You know those signs that you occasionally see in pubs behind the bar that says 'Please do not ask for credit, as refusal may offend' I often feel the same way about sponsored rider enquiries! We're always polite to anyone approaching, however the 'copy and paste' mentality that we see so often is quite wearing. So, I thought I'd add a little clarity to the way we work with riders and my beliefs as to what sponsored riders mean to our brand.
We get a vast amount of sponsored rider enquiries, and the bottom line is that our sponsored riders are already fans of the brand BEFORE we even explore the opportunity of a more in-depth relationship with us. This sets our brand apart from many equestrian brands across the board who often pay riders to ride in their brand or give product them for free.
Another difference is that our Childéric riders are passionate about what they do with their horses. Every aspect of their horses is done with commitment and passion, and that includes their saddle choice. They just won't compromise. Just because something is free, it doesn't mean it's right for you or your horse. With some of our riders shortlisted for Tokyo, they know that cutting corners is an unnecessary risk to reputation and performance. They also know that if they need a saddle check or advice, we are there for them - that's priceless!
I'm sure that many could pick up a freebie, but their horses' wellbeing and their competition performance is of enormous importance to them and one they are not willing to compromise on when it comes to their saddle.
Our Childéric riders don't want to be just a number on a list; they don't want to be one of a long, impersonal list of names associated with a brand. Our riders (and customers) love our personal service and the care and attention we devote to every single one of our customers and sponsored riders.
Our Childéric riders earn their titles through a commitment to our brand and earn our respect because of this. Just because you have a long list of sponsors associated with you, it doesn't mean you are a better rider than someone else who has none. While a substantial social media following may appeal to some brands, for us, it doesn't entitle you to sponsorship either: It's your passion for a brand that's attractive to us.
Nothing fills me with happiness more than a customer tagging us in on a post to share their news with us or to comment about how much they love our saddles and/or service. They aren't paid to do this. They do it because they know that we care about them, their horses and want to be part of their progress and enjoyment with their horses.
Genuine feedback from genuine customers.
Another concern I would have as a rider on a huge list is how that impacted on the brand's perceived value of me as a rider or asset to their brand. If everyone is sponsored – who’s a customer?
Nothing can ever replace a relationship between a rider and a brand that is built on a mutual passion and respect.
We do things differently because we are different. Stepping back reviewing the whole sponsored rider’s thing as a whole, competitive people set themselves apart by their talent and hunger – why be a number – be a winner.
Our Childéric Ambassadors and our Childéric Brand Champions are both valued but are two separate levels of association. Both respected but both different.
So, if you decide to approach us in the future about becoming a 'sponsored rider', please take note of the above, as refusal may offend!