Keeping Up with the Laplace Twins, From NYC to ATL
The past year has brought about many changes in the lives of our friends in the equine industry, and sisters Dale and Hannah Laplace are no exception. The twins grew up in New York, not far from Manhattan, and have been a part of the horse show world for as long as they can remember. In recent years, they’ve dedicated themselves more than ever to showing and further developing their respective careers. Now, just over a year into COVID, much has changed for the twins, and they are back, and in an exciting new way.
For the first time in their lives, Dale and Hannah live in different cities, about 1,000 miles apart. Hannah relocated to Atlanta last summer, while Dale lives in New York City. In their professional careers, the COVID landscape and ability to work remotely have been quite a game-changer.
Hannah (pictured right) works for an architecture and interior design firm, and Dale (pictured below) recently co-founded a New York City-based public relations agency called Command Collective. Despite the distance, Dale travels back and forth to Atlanta to see her sister and horse every two to four weeks. “It’s a good thing we’re both quite close to major airports,” said Dale.
The twins credit their love for riding and support from trainer Clint Ainsworth, who is based in Lithonia, Georgia for encouraging them to make the jump. “Clint is honestly the reason why I moved to Atlanta,” said Hannah. “It was around this time last year, actually,” added Dale. “Hannah and I decided to leave New York because everything shut down. We called Clint one evening and told him we were flying to Atlanta the next day for what we originally thought would be two weeks, but over a month later, we realized we were running out of clothes.”
Hannah agreed, “We were both working remotely. Dale would go back and forth to New York about every other month, and at that time, I was weighing my options on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. Clint was one of the first people to say, ‘why don’t you move down here?’ I initially thought it would be insane to move so far from my family, friends, work, and where I had spent my whole life. But after contemplating this for a bit, Clint suggested, ‘you really should change your mind about that.’
At that point, I realized the COVID landscape made it possible for the very first time to work remotely, maintaining my job in New York while living in Atlanta about 30 minutes from the barn and able to ride nearly every day and travel more frequently for shows. So, I decided to go ahead and make a move. When people ask if I miss New York, I say this was the best decision I ever made.”
When asked how the transition to entrepreneurship has been, Dale said, “It’s been quite a ride building a business during COVID and balancing this with my dedication to riding and spending as much time in the saddle as possible. Being your own boss is amazing, but just because you might have a busy show day ahead of you, it does not mean client needs disappear, or an unexpected crisis won’t pop up.”
The past year has also seen some very exciting moments for the twins in their riding careers, with big wins for Dale’s mare, Xtremelyhotvalentine (also known as Martha) and Ainsworth, as well as a new pairing for Hannah with Good As Expected (also known as Jackson).
Dale currently shows Xtremelyhotvalentine in the Amateur Trail, and Clint had a very successful 2020 show year on the mare, winning the NSBA World Show in the 4–5-Year-Old Trail after just a few weeks of her being in his program. The two also placed in the Top Ten at the AQHA World Show in the Junior Trail.
Hannah now shows Good As Expected in Amateur All-Around events. “I had to retire my old gelding following the AQHA World Show last year, and after a few months of searching, Jackson became available in Clint’s barn,” said Hannah. “He’s an outstanding horse, and we balance each other out. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten on a horse for the first time and had it work out so well right away. This year we’re already having great success in the Amateur Showmanship, Horsemanship, and Trail and are very excited to be adding western riding to Jackson’s repertoire.”
The ability to ride their horses several days a week has been an incredible experience for the sisters. “Being able to ride frequently has helped us to step up,” said Hannah. “There is nothing like consistency in the saddle.”
Dale added, “It has been such a mental health break to be able to go to the barn multiple times a week while still building a business and growing our career. There have been many days where we go to ride, and an hour later, I meet virtually with clients, and no one would ever know I’m still in my boots and spurs.”
While the twins are both extremely competitive, they do not let their competitive natures come between their relationship. Dale said, “Right now, the only class we both compete in is the trail, but when we used to show against each other in the showmanship and horsemanship, we would race each other to the cone, both wanting to go first if there wasn’t a predetermined order.”
Expressing their support for each other, Hannah said, “We are each other’s biggest advocate. I always ask Dale to give me her honest opinion on what certain things look like, and I know she will tell me the truth. Showing horses has always been a family thing for us, and we are so lucky to still share in it. We even wear the same color scheme in the show pen from time to time.”
The twins will have a busy year of balancing work and horse shows, as they are planning to attend shows like Georgia On My Mind, the Madness, the Stars and Stripes and Big A, the Congress, and the NSBA and AQHA World Shows.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for everything Clint has done for us and his incredible friendship,” said Dale. “He’s been instrumental in our careers both inside and outside of the show pen and is such a close friend, like family, and we’re incredibly thankful for that.”
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