Oct 27, 2017
Because of Horses’ guest this week, Sue Weakley, solved this mystery in her own life through a years-long process that took her in unexpected directions, but that led her to become the prolific equestrian reporter and photographer she is today.
Sue has made a name for herself by sharing the human-interest side of international dressage competition and has been published in the likes of EQUUS, Practical Horseman, The Chronicle of the Horse, Dressage Today, and EQ Living. The competitors Sue reports on and photographs are international athletes at the highest echelon of the sport — horse people’s A-list celebrities.
Although Sue loved horses as a child, her initial career had nothing to do with them. After college, she became a dental hygienist and the same instincts for connecting with others that would serve her so well as a reporter, made for a more pleasant trip to the dental office for her patients. Through a circuitous path, she realized there was more to this instinct and her own interests, and began exploring options through volunteering and trying new things. This is when Sue’s curiosity about others, her love of writing, and her lifelong love of learning came together. So she went back to school, earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Journalism, and then going on to teach Journalism at Ole Miss – the University of Mississippi.
Sue ultimately decided to report on the passion she had maintained throughout her life – horses. So she left Ole Miss and went to Wellington, Florida, where the world’s finest dressage equestrians compete. By telling their stories with a warm, human-interest perspective, Sue has earned her place among the athletes she covers. And she’s never looked back.
Topic of Discussion:
[1:50] Elise asks Sue if she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life early on. Sue answers and speaks about her background.
[5:45] Sue’s love of horses
[7:05] Her first experience with her first horse
[7:43] Sue’s riding lessons, traveling to Portugal with her instructor, and her path to writing about and photographing equestrians
[11:16] Learning from the best and an explanation on dressage freestyle
[13:49] The figurative army that keeps the two athletes, horse and rider,performing at their peak capabilities
[15:00] Sue’s specialty in her job: finding the “human” in the story
[15:56] Professional riders, they’re just like us! Sue’s funny stories on dressage riders
[19:15] Sue’s love and passion for what she does
[19:57] Sue’s respect for the privacy of famous riders and what they’re like to talk with
[24:41] What Sue strives to achieve through her reporting
[26:41] The path her career has taken and her passion for writing
[27:38] The hard parts about having a job that is your own business
[29:08] Starting to become known as the one who writes readable, “real” stories
[29:45] Teaching journalism at Ole Miss and helping her students’ search to find a path in life
[31:41] The generational aspects of basing your career around your passion, job satisfaction, and the difficulties of obtaining a job nowadays
[34:18] Where does it all start? Figuring out what you love doing and determining if your passion can be your job
[35:25] The leaps and bounds Sue took to get where she is today
[37:37] Sue’s passion for traveling and her fascination with learning about other people’s cultures and perspectives
[38:27] Storytelling with photography — Sue’s favorite part
[41:07] About the stunning photograph featured on the homepage of
[42:43] Her enthusiasm for traveling and photographing new events
[43:55] Helping the next generation: Sue’s Study Abroad Scholarship at Ole Miss
[45:05] Sue’s advice for people who are trying to decide what they would like to do in life
[46:30] Sue’s thoughts on the horses she has photographed in Cuba and learning to see things through a different filter
[47:44] Where to find Sue online
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Discover More About this Week’s Guest — Sue Weakley
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