Our Staff

David O’Brien

Originally from Galway County, Ireland, David was born the youngest son of Tomas and Francis O’Brien.  Starting at the age of 10, David began producing top quality young ponies including qualifying a 5 year old pony for the Dublin Horse Show, setting the pony Puissance record, and placing 7th at the European Championship with a 6 year old pony named Bertas Clover.  After finishing his pony career, David furthered his training by riding under Niall Talboy, Florian Meyer Zu Hartum, and the German chef de equipe Dietmar Gulgar.  While in Europe, David placed in multiple Grand Prix.

David has extensive experience producing top quality young horses.  At age 22 he helped his father produce a young homebred stallion, Codarco. David and Codarco won all 4 year old championships in Ireland.  Codarco is now moving up the ranks competing in 5* shows with Chloe Ried.

David is head young horse trainer at Spy Coast Farm and is responsible for the development of our young horses.

Shawn Thomas

Shawn was born and raised in Virginia where he began riding on his family’s farm.   Shawn spent his childhood riding in the Children and Junior Jumper divisions.  As a teenager, Shawn worked for Matt Collins where he started young horses for Rodney Jenkins, Joe Fargis, Diana Dodge, and Mr. Wheeler, among others.

Shawn’s extensive experience working with young horses continued with Sharon Maloney at Dog Patch Farm in Virginia before joining the Young Horse Development Team at Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, KY.

At Spy Coast Farm, Shawn starts and rides our young horses.  His positive attitude and patient approach gives the horses a solid foundation allowing them to reach their fullest potential.


Modesty Burleson VMD

Modesty was born and raised in York, Pennsylvania and has been involved with horses since the age of six. She owned her first pony by the age of nine, which began her competitive equestrian career and passion to become an equine veterinarian. She worked on a thoroughbred and standardbred breeding facility under the mentorship of Dr. William J. Solomon at Pin Oak Lane Farm all through college.

In 2003, she graduated from Virginia Polytechnic and State University with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in Biotechnology.  After completing her undergrad, she attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating with her veterinary medical degree, Modesty performed an equine ambulatory internship at one of the world’s largest private practices, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Riddle. She spent the following year as the resident veterinarian for Shadwell Farm owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

By 2009, she became an ambulatory associate with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.  With her husband, Lyn Burleson, she owns and operates a 200 acre thoroughbred farm called Burleson Farms, in Midway, KY. Modesty has been the resident veterinarian for Spy Coast Farm since 2010 and specializes in equine reproduction.