Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog

Aachen Victory A Huge Boost

  • Riding the lap of honour at Aachen

Hi Everyone

Back at home now slowly recovering from a very long week in Aachen and indeed coming to terms with our great victory there. Sometimes when you're closely involved with something you don't recognise the significance of its success.

For instance the Irish team prior to Aachen was lying close to the relegation zone, 6th out of 10 teams. Robert Splaine was able to pull his best four riders and horses available and they were in turn able to organise themselves and  arrive at the show with their horses in top shape to deliver a world class performance.

It's not to be cribbing but sometimes you can't help get a bit disillusioned by the lack of coverage such a victory gets back home. I know for a fact the results are sent out - people in the media get the results - and the Irish Federation has a very good press office that gets the information out almost immediately to everyone who matters.

In show jumping terms we all know how significant Aachen is but it's perhaps difficult for the editors of the papers to know the difference between that and something of less significance. I certainly don't want to dwell on this or create negativity but on a personal level I know how hard it is to secure owners and horses, and be able to produce the goods at world level. When you hear of other small sports getting coverage you wonder what can be done to convince the decision-makers in the media to understand what our sport's about. It's a vexing question, and one that needs a great deal more thought and maybe persuasion.

It looks now we're fairly safe for the Meydan series, being in third place on the table, although many of the teams are quite close. Robert Splaine today announced a very strong squad for Hickstead on July 30, with Shane Breen, Dermott Lennon, Shane Sweetnam, Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey. My mare has done quite a bit of jumping and I would like to give her just a small class at the South County Show the week after next in the run-up to the RDS.

It's amazing what can be achieved when everyone has a common goal. Have no doubt Aachen is one of the best shows in the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again - all the best riders and horses were there, but it was us who won.

If we can bottle that concept I believe the team has a chance of winning the final two legs at both Hickstead and Dublin, but perhaps more importantly, there is no reason why we shouldn't aim for gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 11 weeks' time.

Splendor also performed superbly at Aachen for the week, jumping clear in two big classes and finishing 3rd in the 1m45 on Sunday. K Club Lady was again superb in the Grand Prix, but was unfortunate when touching one pole in the final line.

This weekend I take Splendor to Tattersalls for the Grand Prix and I have also picked up a horse just this week to try for the Puissance in Dublin, who I'll take to Tattersalls to get to know. Tattersalls International Horse Show is a three day 2 star show running from Friday to Sunday, situated just outside Ratoath opposite Fairyhouse Racecourse. I'd encourage anyone to come along and watch the jumping and indeed meet the international riders.

Best wishes,

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