Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog

Olympia Diary, 2012 (Sat 22 Dec)

The penultimate day at London was full of excitement. Marc Houtzager from Holland with the brilliant Tamino took the honours in the world cup while Ulano found the tight arena and electric atmosphere all a bit much so we retired to save for another day. This evening’s Ivy Stakes 1.60m class was very big and I entered Dual Star, as Splendor was resting ahead of tomorrow’s GP. I decided to walk the course and then decide if I would jump her as she has no experience bigger than 1.40m really! I thought that she jumped so well on Friday in the big speed finishing third that she should be able for it. She warmed up so well and has grown so much in confidence this week. She jumped an amazing double clear and was only 0.07 slower than the winner to finish up in a very credible second place. It's been an amazing week and let's see how Splendor goes in tomorrow’s GP.

Olympia Diary, 2012 (Fri 21 Dec)

Another great day at Olympia. Splendor won the 1m60 Santa Stakes. There were 28 starters and 7 in the jump off, I was 2nd to go with some very fast riders behind me but I just did a neat clear round and it paid off. This was the class I won 2 years ago with Splendor and he really is on form this week. Tomorrow he will have a day off with the Grand Prix on Sunday to finish, so hopefully he goes well.

ISHD Dual Star stepped up to the mark today when jumping an amazing fast clear round at her ease in the 1m50 speed finishing in 3rd place behind Ben Maher and Marcus Ehning. Tomorrow Ulano jumps the World Cup and Dual Star will be jumping in the 1m55 jump off class tomorrow night. Hopefully the luck stays on our side!

Olympia Diary, 2012 (Wed 19 Dec)

  • Splendor winning the Christmas Pudding Stakes at the Olympia

It's a great show here in London as always. For me it's quite simply the best indoor show in the world.

For some reason I tend to be really up for every class and also try that bit harder myself as you know so many show jumping enthusiasts especially from home are either in the public or glued to the live coverage! For instance in the jump off with Splendor tonight, I hadn't really planned on turning that tight back to the double but I got a rush of blood to the head and it came off! Splendor loves this arena and has won here previously so I was thrilled that we were able to win the feature 1.50m jump off class on the opening day.

It was fun to make history!

  • Cian makes history in Croke Park

Yesterday Horse Sport Ireland held an awards lunch in Croke Park and acknowledged all those who flew the flag with honour and success in 2012. I was thrilled to have been awarded at the event and as the madness has finally abated it’s the first time really that I've been able to look back and reflect on the magical pictures from London.

Full credit to HSI's CEO Damian McDonald for having the brainwave of me re-enacting my bronze medal win over an Olympics replica jump on the sacred ground of Croke Park (see video here).

It was great to see Minister Leo Varadkar there yesterday to present the awards and while I fully accept the shortage of funds in the coffers, the value that the horse sport industry is worth to the exchequer cannot be ignored. Investment in further education of our equestrians, coaching, business and media management courses will all reap rewards in the long run for the continuation of the success of the industry. A rising tide lifts all boats – we’ve done our job in the arena now let’s see others step up to the mark!!

Olympia starts tomorrow. Check out my Facebook page for daily updates.

Best wishes,

Feast or a famine!

Hey Everyone,

Sometimes everything happens at once and that's a bit how it is in my world right now! Only recently Ruth and I secured a beautiful house and farm in County Meath where we plan to develop and build all our equestrian needs over the next year.

Blue Loyd has been sold and I will miss him dearly - he is without doubt the greatest horse I have ever ridden and I owe him so much for what he has done for my career over the past twelve months, culminating in an Olympic medal.

This weekend I'm competing in Hartpury College in the UK in preparation for London, Olympia which gets underway next Wednesday.

It's the time of the year for award dinners which are always fun and give everyone the chance to reflect and enjoy the precious moments. Last Monday night I was honoured to have been awarded at the Bank of Ireland Sport's Awards and it was a real thrill to be on the same stage with some of Ireland's sporting greats.

I’m flying back from the UK on Saturday to attend the Showjumper's Ball, which takes place in the Killashee Hotel outside Naas and then on Monday next, Horse Sport Ireland are hosting an awards lunch in Croke Park, Dublin.

Check back next Tuesday for all my weekend's news,

Good Warm Up In Snowy Stockholm

Just waiting for our plane home here in snowy Stockholm after the weekend’s jumping. I competed ISHD Dual Star and Ulano with both horses going quite well for their first big International show.

It was good preparation for London Olympia as it is a similar arena with lots of spectators and Christmassy decorated fences, which were quite spooky.

Both my horses didn't mind the atmosphere and jumped well with Dual Star finishing in 3rd place on Sunday in the 1m40 speed class and Ulano finished in 6th place in the Grand Prix with one silly fence down.

This week is a busy week for me with our riders meetings tomorrow, coaching at Karlswood and on Thursday I'm part of a panel in Kilkenny for their show jumping gala night.

Chat soon

Nice end to the home circuit

  • Trebox Acorada in action at Cavan

The grand finale of the Irish show jumping calendar year took place in Cavan last weekend with five days of excellent jumping. I had a good show, winning the two feature classes (click here for full story).

Most of my horses will have a rest for the next 6 weeks until the end of the year. I will however take Ulano, Splendor and Dual Star to my remaining shows at Stockholm, La Coruna and Olympia, all before the end of the year.

Dual Star is a new addition that I purchased last week. She is a 10 yr old mare by Quick Star out of a Concorde mare, bred here in Ireland during the Necarne breeding programme some years ago. I'm thrilled to have her and I hope I can build on the success that she had with her former rider John McLoughlin, who produced her so well.

Its been a remarkable year and it's not over just yet! I'm busy with a few irons in the fire and will be launching a brand new website before Christmas which I'm looking forward to.

December will be a fun a month as we have been invited to many different sports awards evenings which will enjoyable and nice to reflect back on 2012.

Chat soon,

Looking forward to a good weekend in Cavan

  • Trebox Acorada

This week sees the international show taking place in Cavan, the final show of the year here in Ireland. Friday night’s feature event is also the final leg of the Gain/Alltech Grand Prix series in which I’m equal at the top of the leaderboard with Eddie Moloney. I plan to jump Ulano and Dual Star who hopefully can help me clinch the title.

I’ll also take Trebox Acorada and my young horse Sydney. Looking forward to a good week.

Meanwhile, thanks to all of you who have taken the number of Likes on my Facebook page to over 30,000. It’s an amazing figure, considering the relatively short time the page has been up. If you haven’t already joined the Facebook conversation, and would like to see my regular updates, click HERE.

Talk soon,

Caen - a nice warmup!

  • Ross Mulholland and Splendorat Caen last week

The indoor show in Caen was a good warm up for me and the horses ahead of the bigger world cup events at Lyon and Verona next month.

I forgot the unfriendly hours of the indoor shows and how well planned you have to be. The jumping starts at 9 am and last class is 9.30pm. Many of the shows have a two star division to them also which is great as it generates revenue and gives others a chance to compete at top venues.

Ross Mulholland who rides for me, rode two of my horses there and did a super job when winning a class with Da Vinci’s Pride (see news story HERE and video HERE).

I'm back home this week and the horses rest in France before Lyon World Cup the following week.

I had so many kind messages from people in relation to a radio interview my sister Pippa and I did over the weekend with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio1. It was fun to do and nice to have the opportunity to talk openly about our lives in a cool and relaxed environment. If you missed it click HERE for link.

Busy schedule ahead until Christmas with confirmed invitations for Lyon, Verona, Abu Dhabi, Stockholm and London- just need a few more Grand Prix horses!

Well, I’ll keep looking-

Eglington get it right!

  • In action in the Grand Prix

There was something original and fun about last weekend’s show in Eglinton, Derry.

The organisers really manage to put the show back into show jumping by making it entertaining and providing exciting sport which attracts huge crowds. I really believe that it must become a priority for Showjumping Ireland to assist the shows by promoting the upcoming competitions in each locality.

I firmly believe that we are going nowhere until we rekindle the ordinary public's interest in show jumping. It can't be too hard to, say, go around the local estates and hand out flyers about an upcoming show. Local radio and media should also help to get the people out of their homes.

If we get 1000 people to come and watch a Grand Prix and have even 5% who then have a further interest then it will trickle down to all levels.

Eglinton manage this aspect of their show so well. The atmosphere is electric in the tight old fashioned arena. The organisers are welcoming and the spectators enthusiastic. I won the Grand Prix with a new mount Ulano ( see news story) and it was lovely to see so many people after the class who wanted to congratulate me for my London success.

This morning I was privileged to be honoured by my alma mater - Belvedere College. It was a great occasion for me as I hadn’t been back to the school since I finished 14 years ago. I spoke briefly to the pupils about the ups and downs that life throws at us all and the importance of seeking and finding light at the end of the tunnel, something I believe all of us can do.

I'm off to Caen this weekend in France- check back on Monday for more news.

Best wishes,

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