FEI to Seek Sponsors for Individual Horse Sport Disciplines

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Dressage World Cup Western European League event in Herning, Denmark.

Oct. 24, 2017

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is restructuring its marketing program to seek separate sponsors for each of the seven disciplines it governs, according to the organization’s commercial director.

Ralph Straus of the FEI was reported by insidethegames.com to have told the SPORTEL convention in Monaco that the governing body of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining and vaulting hopes to announce new partners in coming months.

Sponsorship of horse sports directly owned by the FEI has shrunk to the timing company Longines as an overall title sponsor and the supporter of jumping Nations Cup series. The U.S. company Ariat has a co-branded clothing and footwear agreement with the FEI.

Reem Acra, the New York-based fashion designer that was a longtime sponsor of the dressage World Cup Final and the Western European League qualifying series, was noticeably absent from the opening WEL event in Herning, Denmark last weekend.

Ralph Straus, the FEI representative, was quoted by insidethegames as telling Sportel: “We are governing seven sports, not one. We need to recognize the uniqueness of each sport.”

Some event organizers concerned at the dominance of Longines as a brand that excludes a wide range of other sponsors are broadening their base of supporters for disciplines they exhibit.

According to Ralph, the FEI plans to launch new branding for the seven disciplines next month. He said the sponsorship program for next year’s World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, will be structured by discipline, in the same way as Longines supports jumping.

He did not indicate whether sponsorship at WEG aside from Longines was a result of efforts by the FEI or the American organizers that have revolutionized horse sports and financial support in the Western Hemisphere in dressage, jumping and eventing in Tryon; Wellington, Florida, the Colorado Horse Park and the Central Park Horse Show.