Tipsy Weasel Eventing
This is the product of too many rainy afternoons. This a purely fictitious scenario but many of my coaching/riding colleagues will have come across many of the characters and situations which may have been slightly exaggerated.
Tipsy weasel Eventing
When we last met Tabitha she was starting out in the world of British Eventing, flitting between overpriced trainers.
(Click this link for original story http://www.jamiewrightequestrian.co.uk/blog-1)
Over the last few years Tabitha has been studying for an obscure art / fashion degree at university. Her A level results were not quite as she’d hoped for so her father had managed to grease a few palms to find her a place at a popular Home Counties college. Tabitha fully immersed herself in varsity life and she joined many clubs and societies. Most weekends were spent on tours of “cultural centres” around Europe and after a couple of years she had visited more European capitals than Judith Chalmers (younger people ask your parents ) ,and knew the bars and clubs of Prague and Amsterdam like the back of her hand. None of this left a lot of time for her equestrian activities but with a lot of help from riders and coaches she progressed with her long suffering saint of a horse up to BE 100 level.
During her time at university her family were saddened at the news of the death of her great uncle. That did mean, however, that her father was the sole heir to his fortune and inherited the Tipsy Weasel Gin Distillery.
After a while it becomes apparent that Tabitha's future does not lie in the fashion industry. Tabitha's travels and hectic social life had somehow got in the way of her University coursework so any sort of degree would be a miracle. After discussions with her parents the answer is obvious…… she would become a professional event rider.
To facilitate Tabitha's new career her parents bought a 25 acre equestrian property in the Surrey Hills which her mother boasts to her friends was a "snip at £2.5 million" close to the gin distillery. Her father was lucky enough to buy the property from a former Premier League footballer who was selling it to spite his wife during a messy divorce. They move Tabitha’s one horse to the yard along her shaggy childhood Dartmoor pony.
How to become a professional rider
Having read horsey social media sites for the past few years Tabitha knows what every successful professional rider needs, the answer is obvious..... Sponsorship. Gone are the days that a rider was successful and then became sponsored, the modern rider is sponsored first and then becomes successful afterwards. The key to a sponsorship deal is an active and popular social media presence. With the aid of Tabitha's father's marketing guru they plan a series of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to promote Tabitha as a rider. To get the ball rolling Tabitha's father agrees that the Tipsy Weasel gin distillery will be the main sponsor, which will, in turn, help to attract other sponsors. For the next few weeks social media sites of bombarded by “like and share my page“ type of posts. The most popular (especially by under 18s) by far was a “like and share my page for a free bottle of Tipsy Weasel gin” promotion. Every post is now ending #TipsyWeaselEventing #ginjockeys.
Tabitha persuades a couple of her pretentious university friends to help with promotional pictures in return for a tag and a week away at her family’s Tuscany villa so they spend the next few weeks taking arty photos of Tabitha looking like she’s just fallen out of a Jane Austen novel, often draped across her horse in a flowing dress. She is just so busy starting her business that she hasn’t got time to ride her horse any more unless it’s for a photoshoot. Every post now ending #TipsyWeaselEventing #ginjockeys. #****design. #****photography after each photo.
Now that she has several thousand followers on numerous social media accounts they start bombarding potential sponsors with requests for sponsorship. It soon becomes apparent that Tabitha’s limited results are a bit of a handicap. Her marketing guru said ‘not to let the truth come between her and a sponsorship deal’ and to embellish her results and experiences. Mediocre results become consistent placings, her drinking games in foreign capital cities make her a frequent international team competitor, family trips to Badminton make her a regular at 4 star events and her single horse and hairy companion become an exciting string of future winners. Miraculously nobody questions her boasts and interest starts to trickle in.
Tabitha accepts any offer how big or small, often just a discount, a small amount of product or a saddle cloth in return for a social media tag and glowing product reviews even though she’s never tried half of what she’s promoting. Many of Tabitha's social media posts are now just pictures with a paragraph of sponsors tags afterwards. Impressed with the traffic on Tabitha’s media posts, her sponsors start offering merchandise for ‘”like my page and sponsors for a chance to win” type of post and again interest snowballs. Tabitha is simply exhausted maintaining her social media presence, liking, replying and sending out emojis but she does find it very addictive. She sits back and smiles to herself and thinks ‘finally, I have found something I’m good at, I’m enjoying being a professional event rider.’
With Stage one complete and the season only a few months away it’s time for her to look towards stage two….the search for horses.