Photo courtesy of Susan Stickle
Sandra Cohen is a morning person. By 6:30 a.m., she can be found in her home office, sipping coffee, sending emails, and responding to clients. An early start helps the Ohio native, now Ardsley resident, manage her busy lifestyle. Cohen is a founding partner of Cohen & Buckmann law firm, where she is an executive compensation attorney. Her knowledge of employment law, employee benefits and pensions, contracts, and mergers and acquisitions has positioned her to be a powerhouse in her field, and her dedicated nature transcends her professional career.
The recently appointed professor of law at NYU School of Law is a mom of two and an equestrian who competes in dressage. A rider when she was a child, Cohen hadn’t ridden for roughly 15 years before she picked it up again. About five years ago, in her late 40s, she decided to commit herself to competing in the sport.
“Horses are more than a hobby. [They’re] a passion,” Cohen says. “Dressage is suitable for type-A people who like to multitask, like lawyers. As a lawyer, I’m a thinker, and riding is a little bit like moving meditation. You really can only think about this 1,200-pound animal that you are communicating with and not distractions from the office.” She explains that dressage “creates a beautiful partnership with the horse that looks invisible.” Advanced dressage riders, she says, “make it look easy, like they’re almost doing nothing, but we know that’s not the case. It’s a very challenging sport.”
Cohen typically rides four times a week and says her clients and employees are understanding: “Sometimes I’m taking their calls from the back of a horse or maybe on my way to and from the barn, so I try to stay as available as possible. We can work remotely from our phones wherever we are, even from a horse show.” Cohen, who competes at roughly six or seven shows a year, competed in the U.S. Finals this past November, placing fifth with her 8-year-old Dutch warmblood, Grace Jones, in the Third Level Musical Freestyle Championships.
“Horses are more than a hobby. [They’re] a passion.”
Competition is a family affair. Cohen’s husband, Alan, is a cyclist and a former triathlete, and her children are competitive freestyle skiers. “My barn time happens when they’re on the mountain. I really enjoy spending time on the sidelines at my kids’ sporting events. I am a wrestling mom and a football mom,” she notes. Regarding the many hats she wears, she explains that “there are imbalances, and that’s part of the fun and the challenge and the frustrations of juggling a career, a passionate hobby, and a family, but I think I’m holding it all together.
“I hope to keep riding long into my 80s and do a century-ride,” Cohen continues. “In dressage, they have a special award if the age of the rider and the age of the horse add up to 100. But that’s a long way off [laughs].”