David O’Brien Pilots Olivia SCF to Win $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – August 19, 2021 – Elite jumpers converged on the Rolex Stadium Thursday morning during the third day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Fourteen horse and rider pairs contended for the top prize offered in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class. Only four competitors accomplished clear rounds, and of those four,  it was David O’Brien (IRL) and Olivia SCF who finished out their day with the blue ribbon. Nicholas Dello Joio and Centuria 7 took second, while Wim Janssen rounded out the podium aboard Durango VDL.

David O’Brien with Olivia SCF. Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

Course designer Peter Grant’s (CAN) set a winding track across most of the Rolex Arena, tactfully using the multiple rollbacks and galloping space to encourage the riders to complete all 12 obstacles with a competitive open stride. The Table 2 Sec. 1 format, gave athletes one chance to trip the timers under the time allowed of 84 seconds for their shot at the leaderboard. David O’Brien was first in the ring and immediately set the pace for the field, completing the course with no faults in a brisk 73.229 seconds aboard Spy Coast Farm’s 7-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare.

As second-to-last in the ring, Nicholas Dello Joio seemed primed to challenge O’Brien’s leading round, putting his experience to good use around Grant’s track. Dello Joio crossed the finish line in 78.068 seconds with Centuria 7, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jasmine Chen. Their clear round earned them second place, which was on par with their top results throughout the summer at the Traverse City Horse Shows and Kentucky Horse Park.

Nick Dello Jolio with Centuria 7. Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography

Earlier in the class, Wim Janssen secured a score solid enough for third place with Durango VDL, owned by Ashland Show Stables, LLC. The 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion was a last-minute entry in the class but proved to be strong competition, earning a clear round in 78.068 seconds. Durango VDL has been ridden by both Janssen and owner Ashley Fleishhacker throughout the summer, gaining valuable experience in the 1.40-meter jumpers at both the Kentucky Horse Park and the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Jumper competition continues through the weekend with the $25,000 Bluegrass Classic taking place on Friday evening in the Rolex Arena, followed by the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix sponsored by Audi of Lexington on Sunday evening.


David O’Brien – $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper Winner

On Olivia SCF:
“Olivia is a 7-year-old American bred horse by Cardento. She actually has 3 yearlings and one foal on the ground this year from embryo transfers and she has only started to compete in the 1.40m division recently. She is very straightforward and very brave. She actually did not get to compete yesterday so I was impressed that she went straight in and she didn’t mind the rain and took everything in its stride.” 

On the 1.40m course
“The course was good. It was very open and there were enough options to keep it interesting. It was great that we got to use all of the ring so that the horse could maintain a nice canter the entire way around.”

On working at Spy Coast with the young horse program:
“In the young horse department, which is where I work, we have horses that range from two years old and up. We probably have close to 100 horses. We have it divided between Kiran Thompson and me. Kiran handles all of the two, three, and four-year-olds and starts them in the jump shoot. He even events a few of them so that by the time they come to me, they have good exposure. When they get a little bit older, I will take them over. Most of the horses are for sale so we make a plan for each horse and place them where we think they will excel the most. Generally, for me, I have about twenty horses in my barn and I rotate with other barns as well so that they can have breaks and go back out in the paddock. I probably ride between twelve and fourteen a day. I have been here for eight and a half years now.” 

On the Kentucky Horse Park as a tool to develop horses:
“Having the horse park has helped us a lot. We are lucky enough that while the shows are on, we can trail ride the horses over and canter them up and down the hills and around the cross-country course. For Kiran, he can event his horses and do dressage. It helps them see a lot more before we have to put any pressure on them before they get older.” 


Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Faults / Time

1. Olivia SCF / David O’Brien / Spy Coast Farm, LLC / 0 / 73.229
2. Centuria 7 / Nicholas Dello Joio / Jasmine Chen / 0 / 78.068
3. Durango VDL / Wim Jannsen / Ashland Show Stables, LLC / 0 / 82.096
4. Lyon / Tanner Korotkin / Castlewood Farm, Inc. / 0 / 83.032
5. Damokles / Theo Genn / The Windwood Group / 0 / 83.665
6. Casanova 499 / Jessica Mendoza /Jessica Mendoza / 3 / 86.395
7. Calva D’or Z / Nicholas Dello Joio / Rocking D Ranch / 4 / 82.526
8. Hocus Pocus De Muze / Reid Arani / Evergate Stable, LLC / 4 / 83.673
9. Comander 16 / Rachel Lindsey / Rachel Lindsey / 5 / 84.832
10. Heat of the Night / Jessica Mendoza / Jessica Mendoza / 5 / 88.119

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