Sponsors are one of the heavy horse community's most important assets. Many draft horse events would fold without sponsorship, for a lack of funding. It is essential that draft horse breeders and draft horse exhibitors recognize this.
Exhibitors, in particular, need to thank event sponsors. In the heat of competition and/or the flush of victory, exhibitors often forget to express words of thanks to a sponsor. Never overlook personal thanks. It is important to you and to your future success. You can deliver thanks in one of two ways.
Express thanks verbally. The effort taken, helps to ensure continued sponsor support. To ensure your thanks is remembered, mail the sponsor a note or card following your win. Don't be an exhibitor that grabs his prize money and runs. Far too often exhibitors, younger exhibitors in particular, forget to express their thanks. Correct exhibitor behaviour is rewarded. Continued sponsorship depends on it.
Ensure sponsors, minor and major, receive thanks. Invite sponsors to join class winners for a photograph of a class winner. Following the event, mail the photograph to the class sponsor, with your note of thanks. Sponsors should receive a gate pass. If possible, a parking pass and a parking space will be appreciated. It is important that sponsors know when and where their class is held. If management welcomes sponsors, if officials offer sponsors rightful recognition, and if exhibitors express sincere thanks, chances are, their sponsorship will continue.
Win, place or show, or stood last in class, it is important that exhibitors are sportsmen. Nothing will sour sponsors faster than an exhibitor who makes a scene. Sponsors often bring their family, friends and business associates to draft horse events. The foul language of an exhibitor will embarrass sponsors, as will those exhibitors who are poor sports. Sponsors are easily turned off. Officials, fellow exhibitors and ringside spectators, who could be potential buyers or clients, are also turned off. Sponsors support successful events. They will withdraw their sponsorship from events that experience problems.
Management should refuse entries received from exhibitors, whose language has been coloured and whose actions in the past have been unacceptable. Everyone needs to do their part, to ensure the sponsors and spectators at an event are never embarrassed. One rotten apple can destroy a barrel of good apples.
Major sponsors should be recognized in event advertisements. Their name should appear in the program and on the those signs displayed at the event. Draft horse shows, in particular, have an ace in hand. Unlike sponsors that support the arts, athletics, etc., they can be involved. When a performance class concludes, invite the sponsor to join a teamster on his victory drive. It is important that ringmasters ensure major sponsors have an impressive victory ride. Class winners should circle the show ring, at least once, before they pass down victory lane. It is important that sponsors, as well as exhibitors, receive recognition by the event's announcer.
In short, event sponsors, major and minor, should receive every consideration. Management, officials and exhibitors need to be courteous, friendly and take time to express their appreciation. At least this is how I see it.