Eagles, horses and my double life

Mary+Lynes+Sutton+with+RWCC+Camelot%E2%80%99s+Riding+out+the+Storm+%28Stormy%29+at+the+2018+World+Championship+Horse+Show

Mary Lynes Sutton with RWCC Camelot’s Riding out the Storm (Stormy) at the 2018 World Championship Horse Show

I go to school in Macon, my family lives in Macon, my friends live in Macon, but I don’t really live full time in Macon. If you know one thing about me, it’s probably that I’m an equestrian. I am a United Professional Horsemen’s Association Equestrian and spend a great amount of time traveling around the country for horse shows and training at my barn in Indiana.

This past summer, I spent more time training in Indiana than I did in Macon. That, combined with being out of town for horse shows, I was barely in Macon at all. Throughout the school year, it’s a little harder to find time to go, but I’ve made it work by taking advantage of every three-day weekends and weeks where not a lot is happening to go out of town.

Spending so much of my time away from my home to be somewhere else almost makes me feel as if I’m living a double life. In Indiana, I have a beautiful house that I live in with my other “parents,” “big sister” and “big brother.” I also have a whole other group of best friends that are in the exact same situation, and I get to be with them anytime I’m doing horse stuff. So, I have a whole other life there.

One thing that I can’t have a duplicate of is school. Sadly, I can’t pick up and take Stratford with me wherever I go. ”

— Mary Lynes Sutton

Since I obviously attend school full-time, academics is the hardest part about what I do. I have been traveling for horse shows since first grade, and every year it has gotten more and more intense.

The fact that Stratford got to grow with me through my career has been super helpful. The faculty has watched me grow from a pre-schooler who just really loved horses into a senior who is the Reserve World Champion of Champions. They understand how serious what I do is and are super understanding about my absences.

Although the teachers have been there to help me catch up when I needed it, I do just about all of the assignments I am missing by myself while I’m traveling. Therefore, my teachers aren’t able to teach and help me like normal. I definitely have had to learn how to teach things to myself. Although I’d like to say I’ve gotten pretty good at it, it is still something that is super hard to do. I remember sitting in an airport one day trying to understand hydrogen bonding and london forces, and I just started crying from frustration. It definitely takes a lot of focus and determination to be both the teacher and the student but I didn’t really have a choice.

Because I’m out of town so much, I also miss out on a lot of events. I have had to miss tons of parties, dinners, and time hanging out with my friends. I also haven’t been to Eagle Night since lower school because I’m always at World’s during it. I didn’t get to go to the retreat my freshman year because I was at a horse show. It stinks having to miss out on these things but I’m always having a ton of fun with my “horse friends”, so it’s not that bad.

Being an equestrian in high school has made my high school experience very abnormal compared to the average high school. I’m not only stressed out about my “Macon life” but also “horse life” that is ultimately my career. I have a lot more pressure on me than the average teen-age but I also have a lot more fun, in my opinion. And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.