I sponsor a couple of riders. It helps if you have a personal connection, and are really, really good, and high profile. The point of a sponsored rider, from the saddle provider's point of view, is ultimately to sell saddles. Would your riding in my saddle help me sell saddles ? Would it be worth my $4000 or so of upfront costs ? Bear in mind that $4000 to me is probably more expensive than $4000 to you, since I have to sell saddles for a living, and can rarely afford to compete, and you, by definition, can afford to compete ! It's a bit of a catch-22 - realistically, it's only people who can afford to compete at a high level, and who can also probably afford and expensive saddle, who will receive a saddle sponsorship. Unless you have that personal connection.
Thanks kate, hah yeaah 4k is expensive for me too! I almost choked when lauren barwick told me what she paid for her custom schlesse! Being a para rider limits my saddle choices lets say, i have to make sure its a) comfortable b) built up enough and deep enough to support me
Oye vey wish someone would give me a pt job already!
Are you winning at a national level, have an interesting or inspirational story, and have articles been written about you? If not, keep working to get there and you might be able to get a saddle sponsorship (which will very likely not be a free saddle).
Some saddle companies sponsor trainers once several of their clients buy saddles. One thing to remember for all who are wondering how to do this - once you have a sponsor (for anything - saddle, supplements, training, ANYTHING of value) you are a professional rider. I had a company offer to sponsor us with supplements for my two stallions. I checked with USEF and they said any sponsorship means I give up my ammie status. So I passed on the supplements...
As far as I can tell, riders obtain sponsors by reaching out and asking for support and demonstrating the benefit of that support. Look for new products/vendors/reps who might have less exposure to start with.
Mighty Thoroughbred Clique was approached by a few event riders (already professionals but not big names) in early days, one of whom got an MTC browband on the cover of a national horse magazine, so definitely "earned" a show entry fee.
As a para rider, you might be uniquely positioned (sorry about any pun) to help promote a particular brand.
So i was wondering, who has gotten a saddle company to sponsor them? How did you go about it? how to get sponsors in general?
I have come to the realization I will need almost a custom saddle or the saddles that work for me start at 4k
how do I go about sponsors?
my para dispention is in the works yippee
You don't get a sponsorship due to need... you get it by figuring out how the sponsor can make more money by aligning themselves with you in order to sell more product.
Saddle companies often offer discounts/incentives to professionals who "encourage" their students/clients to purchase that particular brand. So, for every saddle that is purchased by a client, the company will give a credit to the pro for $X or there is an agreement that if the pro gets X number of students to buy saddles, the pro's saddle is free or very heavily discounted.
Many professionals (at least in the H/J world) will display a certain brand's banner on their show setups or put the logo on saddle pads and that kind of thing, in conjunction with this sort of incentive arrangement. The idea is that other riders who see a successful professional promoting a certain brand will be more inclined to purchase that product as a result. Then the company can advertise with lines like, "9 out of the 10 top Grand Prix winners this year ride in XYZ brand; shouldn't you?"
If you are good enough/win enough for company reps to believe that you can influence other people to buy their product, getting sponsors will be easy.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
The only rider I have known to have free saddles (12 or 15 of them at that!) has ridden in multiple Olympics, competes internationally, and doesn't own a single horse he rides. Another trainer I know that gets discount saddles also competes internationally (no Olympics yet), doesn't own any of "his" horses, and has literally a couple dozen students all riding in that company's saddles. I agree with the other posters that they are sponsored because of the publicity they bring to the companies.
If it was me needing a pricey saddle, I wouldn't be willing to give up amateur status in lieu of a discount.
I know a few saddlers and the general consensus is that the rider has to have enough clout to help sell saddles. One company aims for one sponsored rider to sell 9 saddles to clients/friends to earn their "keep".
If a rider does not follow up on promises, they are warned, & then they are dropped.
Sponsorships of all kinds take work. It isn't just a saddle pad & merchandise.
how long do riders have to get sales before they get dropped, or how long to get X number of sales to earn their saddle? if they don't earn the saddle in X amount of time, do they have to give the saddle back? or do they just have to pay for it?