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Press Release


Ariel Weisman, Chip McKenney, Mason Phelps, Jr., and Marty Bauman

Mason Phelps, Jr., Diane Creech, David Marcus and Karen Pavicic

Ariel Weisman of Alltech

Desi Dillingham, MBE, welcomes participants as Mason Phelps, Jr., Marty Bauman, Ariel Weisman, and Chip McKenney look on

Attendees laugh during the mock press conference


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Canadian Dressage Athletes Benefit from Media Training Sponsored by

Written by: Mary Adelaide Brakenridge and Sue Weakley
Release Date: 2014-01-21

Wellington, FL - January 21, 2014 - Athletes and media experts gathered at The Wanderers Club Monday night for “Branding, Marketing and Media Training,” sponsored by, to kick off Dressage Canada’s Florida Fortnight Event. 

The evening included presentations by Marty Bauman, founder of Classic Communications; Chip McKenney, Chief Operations Officer at Troika Design Group; and Ariel Weisman, North America Equine Marketing Coordinator at Alltech. Mason Phelps, Jr., founder and president of Phelps Media Group and, moderated the event.

Desi Dillingham, MBE, Special Advisor to Dressage Canada, welcomed attendees and introduced the speakers.

“We all have to protect our sport and ourselves, and that’s what this evening is all about,” she said.

Bauman led off the presentations with tips on how to handle interviews and media relations. He kept the audience laughing with personal stories from his 35 years in equestrian public relations.

Weisman spoke about brand alignment and Alltech’s presence in sponsoring equine sports, including the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014 in Normandy, France. She encouraged those present to act as ambassadors for Alltech and explained that Alltech sees the World Equestrian Games as an opportunity to showcase how nutrition affects peak performance.

McKenney gave an engaging presentation on branding, drawing on examples of leading brands to show how they define themselves and tell their stories. He encouraged participants to maximize their presence by thinking bigger and personalizing their stories to the media.

A mock press conference followed with Canadian dressage athletes Diane Creech, David Marcus and Karen Pavicic providing answers to tough questions posed by the presenters and team members. Attendees jumped in with questions as well. The panel provided feedback after each answer to help the athletes hone their skills.

“It was a great experience,” said Chris Von Martels, a Grand Prix competitor for Canada. “We are busy training to improve our riding, but we don’t have the opportunity to improve our external resources. It was really nice to have this learning experience.”

Young Rider Tanya Strasser Shostak agreed. “I appreciated the experience. All these knowledgeable people gave us great information about how to deal with difficult situations with the media, especially equestrian media.”

Olympic athlete Jacqueline Brooks brought some up-and-coming young riders to the event and said it gave them an advantage.

“Mason [Phelps, Jr.] did an amazing job putting that panel together,” she said. “You can’t have better experts in each field. It was really, really fantastic. The little tricks they gave us can help us stay focused and the affirmation that we were doing some things right was really great, too.” 

A Florida Fortnight Kick-off Party sponsored by capped off the evening. Athletes, judges, and members of the media mingled while hashing out the finer points of what they had just learned.

Brooks said she promoted the first Florida Fortnight event and is encouraging attendance to all the events.

“The point in this whole Fortnight is that there are a lot of different sessions that apply to everyone,” she explained. “Anyone in Wellington who is competing should take advantage of this. It’s great for our sport.”

The Dressage Canada Florida Fortnight Event will continue with presentations by equine health practitioners, a CDI-W with headphone commentary provided by top equestrian experts, equine and human sports nutrition and more. A full schedule of events is available here.

Check out for the latest news from the dressage world, including beautiful photographs that showcase the sport. Recent stories include coverage of major competitions, clinic reports with insights from the likes of Steffen Peters, Scott Hassler, Debbie McDonald and Robert Dover; and a profile of an unusually-colored horse succeeding at the FEI level.

Click here to learn more about Marty Bauman and Classic Communications. Visit Troika Design Group's website here.

Founded in 1980 by Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech improves the health and performance of people, animals and plants through natural nutrition and scientific innovation. With more than 3,000 employees in 128 countries, the company has developed a strong regional presence in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. For further information, visit For media assets, visit Visit Alltech on Facebook at    

Alltech is the proud title sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy. For more information about these prestigious global championships, visit


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