Beyond the Law: Carolyn Clark

Clark and her companion. Photo provided.

Beyond the Law is a Forum series spotlighting the cool things Vermont Law School students do outside the classroom.

By Carolyn Clark, Forum Contributor

I don’t remember the first time I rode a horse; it was before my memories ever began. There was never a time when I didn’t have a horse in my backyard. My mom had grown up riding horses and it was her dream come true to own her own farm. By the time I was five, I was already showing my pony at the County Fair. I loved every second I spent with the horses; but one horse was always my favorite—Finesse.

It was my ninth birthday and I received the best present I ever will, my own horse. I’ve never been happier than I was that day. We bought him from my neighbor, which where I’m from means they lived about a mile away. My parents allowed me to walk Finesse home. It’s one of my favorite memories. Finesse was my best friend. I swear he knew me better than any human ever could.

Many people don’t understand the bond a rider has with their horse. It’s different from a bond between a pet and their owner. You have to trust them with your life. They take care of you just as much as you take care of them.

The best part about riding horses is that there are so many different variations of riding: English, Western, Dressage, Bareback, and many more. I showed in English, Western, and Bareback. My favorite class was always a jumping class. There’s something almost magical about soaring over the jumps. It creates a freeing feeling and you forget that there are other people around. For a minute, it’s just you and your horse. You forget about everything else in the world. It’s ironic that something that can be very dangerous is also so calming. Jumping competitively requires a lot of practice and hard work, from both the rider and the horse. But as soon as you get in the ring and start the course, every minute work pays off.

Not only would I show my horse, but I also used to go trail riding. I loved it. There are two-tracks in the woods behind my house and my horse and I could wander for hours back there. He knew the terrain just as well as I did, if not better. We would roam around the forest and he always knew the way back home. Sometimes, I would not even direct Finesse the entire ride and just see where he would take me. Other times, we would meet up with our neighbors to go trail riding with them.

Trail riding is one of the most peaceful experiences. It’s just you, your horse, and nature. You notice more things than you would if you were just hiking because your horse notices more. Horses will twitch their ears certain ways, and each twitch means something different. You can tell when another animal is around because the horse’s ears will perk straight up, or if the animal is a potential danger, or an unknown smell to the horse their ears will flip backwards. It’s such an amazing experience to ride a horse on trails and learn about the beauty and nature surrounding you from the horse.

I am forever thankful for my mom introducing me to horseback riding. It has brought me so much joy in life, whether it be competing or leisurely riding around the woods. Riding gave me the best friend I will ever have, my horse Finesse. The bond that we shared is irreplaceable. Every horse and rider has their unique bond that makes their relationship special. I think that horses end up taking care of you more than you take care of them. I may not remember the first time I ever rode a horse, but I don’t need to because I will always remember the feeling I get when I’m riding—pure happiness.

Have a hobby you’d like to share? Contact Lifestyle Editor Blake Weinard at

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