Digital seminars for the core equestrian community were held on 11 and 13 October. The objectives were to highlight the best practices in the management and activation of social media platforms to help athletes, National Federations, and equestrian professionals increase their digital audiences and broaden communication.

Two sets of seminars were held over two separate days. The first one was tailored to the needs of international athletes, grooms, and their support teams whereas the second one was open to National Federations (NFs) Secretary Generals, media managers and individuals within the NFs and Continental Associations involved in communication and/or the management of digital channels.

In her opening statement, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez emphasised the importance of the use of digital platforms by athletes to build their personal brand, grow their fan base, enhance their business dealings, and ultimately attract sponsors. The Secretary General introduced the various topics, which were discussed during the seminars including best practices on content creation, effective use of digital channels, strategies to increase fan base and engagement, and opportunities for further collaboration with the FEI and other stakeholder groups.

The seminars featured presentations by FEI staff in charge of social media along with experts such as Chris Sellers, Commercial Director at Socialie; Thibault Philippaerts, international athlete from Belgium, team champion and individual silver medallist at this summer’s FEI Jumping European Championship for Young Riders; and Michael Richter, Head of Channel Management at Athletia Sports. Presentations on best practices for NFs were made by representatives of the German Equestrian Federation and USEF.

Over 220 attendees took part in the seminars. The participants were really pleased with the quality of information and exchanges provided.

“The seminar was very interesting, it was a very good idea to hear from different professionals and share varied points of view,” Gala Planas, deputy general manager for Spanish Dressage rider Beatriz Ferrer-Salat commented. “I was happy with the initiative and hope to benefit more in the future.”

“The FEI Digital Seminar was very informative and I am excited to learn and explore more about the partnership with Socialie and the FEI,” Christie Hanson, FEI groom, social media manager and coach for her daughter Maren Elise Fouché-Hanson (USA), who is also an FEI Junior rider, said. “The content provided through those sources from photographers/videographers will make it much easier to share. I am grateful to the FEI for offering to support the riders with personal assistance developing their content and branding and showing them how to bring our sport to a wider audience and attract sponsorships.”

“It was a very nice opportunity to hear each presentation and approach to social media which is sometimes left behind in our daily tasks,” Satomi Asaeda from the Japanese Equestrian Federation said. “It was interesting to learn about the approach of the FEI and the German Equestrian Federation and how they work as a team. I was surprised that they reply to all the comments! Thank you also for the introduction to Socialie, which was new to us.”

All the presentations and video recordings of the sessions are available on the FEI website here.