Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist
Horseware video - Making a Champion

In Horseware's latest instalment of #makingachampion, we go behind the scenes with 2012 London Olympics Bronze Medallist Cian Oɼonnor. Have a look into his world class equestrian program to see what it takes to get to the top level of the sport, and how Horseware has been a part of that journey....

A great week at the Dublin Horse Show
Nations' Cup, Dublin

We had a great week at the Dublin Horse Show in the RDS. 

Aramis was 1st and 2nd in two international classes, Excellent was 2nd in the 7 and 8 year old qualifier and Good Luck didn't touch a pole all week- he was double clear in the Nation's Cup and 4th in the Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Team Ireland finished a close second in the Aga Khan Cup after completing the two rounds on zero faults to tie with Italy. 

I was thrilled with Good Luck who jumped two incredible clear rounds. All the team jumped really well and it's great to ride alongside Denis, Greg and Bertram as we are all pulling extremely well together with one ambition - to win. 

Denis was given the tough task to be our man in the jump off which was made even harder by the fact that he was drawn first so the Italian jump off rider Piergiorgio Bucci could study his round. 

All Star had no fence down on Friday over three rounds but unfortunately a long gallop to the last confused him and he dropped off the bridle and ducked out at the last fence. Sport can be cruel but as a group of riders we all support each other through victory and defeat. 

It was an amazing atmosphere and we all did our best. 

Good Luck jumped an outstanding clear in Sunday's 200k Longines Grand Prix and despite an over-ambitious turn on my part in the jump off we finished a creditable 4th.

It's always a long and tiring week but it's still one of the best shows in the world largely due to the huge supportive and knowledgable audience who support all the riders not just the Irish!

What a week at Aachen!

Cian competed at perhaps the world’s most prestigious show jumping venue this month - Aachen in Germany. 

Aachen is not only a five-star venue but boasts one of the biggest arenas in the world, and the reputation for the most difficult courses. 

Cian had two wins with Lillie Keenan’s Be Gentle at the show, taking the speed class on Wednesday and following this up with the No.1 placing in the Prize of Sparkasse, which includes hunting elements such as ditches and banks. 

In the Grand Prix on Sunday Cian brought out his top horse Good Luck and had a fence off in each round to finish in 14th place.

 Cian said afterwards: “I felt our rail in round one was particularly unlucky, as Good Luck barely touched the vertical at the third part of the treble, which rolled backwards out of the cups. He's really learning how to gallop at these big jumps and I feel a big win is just around the corner!” 

Cian added: “There are many good horse shows in the world and then there is Aachen - incomparable!”

All the action from five-star Knokke!
Good Luck in action

Cian and Good Luck produce another Grand Prix double clear, this time at five-star Knokke in Belgium

Cian and Good Luck going clear in St. Gallen Grand Prix
One of Cian's two clear rounds at the Swiss Grand Prix

Cian and Good Luck produced a terrific double clear round at the St. Gallen Grand Prix in Switzerland last Sunday to finish 7th overall. This is the first of two clear rounds.

St. Gallen Nations' Cup

Cian pulls it out of the bag again! Clear second round with Good Luck at St. Gallen in not the best conditions - Ireland won the Nations' Cup.

La Baule Grand Prix

Good Luck jumped super today in La Baule Grand Prix but unfortunately tipped the back pole in the middle of the triple. Seven weeks since we jumped, when we were 2nd in the Million Dollar Grand Prix in Florida, and with Lummen cancelled we perhaps needed that round. All attention will now turn to St. Gallen in a few weeks time!

Road to Rio - RTE2

Great work by RTE's Road to Rio crew - I'm looking forward to watching the series on Olympic hopefuls!! Here's a trailer for the series, just in.

With FEI Equestrian World in Florida

I was delighted to be part of the latest movie in the FEI's Equestrian World series, filmed this time in Florida, from where we've all just returned. It may give you an insight into the famous Winter Equestrian Festival, and some of the people involved with Team Karlswood. Hope you enjoy!

USET Foundation Announces Lillie Keenan as 2016 Maxine Beard Award Winner

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to announce that this year's recipient of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Rider Award is Lillie Keenan. Hailing from New York, Keenan will be adding this award to her already impressive list of show jumping accomplishments.

For the full story click here.

Ready for home!

Hey Everyone, 

 We have just completed the 12 week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. 

Team Karlswood had a total of 25 horses and 13 staff in our group for the duration. The pace is fast here, with classes on in multiple arenas at the same time. Organisation is key and I’d like to thank all my staff and background team who made sure everything ran so well. 

As a group myself and my three students have had an incredible circuit, which I believe is largely due to the extraordinary group of people who make it happen behind the scenes. Michael Kelly and Ross Mulholland are, apart from being two of my closest friends, a major contributing factor towards any success we have. They both help me coach the students, flat the horses and compete and do all to a top standard which I firmly believe sets Karlswood apart from other coaching yards. 

It’s a long time to be away from home and it really is a different world out here - not necessarily America of course but just this equestrian world of Wellington. It’s fairytale stuff- like Disney World for horses! We try to stay somewhat grounded and focus on our goals and targets. I always wanted to use the circuit to build up the horses and riders so they are ready after this to compete, and the hundreds of rounds we have all done should have us in the groove when we all return to Europe. 

I’m proud of the accomplishments of my students. Nikki Walker had two younger horses to develop and she produced them both to a higher level successfully as well as winning the $25k classic in Ocala last week with Deko

Emily Short used the circuit to get used to some of her new horses as well as move up to the bigger level with Coco, which they did extremely well - fourth in a young rider Grand Prix, second in a ranking class in Ocala and second in a $130k Grand Prix in Wellington. 

Lillie Keenan also developed her younger horses and formed a successful new partnership with a new ride, Be Gentle. Super Sox, whom I competed in Olympia just before coming to Florida has really developed over the past number of months and catapulted Lillie into the big league, where she will hopefully have the opportunity to be considered to be a part of a senior American team later this summer. Sox and Lillie were double clear and placed third in a five star Grand Prix at Wellington and had the same result in the $1million Great American Grand Prix in Ocala last weekend. 

All my horses improved throughout the circuit. I think our plan of not overusing them worked well, so that they are fit to jump when we get home as opposed to needing a long break due to over jumping them over the winter. My new horses Calisto, Crespo and Sam Du Challois all proved themselves with solid performances. Calisto was second in a 1.50m and seventh in the World Cup in Live Oak. Crespo stepped up to jump a few Grand Prix classes well and had a number of good placings in the ranking classes throughout the circuit, as well as winning a 1.45m class. Sam du Challois has proven a great find. One of the highlights for me of the circuit was being last to go in the Nations' Cup in Wellington and jumping clear with Sam to help the team secure victory, and also making it my 105th appearance on the senior team. 

Saphir had multiple placings in ranking classes and stepped up to 1.50m level well, producing a great clear in the Suncast final. 

Good Luck has been sensational. He was always an amazing jumper long before he came to me but the biggest change has come in his rideability. He is much straighter to the fences, a lot easier to collect, and jumping a 1.60 m course feels like 1.30m on another horse - it’s all so easy for him. We did three major Grands Prix and were clear in all of them finishing eighth, fourth and the biggest result came last weekend when we were double clear in the Great American Million Dollar Grand Prix to finish second. 

It was a great course built by Ireland’s Alan Wade, who is one of the most popular course designers in North America. He got the right result with only three double clears, which meant a podium finish for those who made no fault over the two testing rounds. We will all take a few easy weeks before our European tour kicks off at the end of April. 

Check out the great video that Noelle Floyd made: A Day In The Life

 Chat soon, 


O'Connor takes second place in Florida's Million Dollar Grand Prix

Cian took an impressive second place in the big Million Dollar Grand Prix in Ocala, Florida tonight (Sunday), pocketing 200,000 dollars for his efforts. 

 The Meath-based Olympic bronze medallist rode his top string horse, the ten year-old stallion Good Luck, and produced two faultless rounds that had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats. Jumping against a 40-strong top international field, O'Connor produced one of only three double clear rounds achieved in the competition, but was just off the pace of eventual winner, Colombia's Roberto Teran and Oklahoma. 

 Afterwards O'Connor said: "I'm thrilled to have finished second here tonight. I've been aiming at this big class since January. I've been campaigning Good Luck very lightly since he arrived in Florida last November, as I want him to peak later in the summer. 

 "He's jumped in just three major Grands Prix since the beginning of the year, and has been clear in all of them, but today's double clear round produced the biggest cheque of all."...

One to Watch: Emily Short

The fresh face is 23-year-old, American rider Emily Short. 

Still an amateur, the native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania graduated from Denison University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature in May 2015. The following summer, Short decided to further her riding career and joined her trainer, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor, in Europe to compete.

Check out the full story here.

Cian's double clear secures Irish Nations' Cup Win

Cian produced a brilliant double-clear round on Sam du Challois to give Ireland victory in last night's (Friday) Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida. 

 Ireland were level with hosts USA at halfway on zero faults after clears by O'Connor, Conor Swail (Martha Louise) and Shane Sweetnam (Buckle Up). 

 Swail and Sweetnam then had four faults each in the second round, but Richie Moloney (Carrabis Z) added a clear, before O'Connor finished the job with another faultless round to leave Ireland on a total score of four faults, with the USA in second on eight faults....

Cian discusses the development of Good Luck, one year on

With the partnership between himself and “Luke” a year old, Cian discusses how his spectacular mount has developed an even better jump to be primed for a competitive year ahead. 

 See the full article on Noelle Floyd's website here.


Watch Good Luck’s amazing clear in the Furusiyya Nations Cup final in Barcelona.

107 Caps for Ireland on senior teams

  • 20 winning teams
  • 13 appearances on the Irish team for the Aga Khan trophy in Dublin with 3 wins in 2004, 2012 and 2015
  • 2 appearances on the Irish team in 2016 at Ocala and Wellington, Florida, where Ireland won
About Cian

Cian O’Connor is an Irish International show jumping rider, coach, horse producer and consultant. Based at Karlswood Stables in County Meath, Ireland he achieved the pinnacle of his sporting career when claiming individual bronze at the London Olympic Games. Cian competes successfully all over Europe, America, the Middle East & China.

Cian trains his horses at Karlswood Stables, a world class facility for coaching young and upcoming riders, and for prepping of all classes of showjumping horses. Book a clinic to benefit from Cian's world-class expertise.

Cookies help us to deliver the best service. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. View Cookie PreferencesAccept