Meet a Member: Carley Sparks


Title: Editor in Chief, Horse Network

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Education: Honours Bachelor of Arts, English Specialist

Business: Horse Network,  a modern digital media company specializing in equestrian sport in North America. It’s fun here!

Years in the Equine Publishing Industry: 20

AHP Member: since 2019


AHP: How did you get involved in equine media and AHP?

CS: I started freelance writing in university. One of my first paid assignments was for Horse Sport magazine. (Write what you know!) I’m a late adopter to AHP.

AHP: What project in equine media are you most proud of and why?

CS: So many! This year, there are two standout contenders: #WeRideTogether and Major League Show Jumping.

#WeRideTogether is a movement, created in collaboration with the Kehring family and Wrigley Media Group to empower youth athletes and prevent sexual misconduct in equestrian sport. These issues plague all sports, as is evident with the recent high profile cases in gymnastics and football. Horse sport is no exception. Our goal with #WeRideTogether is to proactively drive change from within the equestrian community through education, storytelling, and open dialogue. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’re doing in this space. It all started with a story I wrote in 2019, “The Inevitability of Sexual Abuse in Horse Sport,” which won in the 2020 AHP Equine Media Awards.

The other project is Major League Show Jumping. As media partners with The League, we provide shoulder broadcasting around each of the MLSJ events. Equestrian sport, particularly the Olympic disciplines, is challenging for the casual fan to follow. There’s no natural beginning or end to the season. There are several different series running concurrently—Nations Cup, World Cup, Longines Masters, Rolex Grand Slam, Global Champions Tour and League, to name a few. And then there are massive money classes, like the HITS Million, which may or may not be FEI rated. You have to be a superfan to keep track of what’s happening and where. Major League solves those issues. It’s 10 legs of 5* events across North America and features an innovative team format that is tailored to the spectator experience—e.g., it fits into an hour and half broadcast, is dead simple to follow and incredibly exciting to watch. It’s genius! We’ve had a ridiculously fun time working on it.

AHP: What are the biggest benefits of AHP to your organization?

CS: Full disclosure: Horse Network joined for the awards program. We’re fortunate to work with an amazing group of writers, podcast creators, designers, photographers and more. Frankly, most creatives in the horse industry are not being paid enough (our freelancers included). The AHP Equine Media Awards are an opportunity for our creative team to be nationally recognized for their incredible work. We’re grateful to the AHP for the opportunity.

AHP: How do you make the most of your membership?

CS: The press release distribution list has been a valuable tool for sharing both Horse Network news and that of our industry partners. We’ve connected with other members via AHP as well.

AHP: What projects do you have coming up that you’re excited about?

CS: I never reveal my sources or future projects. But I can share we have several in the works that are fun and fulfilling and occasionally will make you cry and/or laugh.