local horse community. Our extended family has been awesome. Very little comes in the form of cash that one can use for entry fees, but that's OK, it all helps.

Thinking outside the box works. There are people out there who want to do something to help, finding them and getting them to join "the team" is a whole nuther thing.

I have to caution about the "here take my horse and compete him as far as he will go". We learned a hard lesson with that one.

We have a rider who is working in the barn 10 hours, or more, a day 7 days a week. She helps me muck stalls, she helps with the feeding of the many horses who live here, she teaches, she rides and rides and rides. She has little time for anything else, besides a good book and sleep, note she rarely posts here. She has a nice string of prospects under her for this year. All of them are OTTB's. I would love to have them owned by others who would help with the cash flow, I would love to see them all on the trailer travelling to competitions this year, I would love to see the "pipeline" of horses gaining needed experience, but I don't think that is very realistic at this point in time. Some will be sold to keep the the rest in feed and shoes. The ups and downs of this sport can feel like one of those extreme carnival rides! That's the way it works. We are OK with that. We are happily going forward the best that we can. What will be will be.

denny
Jan. 1, 2008, 09:16 AM
Here are some possible ways to "break out".
1.Get into the horse business, buying, selling, so you get to ride lots of horses, and see lots of horses. Those diamonds in the rough are out there, and the riders who see/ride hundreds a year are more likely to find the good one than those who see/ride 10.
2. Create alliances with breeders, who are producing good young stock. Don`t wait til they come find you. That ain`t gonna happen. Get the Chronicle stallion issue, decide who to visit, and go visit. There`s a famous Yiddish expression, "No for an answer I already got."
If you ask, and the answer is "no", you`re in exactly the same place as if you`d never asked, but what if the answer is "yes"?
3.Work your rolodex. Figure out who the dealers/breeders are in your area, go get to know them, THEN KEEP IN TOUCH! Maybe a nice but skinny 4 year old comes in off a load from out west. You want to be one of the first to hear about it, not hear that your rival got it from the dealer to school and sell.
4. As many here have said, be nice to everyone. You kids walk right by people at events and shows who could help you, every day, and you hardly make eye contact, much less say a cheery "hi!"
Do you think that makes people like and want to help you?
5.And here`s the BIG ONE. Become a truly excellent rider. TALENT, TALENT, TALENT, like location in real estate is what floats the boat.
Good luck, and don`t give up.

Mary in Area 1
Jan. 1, 2008, 01:00 PM
Denny, I have another one.
6. Become a truly excellent HORSEPERSON. If I am ever in the position to buy and/or give a top horse to someone again (yes, I have done it once, so I know from whence I speak), I would send it to the BEST RIDER/HORSEPERSON combination I knew. That would eliminate a LOT of YR's I know, and even some Olympians! (you all know who I mean.)

gooddirt
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:29 AM
Organizers are in the same boat when trying to get sponsors. Fact is, this is a tiny sport understood by virtually nobody on the outside. This limits sponsorship and income potential.

Young people short on money should get a degree in a field that pays well and still allows them to ride. There will be plenty of good years to ride after establishing a paying career.

CallMeGrace
Jan. 2, 2008, 09:11 AM
Organizers are in the same boat when trying to get sponsors. Fact is, this is a tiny sport understood by virtually nobody on the outside. This limits sponsorship and income potential.

Young people short on money should get a degree in a field that pays well and still allows them to ride. There will be plenty of good years to ride after establishing a paying career.

Actually, we had a dynamic marketing team (volunteers) for the first time this year, and what a great job they did!! I am secretary of a small, recognized event. These women wrote letters, arranged interviews, and got all sorts of sponsors. A landscape company decorated the jumps - they got three jobs right off the bat. We had a tent with various local artists selling things. Local businesses and individuals sponsored jumps, the local trailer dealer parked a truck and trailer in the parking field, we even had the competitor's party sponsored, with a great raffle. And, many of the sponsors have asked to return this year - they had no idea about targeting this audience! It increased the attendance as well, and many people stopped by my office to say they didn't know anything about eventing but they loved seeing the beautiful horses and riders and all the excitement. Big success!

NMK
Jan. 2, 2008, 02:41 PM
What if there was some kind of joint USEF non-profit "University" for up and coming riders? A place where they could learn multiple disciplines (Denny, I am refering to your long-ago list of horse related "must have skills" such as galloping race horses, etc.) Hopefuls could submit to become a student of the university, breeders could "lend' horses to the students of the school, event organizers could donate entries...it could be a 501 C 3 University for aspiring olympians. Courses should be taught in marketing, advertising, business skills, etc. Pros could donate their time, take a student for a time, etc.

DiablosHalo
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:26 PM
Historical lurker here, so be patient with my elementary postings...!

In regards to riders needing sponsors and riders needing horses- what do you do if you are a no-namer that hasn't competed in years, have nicely bred prospects at your no-namer farm and want to place them with riders that will take them on?

Specifics: Super nice youngster that I bred to be my ultimate event horse. My goal is BN at best! Problem is... he has the build, disposition, and bloodlines to be an upper level horse. I do not need to sell him. I would rather place him with someone (doesn't have to be ULR- but does have to be respectable barn, etc) for unlimited time frame. I mean- if he goes on and does prelim and is "finished" in 6 years- great I'll take him back and retire him at home. If he goes on and does advanced or Rolex and is done in 12 years, great I'll take him back and retire him at home then.

Dilemma:
1. I don't have connections to get him placed in the home I want him in.
2. I do not have the funds to carry him/rider through training/competitions, etc. I could do a few things- but not enough to sponsor a rider through his career, especially if he makes it to the upper levels.
3. I do not wish to go in partners with anyone. I want to retain ownership to ensure his retirement in the future.
4. He may end up a sporthorse stallion (small chance, but he's still intact. I have no problem gelding him if/when needed).

Anyone ever come across this before? Have you bred a nice horse and he/she is just out of your league?

As previously mentioned- plans are for him to be my BN packer :), but it would be a waste of good flesh so to speak!

How does one go about pairing up said horse with someone that will take him through the ranks?

Fence2Fence
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:12 PM
But all that college scholarship, graduate stipend, fellowship, etc. money comes from somewhere. Someone, at some point, put up cold hard cash to get those sort of funds started. Where does the money come from in this case?

.... The nice fat fellowships and the like that we all apply for - someone, at some point in time, put up the cash to get the ball rolling. Fulbrights and Javits and all those other wonderful scholarships, fellowships, and grants didn't just appear. :)



These "fat" fellowships (Fulbright and Javits, anyway) are funded by the federal goverment; so that's our good ol taxes at work.

Diverging back to the topic, I'm surprised that no one mentioned the American Horse Trials Foundation??

Jazzy Lady
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:37 PM
Do people find that it is easier for YR's going prelim/intermediate to find sponsors than students that have aged out and are doing the same thing?

I feel that although I have a very good record at the preliminary and * level, as a 23 year old who is still in school, I need to have a solid record at intermediate and ** level before approaching for sponsorship.

Any thoughts on the age dilemma? Sure young riders in the age category need help, but what about those that just aged out recently that no longer have that NAYRCH goal to show sponsors? In people's experience, are potential sponsors looking for more experience the older the rider is?

cyriz's mom
Jan. 2, 2008, 07:22 PM
Don't know where you live, but I would start with your area (however large you want to define that) Pony Clubs and the Area Young Riders. Perhaps you can find a good YR with a good trainer looking for something like that.

I will tell that having the optional equipment on your boy will make it more difficult...at least at first. Some people/barns/trainers just don't want to deal with stallions due to liability issues (real or perceived). Now once he gets going and doing well or puts some nice babies on the ground, it gets easier because then you have something to negotiate with and if you are promoting him as a stallion, gives you other things to offer potential sponsors.

Ask me how I know!!!! LOL

eventrider
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:14 PM
I was talking to my farrier today about this and he commented that the Quarter Horse people have really figured this problem out. They have lots of prize money, win saddles, trailers and other great prizes at their shows. He pointed to the futurity stakes and pay-in's at the foals birth. Why don't we look into what other equestrian sports have done that works and see if we can utilize it? I don't know anything about the QH shows, but I am really interested now!!
I also went back and re-read a few posts from earlier in this thread, and I think that Capturinyerride has some VERY valid points and information. Some of those have not really been fleshed out, but as a potential sponsor, I think his points are something to target.
Education is very important for both presenting yourself to the public and representing your sponsor in the broader scale, and also to show that you have other direction and are well rounded. That seems to be a step that is skipped over a lot with riders.
Anyway...something to think about,

Christan

minniemoore
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:30 PM
I really like the ideas listed in this thread, and also the ideas that include adult riders in addition to young riders. I grew up riding western, and by the time I discovered eventing was well past the young rider stage.

I tried my hand at becoming a professional and blew every penny I had. I realized that I needed to become a more proficient rider to be a successful trainer to support my own business. I also took on a "free" project horse who could jump the moon, but I soon realized why he was free - I spent too much time airborne being bucked off! I re-gifted him to someone who could put some professional training on him, and no one will ride him due to his ample bucking. At least I found out it wasn't me! Trying to carry two horses on what I was making wasn't cutting it.

The other issue I found was that I couldn't afford to compete or take lessons. I was caring for 33 horses and was really happy teaching young kids and I know that's what I was made to do. I had a little four stall barn with my schoolmaster that I ran soup to nuts, then was barn manager for a larger stable, taught lessons at another barn, and did body clipping on the side.

I have a Equine Science Bachelor's have owned and loved horses all my life, but the money has always been in the way. I gave up being a full-time professional and for the past two years have had a desk job.

Now that I have a reasonable income, I've been able to pay off my horse business debts (almost) and am now able to compete and train. I've got a fantastic schoolmaster horse (that my previous trainer tricked me into buying for a song), a great trainer, and have finally beaten a Novice course so now I'm ready for Training. Only because I gave up trying to be a professional.

I know that many people would be happy to sponsor me and my horse. I qualified for the AEC this past year and asked a few people to sponsor me. They were happy to help, but that would've disqualified me from the AEC as it is an amateur competition at the Novice level. I'm a nobody but found businesses willing to help just because I asked them.

Fairview Horse Center
Jan. 2, 2008, 09:12 PM
I was talking to my farrier today about this and he commented that the Quarter Horse people have really figured this problem out. They have lots of prize money, win saddles, trailers and other great prizes at their shows. He pointed to the futurity stakes and pay-in's at the foals birth. Why don't we look into what other equestrian sports have done that works and see if we can utilize it? I don't know anything about the QH shows, but I am really interested now!!
Christan

This is what I have been saying for years. This is what the AQHA does for its members. Our Warmblood/Sporthorse registries (20+?) are too fragmented, and too oriented to promoting other country's stock to get ANYTHING done for our breeders and riders.

I know I sound like a broken record, but it is why we need a ... North American Warmblood & Sporthorse Breeders & Competitors Association, run by an elected board of breeders, riders, trainers, judges, and vets. Individual membership, and ultimately a registry like the AQHA.

(Sorry I won't be able to make it, but maybe Denny will touch on these needs at the round table discussion, at the stallion exhibition this Saturday in Raleigh.

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 2, 2008, 10:00 PM
Historical lurker here, so be patient with my elementary postings...!

In regards to riders needing sponsors and riders needing horses- what do you do if you are a no-namer that hasn't competed in years, have nicely bred prospects at your no-namer farm and want to place them with riders that will take them on?

Specifics: Super nice youngster that I bred to be my ultimate event horse. My goal is BN at best! Problem is... he has the build, disposition, and bloodlines to be an upper level horse. I do not need to sell him. I would rather place him with someone (doesn't have to be ULR- but does have to be respectable barn, etc) for unlimited time frame. I mean- if he goes on and does prelim and is "finished" in 6 years- great I'll take him back and retire him at home. If he goes on and does advanced or Rolex and is done in 12 years, great I'll take him back and retire him at home then.

Dilemma:
1. I don't have connections to get him placed in the home I want him in.
2. I do not have the funds to carry him/rider through training/competitions, etc. I could do a few things- but not enough to sponsor a rider through his career, especially if he makes it to the upper levels.
3. I do not wish to go in partners with anyone. I want to retain ownership to ensure his retirement in the future.
4. He may end up a sporthorse stallion (small chance, but he's still intact. I have no problem gelding him if/when needed).

Anyone ever come across this before? Have you bred a nice horse and he/she is just out of your league?

As previously mentioned- plans are for him to be my BN packer :), but it would be a waste of good flesh so to speak!

How does one go about pairing up said horse with someone that will take him through the ranks?

I have been in the same boat--as mentioned in an earlier part of the thread. I've had no trouble finding excellent riders for my horses. But I've still had to pay hs bills, and those bills are exponentially greater as the horse has gone up the levels--supporting him as a 4 yeard old Novice horse was a piece of cake. Supporting him as a 9 year old Intermediate horse is almost impossible.

I said it before and I'll say it again. The trick isn't lack of riders, OR their access to horses. It's supporting them both at the top levels.

Fairview Horse Center
Jan. 2, 2008, 10:35 PM
What would the bills be at say, Intermediate for a year, broken down a bit?

eventrider
Jan. 2, 2008, 11:05 PM
I don't know what any of the other poster's bills are, but an estimate for a basic season would be roughly:

entries and stabling -$3000
gas to events- $1600 (depending on how far away)
shoes -$500
vet -$700
food at events (human)-$630
hotel -$2100
misc tack/equip- $300
body work for horse- $600

this is what is coming to mind per horse, per season. So double that for 2 seasons a year. Three Day events will add more expense than this also. This is for an average of 7 events (including schooling shows), and not including board/feed/hay for horse as that differs for each person. I would have to add another $900 for board per horse during this period. I am thinking Feb-May, so 4 months. So you are looking at about $20,000 for just the show period per horse, per year. Of course gas would be split between horses, and there is still upkeep during the non-show season (4 months of the year). No lessons factored in either here, or big tack purchases.
Someone else might have a better figure than that, but it is what came to mind quickly for me.
I know that Karen O told me that her budget is $60,000 per horse per year.

Christan

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 2, 2008, 11:11 PM
I have two horses at the intermediate level, so these are broad estimates in round figures for one horse based on their experiences. Show entries and stabling, horse trials, 6-8 a year: $2100 to $2800.

CCI entries, 2 a year: $1000 to $1500.

Gas, food, lodging for above events, $5,000 a year (gas is a killer, but we camp in our LQ at every show)

Adequan and Legend: $200 a month, $2400 a year. (Is it possible to do without these. Sure. I don't personally know anyone at this level that does without it, but I'm sure there are some. It isn't an option for my horse.)

Farrier: $250 a month. $3000 a year

Vet: $500 a month/$6000 a year (this is an average, and a low one. There was one year where I spent in excess of $15,000 in vet bills on one horse, and that was for routine stuff involved in keeping him sound and going--no colics or anything like that).

It costs me about $350 a month to feed and house him. I've never had to pay training on him--either I've done it myself or it's been "donated" by his riders.

Basically, it's $20-$25,000 a year to keep a horse going at that level. And I feel I'm able to do it a bit on the cheap in most ways except that I live in CA so we have to pay a bit more to actually show than other areas in which I've lived.

I know you can tack another $10,000 at minimum for them to jump up to advanced. I'm cringing.

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 2, 2008, 11:13 PM
Christan I don't know whether to laugh or cry that we've got such similar numbers.:winkgrin:

Merle
Jan. 2, 2008, 11:31 PM
Wow - thank you for posting those numbers! I have never known how much it would cost me to compete at that level. I have a very, very fancy 4 year old who is showing a lot of promise and I had hoped to go as far as I could on him but wow is all I can say to those numbers! I don't think I could ever afford that, even if I was scrimping. With a husband, two cats, and a dog ... plus a house ... (none of which I could give up ;)) at least $20,000 a year towards competing would be WONDERFUL but I don't think I could swing it ... even if we were making big bucks from working our tails off. Sponsorship I just don't see happening in my future - there are too many people like me who want sponsors! :) I competed Prelim with my past horse and wanted a horse to go further with but wowee! And I only swung Prelim by sleeping in the back of my truck at events on a blow-up mattress (two horse trailer with no dressing room doesn't leave much room with stuff shoved everywhere!).

I hate to sound so down on this but I love this sport but it's too darn expensive for me. I'm 21, finally got a talented horse, but just can't do it. My parents want me to never sell this guy but how depressing is it to finally have the time card but no where to punch it? :( I would be happy to only do two events a year but to keep a horse in upper level shape it seems a waste to only utilize him a couple times. UGH is all I can say!

grandprixjump
Jan. 2, 2008, 11:31 PM
The OP was talking about people "coming of age" in the 60's and even into the 70's having it so much easier then, I believe that is true especially because of the pricing of great show horses then and now. THEN you were handing someone an advanced horse, or Grand Prix horse in my idea, that was valued at around 10k for one ready to go, that same horse NOW is HIGH 6 figures, not easy to let a NO NAME ride, and the cost of showing was A LOT LESS. So people with the horses, are handing 8-10 horses to one person instead of letting an up and coming rider move into a position to replace the BNR that is getting to retirement age.
I DON'T EVEN THINK WE ARE CURRENTLY PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS INTO THE OLYMPICS THESE DAYS, WE ARE PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS (WITH MONEY) INTO THE OLYMPICS.

LexInVA
Jan. 3, 2008, 12:52 AM
The OP was talking about people "coming of age" in the 60's and even into the 70's having it so much easier then, I believe that is true especially because of the pricing of great show horses then and now. THEN you were handing someone an advanced horse, or Grand Prix horse in my idea, that was valued at around 10k for one ready to go, that same horse NOW is HIGH 6 figures, not easy to let a NO NAME ride, and the cost of showing was A LOT LESS. So people with the horses, are handing 8-10 horses to one person instead of letting an up and coming rider move into a position to replace the BNR that is getting to retirement age.
I DON'T EVEN THINK WE ARE CURRENTLY PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS INTO THE OLYMPICS THESE DAYS, WE ARE PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS (WITH MONEY) INTO THE OLYMPICS.

There is some truth in what you say. The H/J world went to shit when the big money took it over and it became more of an institution than a true sport with all the little fiefdoms cropping up with wealthy patrons and socialites forming a sort of ruling class. Eventing has to a lesser degree undergone similar changes though it's more balanced I would say than other sports due to the commonalities between participants.

denny
Jan. 3, 2008, 07:14 AM
In 29 seasons at the advanced level, from 1971-1999, I had 14 advanced horses, about one new one every two years.
I was loaned one, given one, and bred one.
I paid $87,000 for the other 11. Not per horse, 87,000. for all 11.
That`s an enormous difference from today.

pegasusmom
Jan. 3, 2008, 09:07 AM
So you are looking at about $20,000 for just the show period per horse, per year.

Christan

My numbers runs a bit differently, but our total is about the same $20,00-$25,000 for a horse competing Preliminary with an eye towards Intermediate, with about the same number of competitions as Christan.

And for what Denny paid for 11 horses. . . . we would have gotten about 2 3/4.

RunForIt
Jan. 3, 2008, 09:32 AM
This is more money than I can comprehend...makes me glad that my two talented ponies are being trained to be Training level packers! THAT's all the expense my brain and conscience can handle. :yes: :cool:

however, the reality that comes to mind in this statement by grandprixjump needs to be honestly discussed by the USEA and USET:

DON'T EVEN THINK WE ARE CURRENTLY PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS INTO THE OLYMPICS THESE DAYS, WE ARE PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS (WITH MONEY) INTO THE OLYMPICS.

Maybe that's just the way things are, but there surely are alternatives!

magnolia73
Jan. 3, 2008, 09:41 AM
I think we need more opportunities for riders to get revenue. There really should be more prize money at events. Get sponsors at events. It seems to me like if you place in the top 3 at a recognized event that you should at least get prize money adequate to cover stabling and entry.

I like that eventing focuses on self improvement- but most events seem to offer few awards for performance. Plus, for a sponsor, where is the pay off to sponsor a winning horse? The winner picks up their ribbon in the office half the time. How about a victory gallop and a photo of the winner of the highest division sent to the local paper?

Every podunk 5K I run has sponsors, some freebies for competitors from the sponsors, an awards ceremony and some prize money. I have done races with 50-75 runners and there were sponsors and prize money. Events should be able to do more for competitors.

Atigirl
Jan. 3, 2008, 09:54 AM
I agree that events need to have more prize money and sponsorships. I have run recognized dressage shows in the past and it is so hard to have local businesses and tack shops cough up anything. I would be willing to add $10 to $20 to all my entry fees if that money went only to prize money. At some of the big events around here that could be $3000-$6000. Maybe that isn't the ultimate answer, but it could be a start for all riders to help "sponsor" other riders. Just a thought.

DiablosHalo
Jan. 3, 2008, 09:55 AM
I have been in the same boat--as mentioned in an earlier part of the thread. I've had no trouble finding excellent riders for my horses. But I've still had to pay hs bills, and those bills are exponentially greater as the horse has gone up the levels--supporting him as a 4 yeard old Novice horse was a piece of cake. Supporting him as a 9 year old Intermediate horse is almost impossible.

I said it before and I'll say it again. The trick isn't lack of riders, OR their access to horses. It's supporting them both at the top levels.

PhoenixFarm- It looks like my situation is a bit closer to the OP posting than I thought! In re-reading the thread- there are financial woes of upkeep for the horses AND riders. It seems as though even if I "give" this youngster to someone- finances are a problem, whether it be supporting the horse only, rider only, or the pair. I will start investigating.. I have some time before I even break him, so maybe I'll come up with a solution by then! Maybe I'll forego one of my barn workers and use that money to support my youngster. Hmmm...!

Cyriz'sMom- I'm in the MidAtlantic (areaII). Funny...I am in the midst of a lot of BNR and barns- just don't know how to connect with them. Good idea about looking into Pony Clubs and the YR list- I'll check into that. Thanks!

LexInVA
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:09 AM
This is more money than I can comprehend...makes me glad that my two talented ponies are being trained to be Training level packers! THAT's all the expense my brain and conscience can handle. :yes: :cool:

however, the reality that comes to mind in this statement by grandprixjump needs to be honestly discussed by the USEA and USET:

DON'T EVEN THINK WE ARE CURRENTLY PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS INTO THE OLYMPICS THESE DAYS, WE ARE PUTTING OUR BEST RIDERS (WITH MONEY) INTO THE OLYMPICS.

Maybe that's just the way things are, but there surely are alternatives!

The USEF has the highest levels by the balls. There really are no alternatives in their plans. If you aren't on their A-list, regardless of skill, you aren't likely going to be competing internationally (something they have complete control over) which is their sole indication of true success in the sports. You can compete and win all you want to domestically but unless you're one of the the people on their Buddy List, you will just be spinning your wheels. One of the reasons why they heavily focus on developing the youth these days instead of talent like Miss Trainor (I'm not saying she's old but she's not YOUNG as in a kid) is because they are easier to mold than the older accomplished rider and they don't have much of an opinion about anything that's going on because they are eager to please, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and hungry for the spotlight. If the USEF works them properly, they won't have to worry about the future of the sport (as they see it) because they will have a long-lasting talent pool of well groomed young competitors for the international stage they love so much and the highest domestic levels of competition who will milk the donors for every penny they can while presenting the exact face the USEF wants on American athletes. In some ways, it's kinda like the old USSR teams from the 70's and 80's movies but without the bad accents and crew cuts. :lol:

flyingchange
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:14 AM
Wow!

Let's see. I don't like to make eventing plans, but if we were to do a season at Prelim this year, the plan would be to run probably 5 to 6 local HTs and not do stabling or hotels. So we'd be paying:

Entry fees - roughly 200 per event x 6 = 1200
Event Fuel - 60 per event x 6 = 360
Lessons - 1 to 2 per month x 7 months x 50 = 700
XC schools/gallops = 4 at 35 each = 140
Lesson/xc schoolings fuel = 25 per lesson/trip x 20 = approx 500
2 clinics with Lucinda = 700
Shoes (drilled and tapped) for 6 months = 600
1 hock injection = 450
USEF fee = 53
USEA fee = 82
Total = approximately $5,000

Jeez, I wish I hadn't done that. That's a lot of money!!! Perhaps we'll only do 4 HTs this year.

I cannot even fathom spending 20K and upwards on the luxury of showing horses. At least not at this point in my life! Maybe if my financial situation were to change, but still. I would feel very guilty for spending so much money on what most people consider a silly, self-indulgent luxury/hobby.

snoopy
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:15 AM
The USEF has the highest levels by the balls. There really are no alternatives in their plans. If you aren't on their A-list, regardless of skill, you aren't likely going to be competing internationally (something they have complete control over) which is their sole indication of true success in the sports. You can compete and win all you want to domestically but unless you're one of the the people on their Buddy List, you will just be spinning your wheels. One of the reasons why they heavily focus on developing the youth these days instead of talent like Miss Trainor (I'm not saying she's old but she's not YOUNG as in a kid) is because they are easier to mold than the older accomplished rider and they don't have much of an opinion about anything that's going on because they are eager to please, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and hungry for the spotlight. If the USEF works them properly, they won't have to worry about the future of the sport (as they see it) because they will have a long-lasting talent pool of well groomed young competitors for the international stage they love so much and the highest domestic levels of competition who will milk the donors for every penny they can while presenting the exact face the USEF wants on American athletes. In some ways, it's kinda like the old USSR teams from the 70's and 80's movies but without the bad accents and crew cuts. :lol:


You are absolutely correct here LEX...you are SOOOOO close to the truth with this post. It really is frightening and downright dirty just what goes on.
YUCK YUCK YUCK.

magnolia73
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:33 AM
I have run recognized dressage shows in the past and it is so hard to have local businesses and tack shops cough up anything.

Well, the way things happen now, they don't get much for sponsoring. If you sponsor a 5K, you get a name and logo on a T-shirt and entry blank. Usually you can set up a table with literature and samples. You get a banner at the start line. Maybe you get to present an award and get a photo taken with the winner. I think prize ceremonies are important to sponsors. Equestrian events always have the most anticlimatic feeling wins. Half the time, you get off, go check your score, walk up to the office and get your ribbon if you won. OTOH, look in any AQHA publication. It would appear that every Walk trot class winner gets a photo next to a back drop with the horse, rider, sponsor, trainer, ribbon and prize package.

Meanwhile, someone who went out nailed prelim dressage, ran clean on XC and figured out a complex stadium course at speed gets to run over to the show office and grab their ribbon out of a cardboard box. I do like that mindset- like that winning isn't the big deal that it is in other venues- but it might be dampening the perception of the level of acheivement for potential sponsors- both for events and riders.

LexInVA
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:57 AM
You are absolutely correct here LEX...you are SOOOOO close to the truth with this post. It really is frightening and downright dirty just what goes on.
YUCK YUCK YUCK.

Just wait til Mason Phelps throws in his hat for the USEF Presidency. The general belief seems to be that it's a job nobody really wants but I have a strong feeling he's gonna shoot for it sometime in the next decade given how he's titled himself as a public face for the equestrian community in the last eight years. I dunno when it will happen but I believe he has his eye on it and if he gets it, you can bet UL Equestrian sports are going to evolve into an invitation only spectator sport in this country. That dressage rule already says in not so many words "We will decide who rides in the rings." and the fact that they are trying to thinly veil it as such is just a slap in the face to those who spend their time and money in these sports just hoping that one day they will make a name for themselves. Eventing is the only sport I've really seen under USEF control that by and large has competitors at all levels together on and off the field. It's the only sport where you can share beer and burgers with people like Denny Emerson, Jimmy Wofford, and The O'Connors. I think the people aspect of Eventing (at least in this country) is it's best and most appealing attribute and if that goes, then there's nothing left at the center to keep it fair. It will become as self-centered and business like as the h/j world has become.

Merle
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:20 AM
I cannot even fathom spending 20K and upwards on the luxury of showing horses. At least not at this point in my life! Maybe if my financial situation were to change, but still. I would feel very guilty for spending so much money on what most people consider a silly, self-indulgent luxury/hobby.

FlyingChange, I'm in the same boat you are and I think my numbers are about the same as yours. I can probably swing $5k a year at Prelim and get my fill of evening but holy cow, $20k?! But it does make me feel a twinge of sadness/wishful thinking that somehow I could come up with sponsors to get the money to jump up to Intermediate but I don't think it will happen. I'm going to enter into vet school and I don't think I'll ever have enough money to justify spending that way myself. I think I'll stick with my lion-hearted draft cross who took me through Prelim and just poke around the woods trail riding for the rest of his days! :) Sadly enough.

tx3dayeventer
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:37 AM
OK so I am going to try and figure out what was spent when I was going Advanced. My dad b*tches that it was upwards of $100K. I dont believe him. I also had a * horse with my most of the year (all except FL)

Here we go: All figured on 12 months

Working Student for BNT/BNR: $600 a month (7,200)
Having a second horse at BNT/BNR BOARD: 500/month (6,000)
Having second horse at BNT/BNR LESSONS: 600/month (4,800)
FL board Jan-May: (3,000)
Gas/Diesel: 2000/month (24,000) this includes all shows and all driving in the truck (closest show was 6 hrs)
My food: 400/month (4,800)
Clinics and schooling fees in FL: (2,000)
Entry Fees for FL HT's (include stabling & hookup): 300 a show (1,800) (I only took 1 horse to FL)
Entry Fees for Spring 3-day(include stabling& hookup): (750)
Entry Fees for Summer HT's (include stabling & hookup): 900 a horse (1,800)
Entry Fees for Fall HT's (include stabling & hookup): approx. 1,800 a horse (3600)
Entry Fees for Fall 3-day's(include stabling & hookup) CCI*** & CCI*: 750 x2 (1500)
Farrier for Holly (***): 225 every 4 weeks: (2,925)
Farrier for other horse: (1,500)
Vet for both: (20,000) (TOTAL GUESS but this includes weekly Adequine and bi-weekly Legend on *** horse and monthly Legend and Bi-weekly Adequine for *, and injections, etc.)
US Rider membership : (108) or PRICELESS :D
Dover/StateLine/BoB: (5,000)

OH GOD!!!!!!!! I wound up with $90,783.00 HOLY CRAP!!! I am bound to have forgotten something and this really didnt include all my supplements (Cosequin, Accel, Vit E & Sel, Farriers Formula, Strongid) b/c my coach was sponsored by Vita-Flex. But if I add those that is probably another 5,000 for the year bringing my extravagent total to $95,783.00!!!!

OMH I owe my parents sooo much! I have never added up before now and am wishing I hadnt.


How bout that need for sponsors :D

Fence2Fence
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:37 AM
I'm for the idea of prize money.

tuppysmom
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:41 AM
I have to believe that if you easily run around a 4 star course, on a sound horse, that the selectors will certainly notice you. I do feel that it is up to each rider to get themselves that far, though. At least the first time.

snoopy
Jan. 3, 2008, 11:53 AM
I have to believe that if you easily run around a 4 star course, on a sound horse, that the selectors will certainly notice you. I do feel that it is up to each rider to get themselves that far, though. At least the first time.

Tell that to Corinne Ashton and MANY others!!!! It is not so black and white as you put it.

grandprixjump
Jan. 3, 2008, 03:34 PM
I have to believe that if you easily run around a 4 star course, on a sound horse, that the selectors will certainly notice you. I do feel that it is up to each rider to get themselves that far, though. At least the first time.

I'm sure Eventing is the same as Grand Prix jumping, the selectors or Sponsors, AREN'T going to notice a up and coming out there 3-4 times a year (and thats a good year), when they see the current BNR's there every weekend, since they have 8+ horses to compete and newby has ONE and won't ruin it by over showing.


Getting there ONCE just won't do it

gooddirt
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:04 PM
I'm for the idea of prize money.

And where will it come from?

LexInVA
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:09 PM
And where will it come from?

Only place prize money can ever come from is entry fees for that particular class unless you've got someone who's gonna throw up some cash and sponsor it. That's how the big h/j shows have worked for years. The big problem is that there are very few big eventing events with a lot of competitors so getting a big pot is difficult at best.

CapturinYerRide
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:25 PM
I agree that events need to have more prize money and sponsorships. I have run recognized dressage shows in the past and it is so hard to have local businesses and tack shops cough up anything.

Cough Cough... I don’t see where exactly in the US you are from, but in my neighborhood (Tryon), the local businesses and tack shops put up pretty much ALL of the prizes and prize money for every horse show that comes to town at each of the venues we have here. Talking to folks in other market areas, I find this to be pretty much the same throughout the Southeast at least. You open up a good question about “recognized dressage shows.” There is one here that is organized by the venue itself, and I know for a fact that they get sponsorship from the whole local cast of potential sponsors. There are also several recognized dressage shows in town that are put on by professional dressage show companies that travel from venue to venue doing shows. They don’t get as heavily sponsored from what I know. BUT, in all my years there haven’t been any of these organizers actually come to ask, except at the very last minute to see if they could get some trinket donations. Then they get all ticked off and insulted, forgetting who it was that paid for the construction of the very facilities they’re using. In Tryon at least, the venues are very much put together and maintained by the local community.

Now seriously, Atigirl, if you’re organizing any shows in the future, I suggest that you contact the local businesses early in the year, or even yesterday, to see what you can do on a comprehensive basis for the whole year. You might be surprised at what you come up with. Or you can wait until the last minute, when they’ll be trying hard to cough up the weekly payroll! There won’t be any cough left for prizes at that point!:eek:


I would be willing to add $10 to $20 to all my entry fees if that money went only to prize money. At some of the big events around here that could be $3000-$6000. Maybe that isn't the ultimate answer, but it could be a start for all riders to help "sponsor" other riders. Just a thought. I will let the Iowa caucuses settle this question!:lol:

ThirdCharm
Jan. 3, 2008, 06:49 PM
A very good point, most businesses set up their budgets in the fall before the year in which the dispersements are planned. So if you want some big sponsorships, you have to ask for it the year before you want it.

Jennifer

RunForIt
Jan. 3, 2008, 07:06 PM
And where will it come from?

could you have an option: add $15 - 20.00 to entries - those entries would be eligible for 3 prizes awarded to top 3 eligible riders in a division? Yes, it will mean more paperwork...just a beginning suggestion.

Somehow, keeping eventing working for working people needs to happen. I'd like to think that if I was skillful enough and either of my horses capable, I could have a year competitive at Training or Prelim without spending $20,000.00! I am at the end of my career as a Georgia public school teacher - if I don't tutor, eventing is not possible.

Organizers could award entries, stabling, schooling for prizes...its all expensive!

I know that the upkeep on eventing venues is astronomical...don't know the answer, just believe that we have to take this conversation beyond the COTH BB. Happy New Year. See you in March!

tuppysmom
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:43 PM
Snoopy, I think they are most interested in the CCI**** results. If you bring your A game, you'll make the A list.

There is a bit if the "what have you done for me lately" aspect to it also. At least there is for some of us. But that's life in sports. You don't get to be the starting QB if you can't make the plays. That just means that you have to get out and work hard and make your "game" better so that your value to the team increases.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 4, 2008, 06:45 AM
I have to believe that if you easily run around a 4 star course, on a sound horse, that the selectors will certainly notice you. I do feel that it is up to each rider to get themselves that far, though. At least the first time.

I agree with this.


One of the reasons why they heavily focus on developing the youth these days instead of talent like Miss Trainor (I'm not saying she's old but she's not YOUNG as in a kid) is because they are easier to mold than the older accomplished rider and they don't have much of an opinion about anything that's going on because they are eager to please, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and hungry for the spotlight. If the USEF works them properly, they won't have to worry about the future of the sport (as they see it) because they will have a long-lasting talent pool of well groomed young competitors for the international stage they love so much and the highest domestic levels of competition who will milk the donors for every penny they can while presenting the exact face the USEF wants on American athletes.

I disagree with this. Why?

Because the former has basis in observable fact. The latter is not only unsupported, but illogical as stated.

1.) USEF has no opportunity to "mold" anyone. We no longer have a national coach in the way LeGoff. If you make that claim, how it is operationalized? As someone DID state (maybe Lex), USEF does influence (i.e. "mold") through its actions, but it molds everyone who seeks its attention--has nothing to do with age.

2.) If (and its a decent sized "if") they do have the opportunity to "focus" on "someone," it's more likely--given USEF's history--that they'd focus on those with means (both financial and social). That's what I observe, too--and not just in eventing. The YRs that get attention are those with means. Is it the system or the preference? Does it matter? As Christan has stated, her problem was and is MONEY, period. It's not USEF. She was long-listed for the team on her self-made (by CT) OTTB because, as tuppysmom stated, her accomplishments back then couldn't be denied. But she got no help from USEF even after that. And what of Sara M? What about continued support for those that got there on their own? That, IMO, is a far more significant observation than Lex's biased suppositions. (Sorry, Lex, but I'm just stating my view. I hate the general negativity toward USEF and the way folks jump on that bandwagon. It's so like politics today! I brought up CT to be specific, not general, which, IMO, is much more productive.)

Even as I wrote of CT and SM, I was thinking, too, that the general public may be unaware of other factors that are considered (how stable the person's situation is, how sound and "deep" is their horse flesh, etc.). For example, if there are two YRs of roughly equal accomplishment (or moderately young riders--BTW, there are older riders on the B and developing list, too--and we can't forget Gina Miles, can we?), if USEF can't possibly support a rider 100%, which rider should receive support: the one who can fill in where USEF falls short or the one who will remain a long shot, even with USEF support, due to lack of additional support? Unfair as it is, you have to admit that the former is a better "investment" than the latter--especially if you care more about medals than values and ideals (and Mark Phillips has frankly admitted that that's just the way it is: medals not mores).

So much for the "Olympic spirit," huh? It's grossly, grossly unfair. But then, horse sports are grossly, grossly unfair. So, as we rip into USEF, I think it wise to keep in mind that we aren't talking about track and field here anyway.

Fence2Fence
Jan. 4, 2008, 09:15 AM
And where will it come from?

Valid question, and I didn't have time to flesh out my previous post.

I think adding $10 to $20 to each entry would cause quite an out cry. I'm in the process of planning my season, and I've noticed that the entry fees have risen from last year. Another $10 to $20 on top of that. Yeah, ouch. Even for the novice and training level folks, money can be a problem.

I like the "idea" of prize money. The implementation isn't so easy. Does it come from the entry fee? Does the organizer offer divisions with the "option" of prize money (folks who want to be eligible for the prize money contribute)? This is additional administrative burden. Will the organizers be expected to raise this sponsorship themselves? Who is going to volunteer to help them do this? After all, their plate is pretty full already and they are already scrambling for volunteers just to run the horse trial.

I like the "idea" of prize money, especially if it was offered at each level and each division, because I feel it gives the "privateer" (to borrow from Rayers, sorry to be the copy cat), the young rider, and pro a chance to compete for it.

I think the harsh reality is that the prize money will have to start with the entry fee. And competitors are going hate this because it's more money out of their pocket with a slim chance of return. But, it would make approaching business a little easier for the organizers who want to start fund raising. (In my field of work in research finance, this is called "cost share.") When the fundraiser goes to the business/farms/people to ask for support, they can say "With each level and division, we have a prize money already for $50 for the top three. Can you match this by cash/product/etc?"

It's not simple, and sponsors must receive a return for their sponsorship. I would even say the sponsor must think that the "return" is so good for their investment, that they think they are getting the better of the deal. I think that not only applies to prize money/competition sponsorship, but to folks applying for individual sponsorships as well.