Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog

Good weather makes all the difference!

Hey Everyone,

We had a great trip in Magna Racino, Austria for two weeks (see recent news) and it's nice to return home for a few days. Ruth and I enjoyed sitting outside the last two nights, enjoying the fine weather while having a barbecue! Lord Sebastian Coe came to the Mansion House on Tuesday for a special lunch to present Olympic pins to the medal winners from London 2012. It was a lovely occasion with a small number of people and I believe we are the only country except the host nation that Lord Coe came to for this purpose, which makes it all the more special. I think I might pin it onto my riding jacket to bring me luck and keep me safe!

Today I travel to the RDS young horse qualifier in Athenry, Galway to look for some potential superstars of the future. Over the weekend I will start to build up the horses again for the global tour in Wiesbaden (17 – 20 May) where I take Cooper and Unique.

Chat soon, Best wishes,


Magna Racino - Simply Class!

  • Cooper jumping a clear round in the 1.45m classMagna Racino, Austria
Hey Everyone,

I had heard a lot about the excellent facilities at Magna Racino, which is located about 30km from the centre of Vienna in Austria, and it was everything that I imagined and more. Owned by Frank Stronach, the hugely successful Austrian-Canadian businessman who says that horses are his passion, this purpose built horse show centre is by far the best I have ever seen. There is a racetrack on the grounds and acres of hacking and paddocks plus indoor and outdoor facilities that make this special venue somewhat of a horse haven!

The show went extremely well for me and my riders (see news). Next weekend is the final of the Spring Tour where a car is on offer to the winner of the Grand Prix. So needless to say - we will be trying!

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I'm building up a nice string of horses again that I can take to the 5 star events, starting with the Global tour in Wiesbaden in 3 weeks’ time.

Chat soon,


Ready for the off again!!

Last Sunday night saw 9 horses, two trucks and 6 staff make a mass exodus from Karlswood in convoy and make the 3 day trip towards Magna Racino just outside Vienna. I fly there Wednesday morning and the action gets underway that evening.

It's been nice to have a few weeks without shows as it gives everyone a chance to regroup and freshen up.

I'm excited to say that I have acquired a new superstar at Karlswood. Cooper, a nine year old German-bred gelding will join my string of international horses and I expect him to be my main horse this summer. Cooper is a beautiful looking bay gelding with a magnificent temperament and huge ability and carefulness. I will aim him at the World Equestrian Games 2014, which is Team Ireland's first chance of Olympic qualification for the Rio Games 2016. Click here for horses page and see a video of Cooper.

We have a busy schedule planned in Europe until the end of July, taking us to several shows in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and France.

Click here to view my full show schedule.

2012 was milestone year for me and 2013 has started off pretty good too - let's hope it continues!!

Best wishes,


Back to normality!

Palm Beach in Florida is especially nice to escape the Irish winters. However after 7 weeks out there I must say it’s nice to return home to some sort of normality! The horses will take a well deserved break and while Ruth and I plan and organise our new home it’s quite nice to just regroup and have a break from shows for a few weeks. Having said that, after the short break we will all be dying to get back to the ring. We have a great schedule of events planned for the summer (see schedule) starting at the magnificent Magna Racino facility in Austria at the end of the month.

Ross Mulholland will travel with me to several of the shows and I'm also delighted to be coaching Canadian young rider Nicole Walker who will also do the shows with us on Blue Loyd and High Yummy.

This weekend I'm giving a clinic and demonstration at Castle Leslie Equestrian Centre in Co. Monaghan which promises to be a bit of fun. 

Chat soon,

Florida - tough competition but horse heaven!

Hi Everyone,

It is now the end of week 8 of the 12 week tour at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. This weekend is always a special one as the show makes a fantastic effort for the Nations Cup, and all the people of various nationalities who work in the industry here gather to support their Team. Surprisingly the weather has turned a little cold and while most are wrapped up as if they were skiing in the Alps, I think the horses are appreciating the break from the scorching sun!

I arrived here three weeks ago so my horses are feeling good and I am getting used to some of my new rides. The Nations Cup is without doubt my favourite competition and one that I generally aim to do well in. I think it's the greatest honour to be part of the national team in whatever sport you are in and there is always a feeling that you want to do your best not only for yourself but mostly for your team mates. We had quite a strong team on paper but the Americans were always going to be hard to beat as this is their Nations Cup and also a leg of the Furusiyya Nations Cup league for which they will ultimately want to qualify for the final.

Splendor who won two classes for me in Olympia before Christmas has had a nice break since and produced two classy rounds to be one of just five double clears of the competition - the other four coming from Reed Kessler, Daniel Deusser, Tiffany Foster and Ian Miller. Team Ireland all performed well but with it ending up a low scoring affair we finished fourth - just off the pace by a narrow margin. USA won on 4, Canada second on 5 and Germany third on 9.

Sunday's grand prix was a thrilling competition. The jump off was like watching a pony final at the Dublin Horse Show with each round looking unbeatable but surprisingly each rider caught the previous one! Kent Farrington came out on top with Blue Angel who pipped Beezie Madden with the deceivingly fast Cortes C by one hundredth of a second. My fellow Irish man Conor Swail produced two copy book rounds from the very talented Lansdowne to place third.

The show here in Wellington is improving every year. The competition is tough and nothing is easily won but with plenty of classes and different arenas. It really does provide a unique opportunity, as it creates something for people of all levels. From cross pole jumpers to GP events and everything in between, many families are enjoying the sport together which is what it's all about.

This weekend also saw the inauguration of the Children’s, Junior and Young Riders Nations Cup. It was a tremendous success and very well supported by teams from Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, USA, Canada and Argentina. Team USA won the Young Rider Nations Cup, while Brazil took double honours in both the Children’s and Junior Nations Cups.

It was inspiring to see the buzz it created and great competitive spirit amongst the riders. The level of coaching here is high. The signature classical seat that most American kids have, stems from the equitation training in which many jumper riders start, which I believe creates a super basis and foundation. 

Four weekends left and plenty of work still to do - although it doesn't really feel like work in this amazing horse heaven!!


Around the world for sport!!

Hey Everyone,

Just arrived home from sunny Dubai and even though the weather is miserable here, I've said it before, there is still something special for me when the plane touches down in Dublin and you’re back on home soil! I guess that's why I never wanted to base abroad full time - it's nice to go away for a few shows but even nicer to return home!

Michael and I finished up well at the show in Dubai this weekend (see news link here). It's incredible how the Arab League has developed over the last few years and how serious the riders are about improving. I've no doubt they will continue to be a force to be reckoned with at the World Equestrian Games 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

The Dubai show was superbly organised and ran. Irishman Paul McAuley was show director and full credit to his drive and vision to make it the best show, by a distance, of the whole tour.

I have a few days in Ireland now, then a short trip to Europe to try some horses before flying to Florida at the end of the week.

The horses from Dubai will have a break now and Frenchy, my groom, flew last night to London to catch up with the other 6 horses that I'm taking to Florida and they will fly there this Tuesday. A lot of logistics but we're getting there!

Chat soon,


A rest in Dubai!

I was meant to have gone home for a little break but that wasn't the case as our week at home was filled with appointments, meetings and office work to organise my next trip to Palm Beach and Ross's trip to the Sunshine Tour. So much work goes in behind the scenes to arrange all the tours, from travel, accommodation and cars, it really is like moving house each time!

Speaking of which, Ruth and I have just moved house and we are quite busy making it our home!

When I was at home I went to Broadmeadows and Cavan to give the horses a jump around a course before they head off to Florida. All are in great shape and ready for action.

This week I’m back in Dubai where I compete Unique and Ulano. The show runs from Thursday to Saturday. It’s definitely harder work at home right now and with the weather so miserable I guess it’s like a bit of a rest here in Dubai!

Chat soon,


Keeping all balls in the air!

Hi Everyone,

I’m just in Abu Dhabi airport now on Saturday night about to board the night flight to Dublin. It’s been a nice two weeks in Dubai taking in the world cup shows at Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. All the horses have jumped well and been consistently in the ribbons.

Next week I give these horses a week off but I go home to work the group of 6 horses that I will take to Florida in February and also help Ross with the 7 horses that he will compete on the Spanish Sunshine Tour at the same time.

Last night I was delighted and honoured to receive the award of Sports Star of the Year at the Meath Chronicle / Cusack Hotel Group’s Meath Sports Person Awards Ceremony. I've lived in Meath for the last 10 years and proud to say that I'm here to stay - Meath is definitely my adopted county! Unfortunately I couldn't be there but my sister Pippa did the honours and I'm sure most of the sport's fans were more than pleased to see her!!

I have a busy week ahead which I enjoy but it’s a full time job trying to keep all the balls in the air!

Chat soon,


Health and Happiness!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with family and friends. For Ruth and I it was nice to have a break for a few days and enjoy normal things! Quite often my job is so intense that you get stuck in your own bubble and lose sight of what's going on around you.

I have a busy show jumping schedule planned for the first quarter of 2013 starting next week in Abu Dhabi and doing four shows in total in the United Arab Emirates. Then I go to Wellington, Florida for 7 weeks of shows.

I have a few exciting new additions to my horsepower which I will put on the site shortly. Walk tall being one of them. He seems a lovely horse with a great record and won the Queen’s Cup in Hickstead, England this year. He is by Kannon out of a Clover Hill dam, so Florida should help us get to know each other and set us up well for bigger things in the summer.

2012 was a tremendous year for me that I will never forget. So many people supported me in one way or another to get back on that podium in London and claim Ireland's first ever equestrian medal and to all of you I'm extremely grateful. I wish everyone good health and happiness for 2013.

Best Wishes,


Ready for a break!

2012 has without doubt been the best year of my life for so many reasons! Tonight we have just finished up at the London Horse Show. Olympia is unique in the atmosphere it creates which certainly makes me try harder. I love competing in front of a packed crowd and with the excellent TV coverage the show receives, there is great sense of people getting into the sport and following it each day which is so important in my view. I have received hundreds of messages this week for which I'm so grateful.

Some horses will come home for a break and others will rest here in the UK ahead of their flight to Dubai on St Stephen's Day. Michael Duffy and I will start competing in the UAE on January 10th, 2013. The horses, staff and Ruth and I will be glad of our break!

It has been a hugely successful year for me personally and professionally and I will enjoy reflecting on it with family and friends over the festive season.

Season’s greetings,


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