Brand sponsorship for coaches?

I’ve just had this interesting chat on ‪#‎equestrianhour‬ on Twitter where I asked what people thought of the fact that there wasn’t much happening in terms of brands sponsoring freelance coaches/instructors. I am not necessarily talking about myself as I am just a little fish in a massive pond but I know of some wider-reach coaches who don’t compete often any more but see many clients and could potentially be fabulous brand ambassadors.

 I should add that I don't mean for coaches to become reps/sales people pushing certain brands onto clients.

Think about it – a little, smaller scale coach like me visits on average four different livery yards a week, two being rather large. They house a couple of hundred or more horses altogether. Most of these horses have owners who either have lessons with me or at least see me passing by.
Now, I don’t drive (driving coach is great too – think of racing cars…you can barely see the car for brands’ stickers 😉 ) so I also travel regularly on trains to London, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire. Occasionally I also fly abroad to teach. Again – that’s some serious amount of people who see my breeches/jacket/backpack/thermos/boots etc etc on a daily basis.
The other day I was waiting for a train at a station (in my jods as usual 😉 when someone walked up to me and asked me if I rode (clue in clothing). We got chatting and it turned out she had two horses at advanced level and trained with Carl Hester (what are the chances of that by the way??).
The point is, people who ride notice other people who look remotely horsey whether they want to or not.
If a rider needs something in terms of clothing for themselves or for the horse, in terms of feeding or management – they will ask me for advice first. If I say, this and that is great, they will buy it 9 out of 10 times.
Now, let’s not forget that’s just a little me running my own little coaching programme. If you multiply this to match a situation of a much more accomplished trainer who perhaps doesn’t ride or compete that much any more but teaches many riders (who then go out and about) it seems obvious that she/he would potentially be a fabulous “sponsorship material”?

Out and about teaching…pictures by Pure Essence Photography from one of my clinics in Yorkshire

If you are an instructor – have you ever been approached by a brand who wanted visibility via your coaching presence?
If you are a rider taking lessons, have you ever asked your coach what bit best to use or where they got their boots from or their breeches from?
There isn’t a day someone doesn’t ask me what best to buy for this or that, where I got this or that from. If I say buy xyz because I think it would suit them great, they buy it.
So, as a coach, what are your experiences? Would sponsorship of things like clothing/boots/venue sponsorship so you could run clinics etc etc helpful for you?
Or perhaps, as a rider, you think it isn’t a good idea? Perhaps you look up only to competition riders to see what they wear, what their horses wear, what they feed?
Perhaps you only look up to coaches/riders who actively compete at higher levels?
I am genuinely very curious about it and although of course I would love to be sponsored myself, I am realistic and try to look at this situation with as little bias as possible.
If I had a product for riders or horses, the right coach with values I would want to promote in my product, would be the first person to approach to see how they could represent me so it makes me wonder why are most brands so focused on such saturated field as rider sponsorship is?
Your thoughts would be much appreciated! 

7 thoughts on “Brand sponsorship for coaches?”

  1. I think that you have a very valid point. I never realized it until after I read this and got to thinking about it….but I am the same way. I am not a professional, far from it, I started with a few friends of friends who said I could help their friend with their horse, from that I have built a very moderate business. Nothing more. However I have noticed the same thing, when I am massaging horses as well as teaching, clients will ask what certain product I would recommend and nine out of ten times buy that particular product. I can’t even imagine what a well respected and well known trainer/instructor etc could do for business! Interesting thought, I’m curious to see what others have to say.

    1. Hi 🙂 Thank you for your comment!
      What I find interesting that a few people already mentioned that a coach should be impartial…it made me think yet again! If someone is a sponsored rider does it mean they are now told to push the company products onto friends/other riders? If so, that model would definitely not work for coach sponsorship. I mentioned the coach being point of call to highlight the fact, instructors are often someone who is the go-to person. For most people, it is enough to see a top rider wearing certain brand to want to have something of that brand too. Why can’t it be the same for instructors…? (rhetorical question here 😉 )

  2. Great read thanks for sharing :-). I am regularly asked about my produces I wear (boots, breeches, coats and even air jackets) I think I get asked because I am not endorsed by any brand/business, however I am always seeking out evidence-based products/materials etc.. I have recommended to some companies whose products I highly recommend to my clients – because of the evidence behind the product – yet the response is the importance of the elite rider.. interesting when the products are about safety, fit, and welfare…thanks again for raising thought and awareness on what I also believe is a missed opportunity for brand to find ambassadors who know why the product works and how best to use/get the most from it for safety, effectiveness and ethics…Lisa

    1. Thank you for your thoughts Lisa! Very interesting as I do have similar experiences with regards to being asked for advice and agree it is a hugely under valued brand awareness area that could happily co-exist with rider sponsorship. So many brands out there, so many different riders out there…

  3. I think its a brilliant idea for instructors & coaches to have sponsorship as without their expert teaching & advice, riders would probably not achieve the sucess & reach their full potential all by themselves. This then generates a huge marketing opportunity on two levels to include the instructor/coach & the rider.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts Collette! Perhaps we just have to get the horsey folk talking about this more? Many coaches blog and have other online presence that provide a great platform for the brands to be showcased. Like we mentioned on Twitter, I do think there are many other option that just thinking in terms of “receive clothing – wear clothing”…so many brands and ideas beyond clothing could be considered 🙂 Thank you again!

  4. brilliant idea, i teach and do recommend feed, supplements, etc, it would be nice to have some financial or products in return

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