Watch this clip to find out how Paralympic champion Sophie Wells overcame her allergy to horses.
Most medal-winning riders have faced challenges along the way, but few have overcome quite as much as Sophie Wells.
Not only has Sophie overcome a disability to compete in dressage, she is also allergic to horses. Her allergy was so severe when she was younger it brought on asthma attacks and made her eyes stream, until she couldn’t see.
Sophie is the latest special guest on H&C’s popular TV series Rudall Rides With… where she talks to guest presenter Rhi Lee-Jones about her life.
“My parents didn’t like the fact that their seven-year-old child couldn’t see or breathe,” Sophie told Rhi. “I couldn’t see the problem!”
Against the odds
Sophie gave up riding for a while and tried a number of other sports, such as gymnastics and swimming. But, determined as ever, she soon came back to horses.
The plucky young rider competed in all the usual Pony Club activities, but decided to stick to dressage, after a couple of bad falls jumping. Against all odds, Sophie rose to the top of her career in both able-bodied and Paralympic dressage.
Over the years her allergy has eased off, but the 26-year-old still has to manage the condition, as well as dealing with daily pain from her disability.
“I kept exposing myself to horses and gradually I’ve become less allergic,” Sophie explains. “It’s not great when I clip them and my dad does my haynets!