A sport marketing manager
Volker Wulff is a sport marketing manager well known in all the equestrian world.
Leipzig, Munich and Hamburg in Germany are just some of the most important international competitions in the world of show jumping. The Hamburg Derby, traditionally one of the most coveted and esteemed events on the international circuit, gathers around him a crowd of 75,000 spectators. ‘Father’ of all this great international events is Volker Wulff, manager of En Garde, a full-service agency in the range of sport marketing with twenty permanent workers and a variable number of freelance collaborators. His story is really interesting and particular…:
"I was born into a family of horsemen in Northern Germany. I started riding when I was very young although just for the joy of it and I competed in competitions up to 1.40. My business was agriculture. Originally I intended to be a calf breeder in South America! In the end, though, I stayed in Germany and I have always kept in touch with the world of horses. I met people who were working in the Federation and that way I started to work weekends, organising auctions and events within the international competitions. I worked a lot, what with my business and that of the competitions. Meanwhile I started to be approached by the big sponsors within the equestrian sport. In 1994 I organised my first German show jumping Championship. The world of horses was starting to feel my presence. I also dealt with marketing for other sports, for events and trade fairs but horses have always been my passion, it's the world I belong to and the one that gives me the greatest satisfaction. In 1997 I organised the competitions of Leipzig and Munich that today are two of the most important events in the world. Then I followed the competitions of Hamburg, Padernboorn, the Bundeschampionat in Varendorf and outside Germany, in Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi and the FEI World Cup China League.
Of all the competitions, my favourites are the Leipzig World Cup, indoor, and the Hamburg CSI3*”.
Volker Wulff closely follows the world equestrian situation and a wide and comprehensive vision is evolving.
"The most important equestrian circuits are the FEI World Cup and the Global Champions Tour. Years ago horse riding was only in Europe and America but now there are competitions all over the world. This is great news for the business and for the sponsors however the horses have many commitments and travel throughout the year. The horses take part in 15 to 20 competitions in any one year ... this is not a good thing for them. All this however depends on the management of the horses. Riders who enjoy a good management team know how to plan and manage the commitments of the horses correctly and on the basis of concrete objectives are able to extend their career over the years and keep them healthy. There are many horses at top level worldwide that have a long career. The choice of competition is also crucial. The structures that accommodate the horses need to offer the best. The success of a competition lies in team work. The figure of the field director who understands the pairings, the structure and the terrain is very important. On the basis of all the information, he understands the circuits that are suited to the level of the pairing and of the event.
Whilst it is true that horses have a very busy schedule, on the other hand the industry has evolved technically and there is a lot more focus on the horses and on their welfare. Just think that the Aachen Grand Prix would have been impossible 20 years ago! The circuits were huge and the horses were attempting several jump-offs on the same day. Now the entire world is more sensitive towards animals and the environment and the same goes for our sport. Many commitments but also a higher level of welfare.
The satisfactions of Volker Wulff..."I love being with people and with horses. I never get bored. I'm always looking forward, it is important never to stop, to look ahead, to continue to improve, to look at what the others are doing and not to be satisfied with the result obtained. Each competition is an event that involves many aspects, it's not just a race. It's the welcome, the setting, the catering. People should feel comfortable and at ease, they should be enjoying themselves and feel a tinge of sadness when the event is over and want to return again in future. I've been doing this work for 25 years. Over many years I have built some solid relationships, I have excellent relations with the people and I accept suggestions from everyone. Many riders are also my friends. What's more, it's easy to have so many friends all over the world in this sport because a love for horses is what we have in common and it is our life".