Without sponsors, there would be no horse shows, showjumping fixtures, dressage competitions, three-day events, race meetings or anything else. So we value our sponsors and are grateful to them. But supposing classes were sponsored by the companies with which they have most affinity? We offer some tongue-in-cheek suggestions…
Show ponies: Pretty Polly, of course. The famous hosiery company not only shares its name with one of the most famous show ponies of all time, but also values highly an impressive pair of pins. Two pairs, in the show pony’s case.
Mini show ponies: My Little Pony, what else? Although given the amount of makeup some people put on them, maybe it’s Maybelline…
Working hunter ponies: how about Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream? Workers tend to be on the chunkier side and I bet everyone has had a working hunter pony that’s been a bit of a monkey — endearingly so, in the main.
Native breeds: it would have to be the candy brand M&M’s. Not only is M&M a popular short form for mountain and moorland ponies, but many of our hardy native breeds have a tough exterior hiding sweetness within.
Coloured: Dulux. The company’s slogan is “let’s colour” and, given the popularity these days of coloured horses and ponies, it seems the horse world is taking that advice to the letter. Plus the fact that the glorious traditional types, with all their wonderfully abundant hair, bear more than a passing resemblance to the Dulux dog.
Hunters: who better than the iconic Hunter wellies? The famous brand has recently launched its “Field” label aimed at the country set, and it makes children’s sizes too, so could sponsor the show hunter ponies too. Imagine the commentator at Horse of the Year Show announcing the Hunter hunter champion!
Cobs: Sofa Workshop. A former colleague, who is more of a dressage buff than a showing aficionado, witnessed the heavyweight cobs thundering down the ringside at a prestigious show and pronounced them “flying sofas”. It was said with admiration and, let’s face it, they’re built more for comfort than for speed.
Hacks: luxury clothing brand Hackett seems the obvious one. The elegance of the show hack deserves a well-turned out rider.
As every showing competitor will tell you, once you’ve paid for entry fees, levies, badges for owners, fuel, rugs, feed, supplements, bedding, vets and farriers bills, there’s very little cash left over. So maybe moneysupermarket.com should sponsor the whole lot…