Luke Olsen Takes USHJA National Hunter Derby Victory With Del Piero

Luke Olsen and Del Piero took the first place finish during the $3,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Buffalo Showtime I Horse Show.
Luke Olsen and Del Piero took the first place finish during the $3,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Buffalo Showtime I Horse Show.

Buffalo, NY - Luke Olsen rode to the top of the standings during the Buffalo Showtime I Horse Show in Hamburg, NY. The young professional earned the first and third place finishes during the $3,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, showcasing his talent as a rider and trainer during the first show of his professional career.
Olsen made a name for himself during his junior years with the help of Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano. He trained as a working student under their careful eyes at SBS Farms, Inc., and qualified for the 2012 ASPCA Maclay Finals, which marked the end of his junior career. Equipped with the essential skills he needed to branch out into the professional world, Olsen took the next leap.
Still working alongside Schoellkopf and Alfano, Olsen has worked diligently to begin building a client base. He works under a branch of SBS, but his duties now include teaching as well as making earnings from his work. The Buffalo Showtime I Horse Show was Olsen's first chance to prove himself as a professional, and he rose to the challenge without hesitation.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking for me," Olsen explained. "This was my first time showing on my own - the rest of the SBS team was in Kentucky for the two weeks of shows in Lexington. I had to make sure that I packed everything perfectly, was prepared for everything and was able to handle the office work."
Olsen continued, "Susie really helped me with getting ready for the show. I had no idea what to expect, and with her help everything went smoothly and I got a real feel for what was going on."
Olsen shined in the $3,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Del Piero, leased from Redfield Farm by Alex Trolli. He walked the course with longtime friend and professional rider Alicia Heberle. They bounced ideas off of one another as they walked the course. Olsen described his relationship with Heberle as one that resembles Jennifer Alfano and Liza Boyd's friendship.
With Heberle's help, Olsen navigated the hunter derby course with ease, even taking the obstacle on the hill without hesitation. Although Heberle went in at the top of the ranks for the second round, a rail gave Olsen the opportunity he needed to surpass the competition and take the victory.
Olsen rode Del Piero to the first place finish, while also taking the third place award aboard Rasputin, owned by the BTRC.
"The ring was very up and down, so I had to take that into consideration," Olsen stated. "There were a lot of bending lines, and the course was built very big with a lot of natural brush. I felt very privileged to have ridden in the equitation; it definitely prepared me for this opportunity."
Olsen concluded, "I want to make sure that it is known that Jen and Susie prepared me for this in the best way possible. They are the ones who brought me to this point, and they raised me for this-because of them, and their support, I have all of the confidence necessary."
While Olsen was making a name for himself in New York, the team at SBS Farms was rooting on Jennifer Alfano in Lexington, KY, at the Kentucky Spring Classic. After coming off of several successful shows, Alfano returned to the Stonelea Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. She guided a new mount, Candid, to a second place and two third places over fences in the Pre-Green Hunters.
Aboard Miss Lucy in the High Performance Hunters, she took home a second and three third place ribbons over fences, as well as the second place in the under saddle. Her efforts earned them the High Performance Hunter Reserve Championship.
Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms' Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country and travel nationwide to compete in the nation's most prestigious horse shows. The team at SBS Farms is proud to welcome Luke Olsen as a professional rider. SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the Northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit