by Molly McCuen Sherard
Curry Sherard is an SDS lifer who has just begun her senior year and has been recognized several times for not only academic achievement, but her incredible performance in horseback riding as well. Curry is also widely known around the Upper School as the President of ASTRA, a girls’ service organization here at the Day School. She is seventeen years old and has recently finished up all of her college applications.
When did you first start horseback riding?
I started riding horses when I was four years old. I began my obsession with the movie “Spirit” (a kid’s movie about a wild mustang). I first started riding at Sovan Hill in Campobello, SC, with Katie Maxwell. I started with one lesson every week, but after about a year I wanted more, so I began taking lessons twice a week. I competed in my first horse show at FENCE in North Carolina when I was six years old, and since then, I’ve been dedicated to the sport.
How many horse shows have you competed in since then?
I’m not totally sure. I would guess that I’ve participated in about 150 horse shows!
How many horses have you owned since you started your career in horseback riding?
I have owned a total of five horses. I didn’t get my first horse/pony until I was eleven years old– eight years after I began riding. My first pony’s name was Lulu. We leased Lulu because at the time I wasn’t tall enough for horses, and my parents knew that I would grow out of riding ponies quickly. We leased her for a year until I was finally tall enough to ride horses! My second horse was named Fancy: a small palomino mare with a white blaze on her face. She was definitely a learning experience for me as she was the first horse I’d ridden that knew her job. Fancy could also be a little bit sassy. One time, I fell off of her and fractured my back! Next, I got a bigger horse named Tux. I won my first important class on Tux, but he soon got injured and I spent months rehabbing him. Now, I have Starter and Harvey. I got Starter when he was young, and so I’m still in the process of increasing his experience, but he’s come quite a long way! I got Harvey in May of this year as a horse who had never really jumped before. After some training, I have realized that Harvey jumps quite naturally.
How often do you go to the barn?
I go to the barn everyday except Monday after school, and in the summer I leave the house around 5:30 in the morning and stay until about 1:00 in the afternoon. I usually ride four to five horses everyday in the summer, and two every day during the school year. The horses have a day off every Monday where they don’t get ridden because of their rigorous training schedule throughout the rest of the week.
How do you balance your extremely competitive sport and your academics?
Since I get home between 7:00 and 8:00, I have to stay up pretty late on weeknights to finish my homework. I keep a very tight schedule not only on the weekdays, but the weekends as well. My life revolves around school and my horses, which leaves very little time for anything else.
What is the highest level of competition that you’ve competed in?
I have been to several national finals these past two years including the U.S. Junior Hunter National, Kentucky National, Pennsylvania National, as well as qualifying for the Washington International Horse Show. All of these horse shows require you to be ranked within the top 30 in the nation, with the most exclusive being top 15.