‘I only meant to defer uni for a year’: the show producer who nearly took a very different path

Over this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the equestrian disciplines. These are people you really need to keep an eye out for during the 2024 season…

  • Sophie Curry nearly pursued a career in accounting, but a change of heart in 2013 has meant the now 27-year-old has forged a path for herself in showing.

    Sophie first forayed into showing as a child, inspired by her parents, Adrian and Karen Curry.

    “My sister and I developed Mum and Dad’s passion for equestrianism at a young age,” confirms Sophie Curry. “We began by participating in local shows on lead rein and gradually progressed to county shows after years of dedicated lessons and practice. Both parents are still a massive help and a credit to the team today.”

    Over the years Sophie has developed successful partnerships with a number of show animals, but one who stands out is Noble Star (Flame), a 15hh show hunter pony who won at the NEC as both a hunter pony and as an intermediate. The Currys bought him as a four-year-old.

    “He was our pinnacle and he made all of our dreams come true,” says Sophie. “He qualified for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and Royal International (RIHS) for 10 consecutive years, securing wins at Royal Windsor and the RIHS twice. Both my sister and I won at HOYS with him. He’s now 20 and he’s retired, still living at home.”

    When asked how she decided to take the plunge into show production Sophie said that it was after a bumper year when the 13hh show hunter pony Parkhill Ronaldo won the RIHS and Flame won HOYS.

    “Ronaldo was the first pony I had in for production, for his rider Phoebe Thomas,” says Sophie, who had intended to go to university to study accounting but deferred a year after her mega run in 2013. “I was only meant to defer studying for a year, but a decade later I’m still here as dedicated to the path as ever!”

    Sophie credits one of her most significant achievements as winning the Welsh section D ridden supreme at the Royal Welsh, which is her local show, aboard the big-moving mare Brynfforest Anwen.

    “It was a remarkable moment,” she recalls. “Watching the owner’s dreams materialise on home turf made that victory incredibly meaningful. I had a goal to win the cobs at the show, and to take the championship was the icing on the cake.”

    Sophie also won the show leading Jessie Evans and Danash Polly’s Promise to the HOYS mini M&M title two years ago.

    “The natives are of such quality at the Royal Welsh, and as mountain and moorlands are not really my speciality, to win there was very special,” Sophie says.

    Currently, Sophie is based on a racing yard in Cowbridge: “We have some exceptional facilities that cater to every aspect of the horses’ needs. I have around 15 horses and ponies, from lead reins to hunters. We have two brilliant part-time staff members and my parents are a massive part of the team; Dad does the driving and Mum does most of the prep at home. It’s a total team effort.”

    Sophie has also enjoyed some success in horse classes in recent years, including with the lightly shown lightweight hunter Redwood Surprise, placed at HOYS on both of his appearances, and with the now retired heavyweight Patric’s Choice.

    Looking ahead to 2024 and Sophie has come exciting plans in the pipeline: “I’m thrilled about my team of novices on the horizon. We have Megan Davies’ 15hh show hunter pony Poldark who I am particularly excited about. The novices are my favourite and I absolutely love working with them. My primary goal, though, is to help more clients achieve their dreams, which is the best part of my job.

    “It’s not an easy career,” Sophie adds. “But I’ve done everything I could want to do and more, so it’s now time to make other people’s dreams come true, whether that’s qualify for HOYS, have their first win or simply get into the ring and do a good performance; you can’t bottle the feeling some of those moments give you. Watching the children in the ring is absolutely magical, and seeing a child progress and achieve is absolutely why I do it.”

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