Whitney Lagace and Colton LaSusa Form New Training Partnership
Legendary NBA basketball player, Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
Winning championships is exactly what Colton LaSusa and Whitney Lagace are setting their sights on as they join training forces to create LaSusa Lagace, LLC. Colton and Whitney are well-known on the AQHA circuit, as each has their legacy of producing World and Congress Champions.
Impressive horses like Bettin Im Best, Suddenly Cool Zippo, and Heza Crowd Pleaser have come through Colton’s program. Similarly, Hot Rockin Potential, She Made It Happen, and Huntin Hotty Toddys have resulted from Whitney’s productive endeavors.
Now, the two plan to create an even more successful program with the purpose of training individuals and horses at all levels to reach those World Champion dreams.
After training with Highpoint Performance Horses, Colton began his operation in 2011 in Utah. Eventually, he relocated to Athens, Pennsylvania, to a high-end, 22-acre facility to accommodate his first-rate training program.
Since 2008, Whitney has been the co-owner of Whitney Ridge Stables with her husband, Michael Lagace. Whitney Ridge features a New England style barn that accommodates 40 horses, a spacious indoor arena, and miles of trails.
Nestled in Higganum, Connecticut, just a short drive away from the Long Island Sound, Whitney Ridge is a dream place for equine enthusiasts and the perfect place for LaSusa Lagace, LLC.
Colton and Whitney met four years ago when stalled on the same aisle at the NSBA World Show. From there, a friendship formed where the two quickly realized their similarities in both their programs and future business goals.
When asked why the sudden decision to join together as a team, Whitney said, “Since we met, we had spoken a few times about joining forces. It just made sense. I loved having Colton’s energy around and having another right-hand person so that everything is not just on my shoulders. Our personalities and strengths complement each other, and that is extremely important in a training program and a business.”
Colton agreed, adding, “We have worked together in the past on numerous horses, and we quickly realized it benefits us, the horses, and our clients to work with both of us.”
“My husband, Michael helps by doing the financial part of the business, like running the books and maintaining the facility on top of his regular job. The horse business was all on my shoulders, and I needed a little more time to be able to go out and get my AQHA judge’s card and continue my clinics overseas,” says Whitney. “I needed to be able to leave home and have someone here who was just as invested in the business, like myself.”
Similarly, Colton was looking to expand his business in ways his location in Pennsylvania could not offer. “Whitney’s location offers something that I did not have in Pennsylvania, and that is the ability to bring in local customers. We want to continue our legacy of producing top competitors, but it is also important to grow our industry. We can do that here,” says Colton.
Colton and Whitney want to emphasize their focus on creating a supportive environment where their clients succeed. Whitney says, “We put a huge emphasis on building a barn family that supports every person’s goals, big or small. Our location and amenities offer the perfect opportunity for us to aid top competitors in their high-level aspirations, as well as bring new people into the industry and help them succeed.”
As a member of AQHA’s Professional Horsemen’s Council, AQHA’s Show Committee, and a board member for both Region 6 and the Connecticut Quarter Horse Association, Whitney believes in giving back to the equine industry.
“Both Colton and I believe in giving back to support the industry. Our way of doing that in our business together is bringing in new people to the industry and helping them have success, as well as sharing our knowledge with our assistants to help propel them into successful careers,” says Whitney. “Both Colton and I trained under others, and we have learned a lot in our years working alone. We hope that we can share the knowledge of the business and the people side of being a successful trainer in the industry with those who work with us.”
In the short time the two have been together, they already see improvements in their riders. Whitney emphasizes, “The feedback from our riders has been incredible already. They are enjoying the team working with them.”
Colton says, “We want to thank our clients for being supportive of our decision to partner. This was not their choice, but they have taken this new partnership and have done extremely well with it.”
Whitney and Colton also want to thank their assistant trainers, Lindsay Benson and Logan Naples, for the great work they do to make the program a success.
In the coming weeks, the two plan on breaking their new business in by attending the RedBud Spectacular in Oklahoma City, among other national and local shows, as restrictions from the Coronavirus lift.
“We are excited and can’t wait to get back to showing again,” says Whitney.