On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Central time, join Eric Dierks for a live stream interview with David O'Connor.
David was an alternate for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and riding Wilton Fair, was part of the U.S. team at the 1990 World Equestrian Games, where he placed 35th individually and the team finished fourth. At the 1994 World Equestrian Games, he placed 44th individually riding On a Mission and was also an alternate for the team. At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, David finished fifth individually riding Custom Made and he also helped the team to a silver medal with Giltedge.
At the 2000 Summer Olympics, again riding Custom Made, he won the individual gold medal and helped the U.S. team to a bronze medal aboard Giltedge. During the individual competition at the 2000 Games, he led each stage of the event, and made Olympic history with a record-breaking dressage score. David and Custom Made won the 1997 Badminton CCI4* (now CCI5*-L), becoming only the second American rider to do so. In the 1998 World Equestrian Games with Giltedge, he finished sixth and helped the U.S. team to fourth place. Also with Giltedge, David won silver at the 1999 Pan American Games and contributed to the U.S. team’s gold medal performance. The pair also won team gold at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.
David was consistently ranked as one of the top three-day event riders in the world by the FEI with a first place in 2000, third in 1997, and fourth in 1996. He was also the top eventing rider in the U.S., topping the USEA leaderboard in 1998 and 1999. He was a three-time winner of the Kentucky Three-Day Event; once at the CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) and twice at the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) level.
Four horses ridden by David - Giltedge, Custom Made, On a Mission, and Wilton Fair - have held positions on the list of the top 50 USEA high-scoring horses.
In 2004, David retired from competition to focus on other aspects of the sport, taking on administrative and coaching roles as well as being a three- and four-star course designer. He was an FEI Bureau member from 2008-2011 and served as the President of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) from 2004 to 2012. In 2006, David was appointed the International Technical Advisor to the Canadian national eventing team. In that capacity, he led the team to silver medals at the 2007 Pan American Games and the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games. In January 2013, David left the Canadian team after being appointed chef d’équipe to the USEF eventing team.
This live stream is provided by the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association.
There is a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after day one of dressage in the inaugural CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian. Twenty pairs took their turn in the Rolex arena this morning in front of judges Mark Weissbecker and Helen Brettell, with Tamra Smith and Danito securing the early lead on their score of a 28.1. Shortly after, Doug Payne and Starr Witness matched Smith’s score, and nearing the end of the division, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine also said checkmate, as they claimed the same score of a 28.1.
This year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian has already begun in dramatic fashion, with a snowstorm blanketing the Kentucky Horse Park the night before the first horse inspection. Now, the snow has melted, the spring flowers are out, and we are set with 63 combinations ready to canter into the Rolex Arena for the CCI5*-L, and 46 combinations in the CCI4*-S, after all horses passed the first inspection.
With snow taking the place of spectators, the first day of the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by MARS Equestrian looked much different than any other year. A total of 63 horses were presented today (Wednesday, April 21) to the ground jury of Christina Klingspor (SWE), Robert Stevenson (USA), Peter Gray (CAN), and the veterinary delegate Karen Nyrop, DVM (USA).
On Saturday morning 65 horses will leave the start box at the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS to tackle Derek di Grazia's cross-country course. With 28 fences and 50 jumping efforts at 570 mpm, the horses and riders will need to be fit as they take on the highest level of the sport and the first CCI5*-L in the U.S. since 2019.