Susan Cooney was born and raised in Northern Illinois to a non -horsey family. Her parents made the mistake of sending the 10 year old Susan to a summer camp that had horses and the rest was history.
After earning a BS in Animal Science and a Master of Ag in Equine Breeding Farm Management from Texas A and M, she spent several breeding seasons working as Assistant Broodmare Manager at Pillar Stud in Lexington, KY.
Susan then decieded to branch out into thoroughbred racing and moved to Camden,
SC to take a position with Cushman Stables.Charlie Cushman was an excellent tutor and by the time Susan met her husband Patrick in 1988 she was ready to move out on her own as a trainer. The Irish-born Patrick was a steeplechase jockey and was offered a contract to ride for 2 large stables in Virginia. Susan got a position as farm trainer for George Ohrstrom’s Whitewood Farm and they were off to Virginia. After 3 years with Whitewood, the Cooney’s opened a public racing stable starting mostly with steeplechase horses but gradually switching to all flat racing.
Patrick, who had a successful career as steeplechase jockey in France, Ireland and the US, is now retired from race riding but still exercises a lot of the Cooney horses and is licensed as an Assistant Trainer. He stays busy with overseeing the riders, grooms, and maintenance of the training track but can also be seen at the races when the Cooney’s have runners at more than one track.
Highpoints of the last few years include multiple stakes winners Petes Hick Chick, Leva Mae and Embarr. The Cooneys have also gotten into the breeding business on a small scale with a few nice fillies that they raced successfully.