I do have to admit it. I am a dressage geek. I simply love trotting about in circles, working on lightness in every step and then there are all the wonderful accoutrements. The soft buttery bridles with padded polls and nosebands, the bling on boots, the white polo wraps accentuating every stride. Oh. The fun of it all.
There are the mystical theorists, who claim to reinvent the wheel of dressage. The Germans, The Portuguese, The French, The British. It's all actually been done before. Explained before. Ridden before. Judged before. The grand old Masters and the new ones, the sport and the classicists. All of them bringing true essence to the world of dressage and oiling the wheel of dressage commerce.
But where are the $$ in competition? Why is this missing in this ancient discipline? Why for goodness sake is everyone still scratching their heads and wondering where are the sponsors.
I'll tell you where they are ~ home and not alone. In my experience working with many different companies who have gone into the arena giving prizes of all descriptions for a variety of events, the return on investment (ROI), simply is not there. It is not quantifiable at the very least.
I can attest to many, many gift certificates that have been donated to events for prizes that are simply never, ever cashed out? It is like pulling teeth to have the dressage community get involved or show any loyalty whatsoever to a brand or sponsor. And I mean an old, infected tooth in an old horse's mouth that breaks off while you are trying to pull it. Riders sometimes win saddle pads and other gifts and quickly turn them around and sell them on Ebay. Not a problem. They won them after all. But there is no appreciation. No photos sent to sponsors. No thank-you notes. Event organizers sometimes have drawers full of unused gifts and certificates that they suddenly remember and give away randomly.
Dressage needs to take a good hard look at events like HITS Saugerties who treat their sponsors as VIPs, sell their logo and brand at every opportunity.
The show is supposed to name sponsors. They will mention the sponsors over the tannoy they say. Doesn't happen. Not even when they know a representative of the sponsor is present on the show grounds. I've been to shows that promise a show program and been told at the gate they are all out and watch competitors sharing! What!!! Well worth the cost of that advertisement. NOT!
Eventing in Kentucky recently lost Rolex. Humm. Wonder what happened there?
Big sponsors and small have all had enough. There seems to be zero appreciation for the donations and the PR return is dismal. As a business it seems apparent you are far better off putting the funds into SEO and data collection, split tests and funneling.
So big pat on the back for those that stick to it. As a competitor or event organizer realize this is going to become a bigger issue not a smaller one. Do the math. Can you hold that show without the sponsors??