Boost your horsepower: How to attract equine investors
One of the toughest things about competing at top levels is funding the horsepower to stay there.
Competition horses don’t come cheap, and unless you’ve got backing, the chances of you buying a ready-made superstar are slim to zero.
So how can you attract owners and investors? It’s something we are asked time and time again. We can’t promise to have all the answers, but we can offer advice on how you can up your game and attract investors.
Create a strong business model
Like it or not, most investors are in it for the money. This may sound cut-throat, but horses are an expensive business, so most owners expect to see a return on their investment.
Chloe Bunn runs the highly successful Breen Equestrian with her husband, international showjumper, Shane Breen. They have a few key investors, who have been with them for over 10 years. So how do they do it?
“They stay with us because of our business model, which ensures we make money on their horses,” says Chloe. “There are owners who are in it for the passion of the sport, but most people expect us to sell their horse on for a profit.
“Even the likes of Scott Brash doesn’t have owners throwing good horses at him. He has a good business model and he knows how to be commercial. The Funnells are the same. The only way to get to the top and stay there is buying and selling horses.”
Identify your skills
Owners will pick riders they think best suit their ambitions and their animals, so you need to identify your strengths as a rider and trainer and be clear about how you can benefit an investor.
Make a list of the reasons why a company or individual would want to invest in you. This could be anything from great facilities, to experience with young horses, to VIP hospitality at events. Listing your skills might not be something you’re comfortable with, but don’t sell yourself short and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
“What Breen Equestrian offers is Shane’s incredible experience, plus he is a good business man,” said Chloe. “He left school when he was 12, and he rode 35 horses a day and would sell anything he was sitting on – as long as it was for a profit.”
Being successful isn’t just about winning big classes – it’s about bringing out the best of a horse’s ability and understanding the owner’s expectations.
“We tailor what we offer to the individual,” explains Chloe. “Some will have a six-year-old they want sold by seven, while others might want their horse to compete in the Olympics.
“You have to be flexible, but realistic. Don’t give false hope or make promises you can’t keep – if you can’t accommodate their needs it’s best to refer them onto someone else.”
Do your research
Owners and sponsors will be looking for riders who mirror their values, so if you have an owner in mind, it pays to do your research.
Understanding their values, goals and expectations – as well as their motives behind horse ownership – will help you work out the best way you can work with them.
Armed with this information you can put together a proposal that will impress potential new partners. It’s a good idea to get a PR agency to help you with this, as a well-prepared proposal can tip the balance in your favour.
Build your brand
We know that riding horses is your top priority, but you also need to make time to build your brand. Establishing yourself as a known name on the circuit will raise your profile and help you create connections with potential owners.
If you don’t already have a social media presence, you need to create one. Now.
If you already have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, you should take a closer look at your brand. Everything you post, like and share is building an image of who you are and what you stand for.
You can find some great advice on how to build your brand in our blog here – or get in touch with us to find out how we can we can help you improve your digital marketing.
Back up your brand
While branding and marketing is vital to get you in front of potential investors, you need the horses to back it up.
“The most important thing is your reputation and producing nice horses that stay good when you sell them,” says Chloe. “There is no point being all fart and no poo! You need to sell a good product that’s not going to unravel as soon as it leaves your yard.”
If you want to up your game and attract investors, we can help you build your brand and make the right connections. Get in touch to find out how we can help you take your equestrian business to the next level.