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Amber Leone

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What the Kentucky Derby and Ultimate Fighting Championships Can Teach Us About Marketing

We announced the final four in the 7th Annual EN Blogger Contest, and now we are bringing you their second round submissions. The prompt: "Eventing has been approved for inclusion in the Olympics through 2024 under an altered format, but the sport still faces uphill battles both in the U.S. and abroad. What can we do to make eventing more appetizing, engaging and understandable to the mainstream public? Share your ideas in an interesting, funny, informative and creative way." Take it away, Amber!

It’s time to break out the champagne and horse-shaped balloons, equestrian sports have been approved for inclusion in the Olympic Games up until the year 2024! But with equestrian sports viewership at an all-time low (just search for “least popular Olympic sports”), what can we do to ensure its inclusion in years to come? How can we market ourselves to “outsiders” so the sport we all love doesn’t diminish into nothing? I believe we can start by looking at how others have successfully dealt with similar issues.

Case 1—The Kentucky Derby
Well known as the first race in the Triple Crown, this event attracts equestrian sport enthusiasts and clueless spectators alike. Trademarked by race-goers for its affinity for massive floppy hats, loudly printed dresses and mint juleps. Oh, and horses I guess.

So what is it about the Kentucky Derby that ushers in such large crowds? Is it the booze? (Because we can certainly fix that!) Perhaps the gambling? Is it the unique styling and long-standing traditions? What, if anything, can we borrow from this renowned event to facilitate the broadening of our sport?

Case 2—The Ultimate Fighting Championships
Wait! Don’t close out of your screen quite yet and hear me out. Nothing gets my dear, non-horsey husband quite as excited as a good UFC match up. As you may imagine, this sometimes leads me to know far more about a sport involving two sweaty men (or women) rolling around on a mat together and spitting than I would particularly care to. But I will tell you one thing: the UFC knows how to promote itself.

As entertaining as it is to think about Michael Jung and Lauren Kieffer, fists raised and brows furrowed, squaring off in front of thousands, that’s not exactly what I had in mind. Usually leading up to a big fight, the UFC will air commercials promoting the fight and the fighters themselves. They’ll include a little backstory on each fighter, some clips of previous fights, etc. How cool would it be to see something similar on your favorite eventers? More importantly, how exciting would it be to have your non-horsey friend or loved one half as excited for equestrian sports as you are?

Case 3—My Own Research
In thoroughness, I found and selected two horse sport un-enthusiasts, who have no understanding or interest in anything equestrian related, and sat them down to watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro’s Olympic Gold winning performance. Dressage was chosen due to its historically low viewer ratings (just check out the stands at Rio), and the fact that it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry to the untrained eye.

Their suggestions were as follows:
-Teach a horse to moonwalk
-Do dressage with drunk horses
-Combine jumping and dressage into one
-Play “Bad Day” when someone messes up

So if all else fails, all we need to do is teach our horses to moonwalk. Simple, right?

A Nurse’s Guide to First Aid for Event Riders

We announced the finalists in the 7th Annual EN Blogger Contest, and now we are bringing you their first round submissions. Leave your feedback in the comments, and please offer your encouragement and support to the finalists! We hope you enjoy their creativity, insight and love of the sport.

The trusty first-aid kit. Photo by Kevin Deacon/Creative Commons.

The trusty first-aid kit. While no eventing trailer seems complete without it, many have no desire to crack into theirs until disaster strikes. But knowing the contents, or better yet building your own, can ensure proper action when necessary. Most kits contain the same basics: gauze, Band-Aids, tweezers. But adding these not-frequently thought of items can take your kit to the next level.

Benadryl/diphenhydramine

This allergy pill turned night-time sleep aid may seem like an odd choice for the top of the list, but its uses are nearly endless. For one, who doesn’t need a little sedative to lull you to sleep despite the pre-show jitters? Bonus, the resulting next day hangover will make you incapable of feeling anxious, or anything other than drowsy realistically.

But more seriously, the antihistamine effects of this medication will help relieve the itching and swelling caused by pesky bug bites. It’s also pretty handy when the rogue Pony Clubber two trailers down decides to try a handful of their friend’s peanuts for the first time. Please note, Benadryl is not a substitute for an epinephrine injection. So if the phrases “throat tightness” or “tongue swelling” get tossed around, someone better call 911.

Tylenol/acetaminophen

Hopefully pretty self-explanatory. This mild pain reliever is great for the stress-related headaches normally associated with scenarios such as: flat trailer tire, doing a face-plant in warm-up, injury-faking horses, pulled shoes, etc.

Pepto-Bismol/bismuth subsalicylate

So you ate some questionable crab cakes (not recommended) from the only food truck available at the grounds, and now can’t help but fantasize about amenities such as flushing toilets and running water with soap. But never fear, relief is a somewhat unpleasant swallow/chew away. Pepto comes conveniently in chewable tablet form, which is ideal for first-aid packs. If your own self-loathing compels you to enjoy warm, separated, chalky pink goo, feel free to buy the liquid form instead.

Instant heat/ice packs

These single-use packs are activated by bursting the bag inside and kneading the chemicals to create either a heat or cold pack nearly instantaneously. The heat packs are useful for muscle strain type injuries, while the cold packs are useful for achy, swollen joints. Additionally, the cold packs can be used when you’ve overdone yourself on blistering hot days. Simply place the cold pack along the carotid arteries on the side of the neck for near instant relief from heat exhaustion.

Bottled water

While guzzling air-temperature water isn’t ideal, it’s often still appreciated when it’s the only option. Save yourself the annoyance of being thirsty and waterless by packing a bottle or two in your kit.

Tampons

This is a woman’s world after all (sorry guys). Inevitably you (or someone you know) will find yourself in your favorite white breeches when you get an unexpected visit from our most beloved Aunt.

Vet wrap

Yes, there is a human version. But it’s twice as expensive and only comes in one color, beige. And who would choose boring beige when purple zebra print is an option?

Amber Leone spent her formative years kicking and clucking her stubborn Appaloosa mare to near breakneck speeds, before taking a break from the horse world in her early teens to focus on school and boys. She rediscovered her obsession shortly following college, much to the dismay of her blind-sided husband.