After just a few minutes of talking with SSCCA eighth grader Carly Clark, you come away smiling. Her joy is contagious and her enthusiasm about horses just might make you want to pick up horseback riding as well!
Carly’s experience with horses runs deep. Raised on a farm with a mother who trains horses, Carly has been familiar with these four legged friends since she was a young girl. She explains that her passion for riding horses really began to develop around the age of 7 when she was introduced to Hunters, a form of show jumping. She started showing in local Hunters competitions when she was 8 and by the time she was 12 she was participating in 14 shows a year and even won “Year End Champion” for Howard County’s Training Hunters Division in 2019. Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, Carly and her pony, Barlo, were able to compete in 2020, bringing home their biggest accomplishment yet, “Reserve Champion.”
Carly will tell you that riding horses isn’t just about the elegance and beauty of the sport. She works on the farm daily in the summer, helping her mom. She wakes early to feed, ride and clean the barn, and assists with training inexperienced ponies and then bringing them in for the night. While she shares that it can be frustrating and tiring at times, she has learned a lesson in her young life that we can all benefit from, saying in her upbeat way, hard work and challenges are “how we learn!”
Carly hopes to go to a college with an exceptional equine facility so she can show at the college level and compete at the top of her sport. She has always had a desire to share knowledge, teach, train and help people, which she hopes will one day lead to her having her own business as a horse trainer and instructor. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be watching this dedicated young rider in the Olympics, because we can say for sure she’s not “horsing around” about her sport!