Sally Clark (née Dalrymple) grew up in the Rangitikei where she was educated at Nga Tawa Girls' School before completing her Diploma in Physical Education in 1979. After teaching and an overseas trip, she returned to complete a Master of Business Studies at Massey University in 1992.
In the equestrian sport of three-day eventing in which New Zealand has had outstanding international success, Sally became one of New Zealand's finest riders. In 1989 she got her horse, Squirrel Hill, and turned him into a champion. They finished fourth in the individual section when New Zealand beat Australia in the 1991 Trans-Tasman Trophy, and represented New Zealand at the 1994 world championships.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Sally scored well in the dressage, had few penalty points in the gruelling cross-country, and went clear in the show jumping to gain a brilliant silver medal behind countryman Blyth Tait on Ready Teddy. Sally also finished sixth at Badminton in 1997 and was part of the world champion New Zealand team in 1998. A finalist for New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year in 1996, she was a member of the New Zealand Sports Team of the Year in 1998.