Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog

Falsterbo - A Good Show

  • The stadium at Falsterbo

Hey Everyone,

Just home from Nations’ Cup show in Falsterbo. I myself got a late call up to go there following the withdrawal of Shane Carey’s horse and despite not even currently riding Splendor, Robert Splaine had no other option but to ask me to come and help the team if I could.

Thankfully the horse’s owner Ahmed Tolba is very supportive and he was as enthusiastic as any of us on the day, wishing the Irish to do well.

Splendor jumped for a 4 and a 4 to help the team finish 5th and I must say he handled the course very easily.

All the horses jumped great for the weekend and I was very pleased with their performance.

I’m home now for a few days then I head back to Germany . I’ve just bought an exciting new eight year old that I’m looking forward to ride, and over the next ten days I will gradually move the 20 horses from Germany back to Ireland and start to prepare for the Dublin Horse Show, which is only a few weeks away.

No rest for the wicked - gotta keep moving!

Best wishes,

A New Beginning

  • Temple Road (left) and K Club Lady

Hi everyone,

As you’ll see from my home page I have sold both  K Club Lady and Temple Road ( to see news story - click here).

I will miss them both greatly but it’s always good to sell! I’m already on the lookout for some new horses, and you’d be amazed at the amount of new friends that I have! The word has travelled around and every dealer in Europe has been in touch with me promising potential horses. But I’m not going to rush, I’m going to take my time, keep my eyes and ears open. As usually, when you try hard to find them they don’t turn up.

I thought I wouldn’t be doing big shows for some time, however last week the Irish Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine contacted me to say that he was stuck for a fifth rider for Falsterbo and would I be able to come with Splendor.

Splendor jumped really well last weekend with his owner Ahmed Tolba at a show at Geesteren in Holland, and Ahmed kindly changed his plans to allow me to take the horse to try and help the team.

The next few legs of the Superleague are crucial for us, as top combinations are thin on the ground and points are needed badly, so as to maintain our strong position on the leaderboard and not give away any ground at this stage.

So also I take to Falsterbo K Club Lady for the small classes and I’ve a beautiful new bay gelding called Phin Phin’s Shooting Star who I got last week and I will use him in the speed classes and the derby.

Looking forward to Falsterbo as it has been a happy hunting ground for us in the past, and I have fond memories of my first time there 11 years ago when myself Cameron Hanley, Gerry Flynn and Shane Carey won the Nations’ Cup.

I’m just working the horses for the next few days in Germany and I fly home to Ireland on Monday where I will be attending the launch of a new bedding for horses product called ComfyBed, then I fly to Falsterbo on Wednesday.

Looking forward to the week ahead, so check back next week for more news.

Best wishes,

A Perfect Day!

  • Pippa and Brian

Hey Everyone,

Last Saturday my younger sister Pippa got married to Brian Ormond in style at the Ritz Carlton at Powerscourt. It was an amazing day and I was so thrilled it went so perfectly for them, as I know how much planning they both put into it.

It was super to see all of both families present and for me the highlight of the day was Brian singing A Million Love Songs by Take That from the stage to Pippa - even I was a little teary-eyed.

They’re on their way to Bali now for a fortnight and hopefully they’ll have time to relax.

I’ve had a busy day at home today, and tomorrow I fly to Monaco, which should be nice.

Best wishes,

Refreshed, Revived And Ready For Off Again!

  • Relaxing at home

Hey everyone,

It was nice to have a week off from travelling and just do normal stuff and stay at home. It's also good for the international horses to freshen up and have a break from jumping. There are so many great shows on for the rest of the summer, it's all about pacing your string and peaking at the right time.

I went to watch the horse show in Mullingar this weekend which was extremely well run. Sunday's weather was a bit dismal but still plenty of people came out to support. The Irish Team that jumped in St. Gallen earned us three valuable points which keeps us in second position on the leaderboard after three legs.

K Club Lady is in top shape and working towards Aachen. I jump two national shows in Germany, then Monte Carlo and Estoril in preparation. A repeat of last year's victory in the famous German arena next month would certainly be fantastic for the team on its way to all important Olympic qualification which takes place in Madrid, this September.

Well, a lot can happen between now and then but its vital to have a plan. I enjoyed my week off but look forward to going back to Germany tomorrow and getting stuck in.


Rome - Wonderfully Historic Event

  • The picturesque Piazza di Siena showground in Rome

Hey everyone,

I’m just home from a successful show in Rome, both horses performed really well and the Irish team finished 3rd in the Nations Cup, which is brilliant as it keeps us on top of the leaderboard.

I’m home in Ireland for the next week, which is great as it gives me a chance to do some national shows and watch how my young horses are progressing. I take a few weeks off from international duty now, but I will be doing a couple of national shows with K Club Lady.

My next major international event is in Monte Carlo on June 23-25 where I can take two horses, and they will be K Club Lady and Temple Road.

A busy week ahead at home, so check back after the bank holiday for more news.

A Week Is A Long Time In Show Jumping!

  • Lady Chryss O'Reilly with Queen Elizabeth at the Irish National Stud last week

Hey everyone

A lot has happened in the past week. Ireland was the host to both the Queen of England and President Obama - both visits were handled extremely well and looked well for Ireland worldwide.

I sold Larkhill Cruiser, my Super League horse from La Baule and was second in the Grand Prix last Sunday in my first show with Temple Road - and Ruth has set up a Facebook page for me!! It's all go.

Larkhill Cruiser has been a wonderful horse for me and I've no doubt will be very successful for his new rider Abdullah al Sharbatly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who will be keeping the Irish flag flying in arenas throughout the world.

Shane Carey produced Temple Road (pictured left), a nine year old gelding, for me over the last two years. Pforzheim last weekend was my first international outing with the horse and he jumped superbly in the Grand Prix. We were double clear and finished second. He is probably the most careful horse I have ever ridden and will do some very big things, very shortly.

Temple Road, Splendor, Ballymore Eustace and Onira left Frankfurt last night for Rome, and we start jumping there on Thursday. Today I'm just chilling and catching up on emails.

I have succumbed to the pressure of Facebook and you can check it out on this link.

Check back next week for more news, and I'm told there are 220 days to my wedding - it's great to be busy!

Best wishes,

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of!

  • The winning team at La Baulefrom left: Cameron Hanley, Shane Sweetnam, Robert Splaine, myself and Billy Twomey

Hey everyone,

I'm back at base in Frankfurt, and it's just sinking in now of the great job we all did as part of the Irish team last Friday in La Baule. When you think of the level of horsepower the other teams had there, and the fact that on paper prior to the competition nobody would have fancied us for the top three, it was really an amazing achievement all round.

Over the last few years, Robert Splaine our Chef d'Equipe has really found his feet and has become  so experienced at the job that he really trusts his top riders. Robert had never before seen me jumping with Larkhill Cruiser in the flesh and it was not my original plan to jump him in the Nations' Cup, but rather the Derby. However, following the first round of the big class on the opening day, Joey jumped it so easy and impressively that Robert asked me if I would make him available for the Nations' Cup.

It was a brave call on his part, but the horse had answered every question I had ever asked of him so far, so I thought - why not? In the Nations' Cup itself Shane Sweetnam was our pathfinder and did a great job to jump around with only one time fault in the first round and one fence down in the second. Billy Twomey was as cool as ever, and produced two 4 fault rounds from a very new horse to his string, Romanov, who I've no doubt will go on to jump many big classes with Billy.

Cameron Hanley jumped a super clear in the first round which was crucial as it put us in equal second at the halfway stage. Larkhill Cruiser (pictured left) had one fence down in the first round, and in the end his second round clear proved vital as Cameron coming last to go had a discard score.

The Belgians then had a fence in hand and luckily for us Jos Lansink knocked both parts of the combination and had a time fault to leave us the winners of the opening leg of the FEI Nations' Cup.

We almost couldn't believe it, which just goes to show you when people are focused on one target and work together to achieve that goal, anything is possible.

It's a great boost for the season to have 10 points on the league table so early on and hopefully at least a few placings in the next couple of rounds will keep us in a great position. The victory in La Baule clearly proves what many have said all along - that Ireland is full of talented riders. Indeed, in the Nations' Cup competition itself they were all top riders - the crucial difference was that some were hungrier than others!

I fly home to Ireland tomorrow night, where I will be working with Dr. Andrew McLean to perform a demonstration on Thursday. The day starts at 2pm in the Snailbox pub in Co. Meath and then continues until 8pm at the adjacent Karlswood Stables. Tickets can be got on the gate on the day. Click here and contact Orla for more information.

This weekend coming I compete at the three star in Pforzheim, Germany. Check back next weekend for more news.

Best wishes,

Fit And Ready!

  • Horse heaven!

Hey everyone,

I'm writing to you from one of the most beautiful places in the world. I'm staying as a guest of my Spanish friend Rafy, at the farm where he is employed in Normandy, in France.

It's quite simply like horse heaven. I decided to come here for five days prior to La Baule to work on myself and my horses to be in the best possible shape for the show next week. I, as most people know, am quite self confident but it's also great to have someone knowledgeable on the ground to offer advice and help me work my horses.

I find Rafy to be a super trainer and all round horseman. As he himself rode dressage before, his emphasis on the flat work is huge and I found the last number of days so beneficial. Also when I'm riding at home there are always distractions. Someone comes to see me or the phone rings but when I'm working with someone on the ground it allows me to take time for myself and to focus on my riding which I believe is the best way for me to prepare for the opening leg of the Super League series next week.

In addition Rafy is a fitness freak and brings me to his own gym each evening! Ruth reckons it will be the making of me but thinks I need five months not five days!

We head to La Baule Tuesday evening where the vet check gets underway, Wednesday. I take Splendor, Larkhill Cruiser and Trebox Acorada. I will be aiming Larkhill Cruiser at Saturday's feature Derby event and I'm really hoping for a successful show- one thing I can say is that I have prepared myself in the best way I know so after that at least it wasn't for the lack of trying!!


Maubeuge - Nothing To Write Home About!

  • Trebox Acorada

Hey everyone

I’ve just arrived to the new stable that I'm basing at for the summer near Frankfurt. It was just a three hour drive from Maubeuge in France.

Mark and Jessica are already here with K Club Lady, Ballymore Eustace and Onira. Frenchy comes tonight with Larkhill Cruiser, Acorada and Splendor. It'll be like a home from home!

The opening day in Maubeuge all the horses jumped great. I just schooled Splendor and Acorada in the small classes and Joey had a fence down in the big class which left me just two places outside qualifying for the Grand Prix. I wasn't too upset as I had just planned to use it as a building up show to La Baule in two weeks’ time. Today in the 1m40 Splendor again jumped a super clear and Acorada placed fourth in the same class.

Most places aren't nice when its raining but this spot took the biscuit. After doing so many top shows perhaps one gets spoilt but the ground in the warm up ring was simply not safe to warm up on. So much so I didn't even start two of the classes on Saturday.

Like most small towns in France the hotel was moderate at best! So suffice to say it won't be on our shortlist for the honeymoon!!!

I will work here near Frankfurt for the next week and then the show moves to La Baule.

Check back next Sunday to see how our first week in Germany went.


Happy Easter!

  • Ballymore Eustace jumping clear in the Grand Prix qualifier in Dundalk on Saturday

I had a hectic but a most enjoyable week. It started last weekend in Barnadown in Co. Wexford, where I was one of six coaches putting the 24 finalists of young riders through their paces over four days.

The students took part in training sessions in their region through the SJI. The energy and enthusiasm showed by the SJI regional reps was quite simply amazing. All the effort and work that they put in on a voluntary basis purely for the betterment of the sport is nothing short of an inspiration. As for the students themselves, their attitude and openness to learning was fantastic. Ian Fearon one of the most respected coaches in Ireland asked me to come along and I'm so glad I did as it was great fun working with each and every one of them.

Luckily for me I have some of the best staff in the world. My horses were all ready for me when I returned from Barnadown on Thursday and I worked them then for two days prior to one of my favourite shows in Ireland which took place yesterday and today. The Horseware Ireland Louth County show has always been a successful show for me having won the Grand Prix there 6 times prior to this year.

On Saturday I won the Grand Prix qualifier with the 8yr old mare Accorada. Larkhill Cruiser was fresh from his month's break and jumped super, cruising around to slot into third. Onira, a new ride for me, was also clear, as was Ballymore Eustace in his first ever Grand Prix in Ireland.

In today's Premier Series Grand Prix, Onira just had one rail down, Accorada was electric again and produced two sensational rounds to finish fourth. Larkhill Cruiser knew the pressure was on and when riding him in Ireland I feel that he is a celebrity and everyone is watching him! He did his usual trick - quick from the off and a flyer to the last to secure my 7th victory since 2000 in the Grand Prix at this particular venue. Tom McGuinness whose land the show is in has been a great supporter of mine over the last 14 yrs through his company Horseware and for whose support I'm very appreciative of.

The horses travel to Maubeuge in france this week. I take Splendor, Larkhill Cruiser and Trebox Accorada. Check back next Monday to see how we went in France.

Best wishes,

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