By Emily Deveau (2KGrey
Syndicates, owners, product ambassadors, sponsors… We’ve all heard the terms, we’ve seen the fancy show horses who are financed by syndicates or owned by someone other than the person competing them. The same can be said for brand ambassadors and sponsors. The sponsors names and logo line tents at events and can be easily found on saddle pads, shirts, breeches, anywhere they can be seen. But what actually are they? And when do we know we’re ready in our career to go looking for one? Or do they come looking for us?
A syndicate is defined as a group of people or organizations coming together to promote a common interest. So in the equine world, a syndicated horse is one that shows promising upper level potential and purchased by a group of people. The money invested in the horse is not only the money it cost to buy the horse, but also the money required to take care of the horse. The good news is that being a syndicated horse owner can allow you to help upper level riders and contribute to the sport in new ways. Take a look at the Rolex list from 2015, you’ll see that Tim Price and Wesko came in 2nd
place- Wesko, owned by the Wesko Syndicate. Each syndicated owner share can be sold to pay other expenses. The cost of horse ownership and international competition fees have become so overwhelmingly expensive that it is almost impossible for a rider to do it all on their own. These syndicates are sometimes what makes the competition of these upper level horses and riders possible.
Owners are something a little more simplistic. They are just that, owners. There’s a ton of reasons why someone would own a horse that they do not wish to or cannot compete:
- Simple- they don’t want to do the competing
- The horse is talented enough for a much higher level than what the owner is capable of
- The rider and horse make a better match than the original owner
- For training purposes
- For sales purposes
In the case of full ownership of a horse, the rider does not have the entire say in what goes on. The trainer and owner both play large parts in the showing of the horse. Most times, the trainer is the same as the rider. That would surely eliminate some of the go-between in decision making. Riding a horse owned by another party could be considered much less of a financial burden. After all, the owner is covering the cost of board, competition, veterinary, and farrier bills. But some may say it as a heavier mental stressor- the rider/trainer is responsible for the well-being and success of the horse. In any sense, it is another way to ease the financial stress and allow riders to compete at levels that may beyond their budget.
Boyd Martin and Otis, sponsored by Purina Feed. PC: Chronicle of the Horse
Sponsored riders and brand ambassadors pose more of a gray area. The riders who are sponsored by a company, whether it be clothing, feed, supplements, tack, or what have you, are riders who the brand trusts enough to represent them. These riders are often already successful in their competition and tend to be somewhat established. Most times, these riders have their sponsor(s) brand somewhere on their clothes, or truck, or trailer. We’ve all seen them, Boyd Martin is sponsored by Purina Feed with the ever so subtle Purina logo on his shoulders. These riders are entrusted to carry themselves in a way that positively represents the brand. This benefits the company when the rider has a good show, or is just a downright good competitor. Whatever the case may be, they are always a positive asset to the brand.
Brand ambassadors are more of a newer asset to the world of equestrian partnerships. Riders that are ambassadors can range through levels of successes in the sport. These riders are ones who love the brand they represent. They often reach out to the brand to share stories of why they love it so much- what products they live in, what other people are asking about the brand. And that’s exactly what brands are looking for- curiosity. They want to get their name out to a group of people that may not have heard of them had it not been for their ambassador. Unlike some sponsorships, these riders are not always competitive or at the top of their class. It really is all about the love of the brand! Social media has become a great way to showcase the products and brands you love. Not to mention a way to share it with just about everyone you know
Now the big question, when do you go looking for all these partnerships? Most people are looking for positive and successful attributes to their company and brand. When you feel you can be that, it could be time to look into smaller brands to support. Start with the products you love and really use and depend on. Write to a company, tell them how much you love them! You never know, someone might just be looking for your new story to set their brand apart. We need these partnerships in the equine industry, they help the sport more than most of us understand. They are truly a large part of all the successes in this sport. The most successful riders have sponsors, owners, and syndicates- and that’s no coincidence. While they need the very successful riders, the very successful riders need them too.
Love our products? Interested in sponsorship or brand ambassador opportunities? Please email your story to our digital marketing manager, Jordan Manfredi at Jordan@bigredadvisorygroup.com