Biography

Sally Clark  Born 1958

Sally Clark rose to national prominence when she rode Squirrel Hill to a silver medal (behind Blyth Tait on Ready Teddy) in the 1996 Olympic individual three-day event. Two years later she was a member of the New Zealand team that won the world title at Rome.

While Clark’s most notable successes came while riding Squirrel Hill, she had a long and distinguished equestrian career behind her before that.

Sally Dalrymple was born in 1958 and educated at Rangitikei and Nga Tawa Girls’ School. Her mother, Pat, was a nationally-ranked rider who passed on that love of horses to her daughters Sally and Katherin.

After studying physical education at Otago University, Sally did a spell of teaching, then headed overseas. On her return she did an MA in business studies at Massey University, majoring in rural valuation.

In 1987, she was a member of the New Zealand team that contested the trans-Tasman Trophy. The following year, she was short-listed for the Seoul Olympic team, but her horse, Sky Command, died.

She acquired Squirrel Hill at the end of 1989 and turned him into a champion. They finished fourth in the individual section while helping New Zealand beat Australia in the 1991 trans-Tasman Trophy contest at Gawler.

Clark was chosen in the New Zealand squad for the 1994 world championships at The Hague, but did not produce her best form.

Her campaign to get to the 1996 Olympics – she based herself in the United States in the lead-up to the Games - was part-funded by Heinz and she got to know well Tony O’Reilly, the Irishman who headed Heinz, though he was better known to New Zealanders as the brilliant winger in the 1959 Lions team to New Zealand.

At Atlanta, Clark scored 51.20 in the dressage and just 9.20 in the gruelling cross-country section. When she went clear in the show-jumping it meant that the only person who could deprive her of the gold medal was countryman Blyth Tait, who duly had the perfect round. Tait finished with 56.80 points, and Clark with 60.40, and after them there was a large gap to third-placed American Kerry Millikin.

Clark continued with Squirrel Hill at top-level after the Olympics, finishing sixth at Badminton in 1997 and being part of the world champion New Zealand team the following year.

In 1994, she married AJ, who farmed near Feilding. Clark now lives with Seoul Olympics equestrian team member Maurice Beatson, and together in Dannevirke they continue to ride and prepare horses with a further view to international representation.