Lindsay Sceats spends about 30 hours a week with horses — after school and on the weekends.

“My bond with horses is extraordinarily important to me, and my daily hours at the barn are an escape from the pressures of school and the real world,” she said.

Her love for the animals goes back to when she was a toddler, and her mother used a Barbie horse to cajole her into using the potty.

“When I was little I wouldn’t go to the bathroom in the toilet, so my mom got me a Barbie horse and said if I went, I could have the horse,” Sceats said.

Sceats, whose horses are named Cruiser and Puffy, founded the Cheyenne Mountain Equestrian Team at her school three years ago and serves as captain. She ranks eighth nationally out of about 500 in her age group for competitive equestrian.

She sometimes missed school Fridays to compete in horse shows but always came back with her homework done, said one of her teachers, Janie Mueller.

Sceats, 18, has been a counselor at a horse camp for the past three summers, where she helped young and disabled campers learn about basic horse care and riding.

She plans to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become a doctor. Her goal is to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, an international organization that delivers aid in more than 70 countries. Her training with horses, she said, is helping her prepare.

“The balance between horses and school has taught me to be an exceptional manager of time,” she said. “Working with young horses and inexperienced riders has taught me patience in the most trying situations.”