Three decades ago communicators had already grasped the importance of storytelling. That’s to say a method of communication based on a narrative structure which we find in stories and tales: namely that a story is ultimately memorised which, in turn, fuels a dream and the need to project this. As we already know, racing has always been the object of fantasy – both positive and negative – for the general public. This also applies to those who work in the horse sector.
The big stables are the lifeblood of our sector both in economic and sporting terms. They fuel this by buying horses and the services which go with it, and also in terms of unlocking sponsorship deals and paying salaries. Every top owner harbours big ambitions which goes hand in hand with considerable financial muscle. However, in storytelling terms, it’s difficult for the man in the street to readily identify with them (and therefore to embark on the dream). On the other hand, the story of Messi (Dahess) readily captures the imagination of anyone who loves horses and competition.
The pitch – to draw on a term employed by communicators! – is very simple. Timo Keersmaekers, the breeder and owner of this horse, is a company director who finds himself with time on his hands after the Covid-19 crisis sends the world economy into a tailspin. He subsequently takes charge of Messi again, and the horse’s previous trainers hadn’t worked any miracles with him. However, against the backdrop of tapping into the means available and from “his home base”, the eight-year-old established himself as one of the world’s finest: as his second in the Qatar Arabian World Cup (Gr1 PA) was followed by victory in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (Gr1 PA). The image is a striking one as it must be a long time since a permit holder with just one horse in his care won a Gr1 flat race on the flat. It could almost certainly be a first.
So what an opportunity in terms of communication! As Timo Keersmaekers and his family started to live their passion in the show jumping and show horse sectors. This provides an exceptionally strong message that can be extended to the entire PA community: racing opens its doors to everyone, and so join us! The icing on the cake is that the Belgian breeder, trainer and owner is a natural in front of a camera. To appreciate this fully please watch the interview with Dubai Ring by clicking https://youtu.be/QYzvhRG2fJI.
Moreover, the example of Timo Keersmaekers isn’t a rarity. As in the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, Messi accounted for Al Zahir (Madjani). The triple Gr1 PA winner was bred by Xavière Cauhape, who has been involved in show jumping and equestrian sports. That’s another great story line!
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