Making a business out of eventing
When Horseplay.ie asked me to write about how event riders make a living I scratched my head!! I think most who do it as a profession will agree – eventing is a passion rather than a money making venture! However, at the end of the day it is a business and every business needs to earn an income to survive.
Over the winter months I do a lot of coaching, which is not only financially rewarding but also very enjoyable. Unfortunately, with my own training programme and the busy eventing season, I just run out of hours during the day and don’t have time to continue this throughout the season, which is a shame.
However, coaching is something I would love to dedicate more time to and I will hopefully be able to concentrate more on this in future years.
Another source of income is in young horse production. We try to buy a young horse or two each year to produce and sell on.
When doing so I generally try to buy a model that I would like to keep myself, which more often than not ends up happening and actually defeats the purpose!!!
As a result, owners and sponsors are the nucleus of my business.
For an owner, running an event horse is a costly hobby and unfortunately the prize money in eventing will never cover the costs of keeping a horse on the road. While the daily charges from the rider covers basic costs of riding and looking after a horse, it can work out extremely expensive for an owner with endless additional costs including the farrier, vets, physio, entries, training, travel etc!
Therefore, our team is extremely lucky to have numerous sponsors on board to help alleviate some of the costs incurred by owners and rider.
While I try my best to be a good brand ambassador for my sponsors and promote their products this is another opportunity to introduce each of them – alphabetically!!!
Agnelli Motor Park, Dublin have supplied me with a top of the range Jeep since 2015 and I recently received my 2016 model. Such support means that not only can I travel and tow in style, but it also helps to alleviate the huge financial burden associated with driving, servicing and insurance costs.
Berney Brothers Ireland approached me in 2012. Their traditional saddles are famous, but Thomas Berney felt that he would like to modernise his competition saddles. Berney’s now have superb SJ and dressage models and we are continually working together on this. We all know how expensive tack and equipment is, so it’s a privilege to have such support.
Botanica – Another superb Irish Brand, we have been lucky to have the support from Botanica for numerous years. We use the products daily in the yard. The herbal wash is great when we hot towel the horses after they get groomed over – it’s also great for the flies in the summer. The ointment is a great soothing products for cuts and rubs for both horses, dogs and humans alike! Sean Cooney is always at the end of the phone and we have a constant supply of products
Briovet is an online site selling a top class range of veterinary formulated nutritional products to the equine industry of Mervue Ireland supplements. Our yard has an endless supply of these products, ranging from electrolytes, joint supplements to equine and canine products. Different formulations can be made up to the exact requirements of individual horses.
Bucas Ireland have kept my horses warm and dry in the winter and cool and fly free in the summer and provide protective transport gear whilst travelling. I am looking forward to trying out some of their new gear which is in the post as we speak, including the newly launched Recuptex Therapy Rugs.
Cambox ISIS are the most discrete onboard head cams on the market. You actually have to look hard on a zoomed in picture to see it! It is safe and light weight to use and is a great training tool. Another plus is the fact that owners love to see their horses’ cross country and jumping rounds and get great value from the riders unedited commentary!!
Champion have a wide selection of safety hats for each phase. They have wide variety of styles which appeal to all ages. While safety is priority, Champion hats are so comfortable and easy to wear. Champion’s sister brand Toggi also supplies me with workwear such as boots and waterproof clothing and help to keep me warm and dry, whatever the weather!
Clippers Ireland had been on board for several years now. Tom Melby supplies a great product with varies models – both electric and chargeable. Including heavy duty clippers and small models for those delicate areas, we even have Clippers Ireland dog clippers.
Dubarry of Ireland provide me with extremely smart country wear for trot ups and formal receptions, yet their gear is hard wearing and great quality country wear which can be worn with riding gear to give a casual but smart look.
Freejump is a unique product designed and manufactured in France. The safety stirrup is second to none. Their innovations are related to performance, comfort and safety of both horse and rider. They also manufacture stylish riding gear which is both current and modern.
Gain Horse Feeds supply the yard with the best horse feed around, producing a dust free, highly nutritional feed. Additionally, their expert equine nutritionists provide constant support and individual equine feeding programmes. They deliver feed worldwide so we never have to transport large amounts around – Gain delivers direct. They also supply our 5 terriers with dog food!
Lloyd’s Insurance is the world’s specialist insurance market. The company provide me with monetary support which I use towards training and travel and they are also only a phone call away for insurance support and advice. Lloyd’s is unique in that it’s not a company but a market, which its members join together as syndicates to insure risks.
Tredstep Ireland have been supporting the Irish riders for several years. The company is dedicated to tradition but also highly innovative. Their competition breeches and cross country skins are a personal favourite of mine.
As you can see, our team is extremely fortunate to receive both product and financial sponsorship. over the years. We are totally indebted to the individuals and companies who continue to do so and they are always at the end of the phone if we ever need any advice or products.
This year the High Performance squad riders have also received a generous monthly bursary from an anonymous donor via Horse Sport Ireland. This helps me to subsidise owners’ costs towards dressage and jumping trainers. This is in addition to the monthly arranged training. Hopefully both the donor the owners and sponsors will see some results and I’m really looking forward to seeing the season kick off.
Eventing is a fantastic sport and having a yard of event horses is a wonderful way of life. However, it does mean lots of hard work, long hours, little time off and the need to be out and about in all weathers. If I said it were easy, I would be lying. But it’s incredibly rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world.