Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog

Blue Loyd Arrives At Karlswood

  • Blue Loyd in his new home

Hey everyone,

Sorry it’s been a while but a lot going on presently but its all good!! As you can see from the picture I'm very excited about the arrival of a new superstar to Karlswood.

Just last Sunday night Blue Loyd, 11 year old bay gelding by "Landor S" arrived safely in Ireland from Norway. Formerly competed by Norwegian Nina Braaten, Blue Loyd has been impressive in all that was asked of him over the past year.

Last winter he was clear in several World Cups, then this season he jumped clear in the Nations’ Cup at the European championships in Madrid. Only last month in Oslo he jumped all three big classes clear.

I've had my eye on him for some time and I’m both thrilled and excited about actually having him in my yard. Blue Loyd will really boost my string of horses and be a great lead horse for Carpe Diem, Ballymore Eustace, Everything and O'Connell Street to follow in behind.

I plan to just do three more indoor shows this year, the first of them being a four star show in Salzburg Austria, beginning on December 1, which will be my first outing with Blue Loyd.

It’s amazing in this game how one wonderful animal can boost morale and alter one’s whole outlook on the season ahead. I'm very lucky to have been able to source this horse and very appreciative to those who have helped me make it happen!

i'm writing this to you aboard the Etihad night flight to Abu Dhabi. I'm giving a week long clinic in the U.A.E. and also have some pupils who are competing at the Global Tour Final in Abu Dhabi over the weekend.

Check back next week for more news.

Best wishes,

Two Busy Weeks!

  • John Hickey and Cactus winning the bareback Puissance at Oslo

Hey everyone, just home for a few days following two busy weeks at Birmingham and Oslo. The horses were a bit greener indoors and it takes time to adapt both for them and us as riders.

Oslo was beautiful but boy was it expensive! Taxis ,alcohol, almost everything 40 per cent more expensive than here. The horses jumped super. Everything was clear in Friday’ s feature 1.50 metre class which was an amazing achievement for a seven year old.

Carpe Diem was clear in the Grand Prix but picked up a single time fault. In the World Cup qualifier he just had one down which I was thrilled with, as it's his first World Cup ever.

The horses stable with John Hickey, now in Sweden, who won the bareback Puissance at the show in style.

I love Puissances and John is a real specialist, not moving an inch over 2.05 metres!! Fantastic achievement for him and interesting to note over 1000 likes on Team Ireland Equestrian’s Facebook page of John’s picture clearing the wall without a saddle. It captures the imagination of people in and out of the sport, which we all need to do more of.

The horses travel from there up to Helsinki for the next show where hopefully we can get in the ribbons.

Check back next week for more news.

Best wishes,

Barcelona - One Of The Greatest!

  • The Real Club de Polo as seen from the air

Hey, everyone.

I forgot just how good this historic show is, set in the middle of Barcelona city in the beautiful Real Polo Club.

Both my horses were in great form and earned their keep. Ballymore Eustace was second and sixth in the middle classes and Carpe Diem was second in the Grand Prix qualifier and fifth in the Grand Prix. Im so happy how he’s developing as it was still only our third show together.

The main topic of conversation over there from my international peers was how devastating it is that Ireland didn't qualify for London. It’s a topic I have tried hard to keep my opinions to myself on as I don’t feel it is helpful to the sport to add fuel to the fire.

However, when one comes home to hear and read the tripe and spin, from even some of the riders, it really sickens me. Head down for the moment but at some stage it may be necessary to lay out the facts to put an end to the gross inaccuracy and misinformation that is being thrown about presently.

Im so excited to be going away tomorrow for a week’s holidays away from horses. Im sure after two days I’ll be itching to get back but it’s nice to re- charge the batteries now and again!!

On my return I travel to the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham and I will keep you posted how that goes

Best wishes,

Madrid - A Real Shame

It was a great shame that Ireland were unable to qualify last week in Madrid for the London Olympics.

We must take a serious look at ourselves and figure out a way to work towards achieving medals at championships. Ireland has several riders in the top 100 in the world ranking and individually our results are superlative, this has not however made us a team that other nations fear.

Ireland will possibly have two individual slots at the London games and I would welcome clear and transparent rules in place that gives everyone with a potential Olympic horse the chance to qualify, as opposed to the positions going to the people with the highest world ranking, i.e., the people with the most horses who do the most shows.

This Wednesday I fly to Barcelona where I compete with Carpe Diem and Ballymore Eustace.

Check back over the weekend to see how we got on.


Gijon - A Class Show

  • Carpe Diem in action at Gijon

Hey everyone, I’m writing this in Madrid airport on my way home from Gijon. It was a super show as always and without doubt one of my favourites.

The facilities were excellent, the packed crowds who love their gambling created a wonderful atmosphere and the artistic fences designed by resident course designer Avelino Rodriguez Miravalles rounded off the perfect spectacle.

My horses all jumped great. Ballymore Eustace has really developed this summer and was clear all three days in 1m45 classes and placed third and sixth. Splendor was unlucky in the Grand Prix qualifier, having the fastest time but sadly lowering the second last. He went on to finish eighth in the Grand Prix, having a fence down in both rounds but jumped well and will be ready for Madrid should anything happen to anyone else and if we should be required.

Carpe Diem jumped outstanding all week. I aimed him at the main class on Sunday where he jumped a double clear in classy style. He's an exciting animal who I’m really looking forward to big things from.

Back to Karlswood for the week and help my team get organised for Cavan which start next Tuesday. My horses have two weeks break ahead of Barcelona.

Best wishes,

Spring Clean In Autumn!

  • Exercising at Karlswood

Hey everyone,

It has been nice to be at home for the past few weeks. Apart from the fact that so much travelling can become a pain, being in the stable every day gives me a chance to get on top of things and steer the ship back on course!

Having over 40 horses in work is a huge undertaking and from time to time it’s important to take stock, in more ways than one!

We have made some changes at Karlswood in terms of the staff and the services we offer to our livery clients. I will be doing a new page on this site about this in the coming weeks but in essence the courtyard of 23 stables is being run solely as an upmarket livery yard where we offer top class service in a world class facility.

We had a good day yesterday in Boswell where Goldex won the 1m30 speed and Everything who won the Boomerang final in Millstreet the previous week was second in the Grand Prix.

Next Friday the horses travel to Gijon, which begins the following week. I take Ballymore Eustace, Splendor and Carpe Diem.

Best wishes,

A Lovely Week In Green Glens

Hey everyone,

Often the week right after the Dublin show can be a bit depressing as the hype abates.

This year we took no break and packed the trucks with 13 horses and four riders and headed for Millstreet. We cleaned up.

Mark won the Accumulator with Rocco and I was second with Goldex. Deane was runner up with Captain Rossi in the four year old National Discovery final. Everything won the Boomerang qualifier and final. Onira was fourth in the Derby and Ballymore Eustace and Carpe Diem were first and second in the Grand Prix. It was really a great show.

Millstreet has always been a lucky show for me and this latest visit was a reminder just how special the place is. It's by far one of the finest equestrian facilities in the country and it would be great to see it being used to its full capacity and appreciated by the wider equestrian community.

I’m home for two weeks now and will jump next Sunday at Boswell Equestrian Centre in Co. Wicklow.

Best wishes

Dublin - You Can't Beat It!

  • In action at the RDS with Splendor

Everyone is saying that the Dublin Horse Show is among the best two international shows in the world. For me it is the best.

I just love everything about it. It's great to see and meet so many enthusiastic equestrian fans flock in droves to enjoy themselves. It's a busy and very tiring week for me but despite not having my biggest guns I was knocking on the door in all three major classes with Splendor.

Shooting Star was sixth in the speed on the opening day and Onira tied for equal second in the Puissance.

Splendor was clear in the main event on Wednesday and was double clear and fifth on Thursday. Following these two results he was in fact leading the qualification list for Sunday's Grand Prix.

The Grand Prix itself was a serious track. Fourteen fences, 17 jumping efforts with the difficult treble combination coming right at the end. Splendor skipped around at ease and I would take all blame for knocking fence three as I wasn't straight enough. He really felt that he has reached a new level, which I'm really pleased about.

This week I head to Millstreet to get some of my new horses out and following that I will be making a show plan until Christmas.

Best Wishes,

Ready For Action!

  • Casper jumping the Puissance wall at the RDS

Hey everyone,

I hope you're looking forward to the Dublin show as much as I am.

It gets underway this Wednesday and I must say, I can't wait. I ride Splendor, Shooting Star, Ballymore Eustace and Onira.

Unfortunately I'm not on the team this time but I look forward to supporting the lads and trying to be as competitive as I can in the other classes.

All my horses feel in good shape and are healthy and very fit which is vital prior to such a long show.

Today the horses will just be lightly ridden on the flat and then they head into the RDS on Tuesday morning. The vet inspection is on in the afternoon and we generally just get settled in and plan the schedule for the following day. We stay in the Four Seasons for the duration which is one of the best things about the show! The hotel is literally in the showgrounds, which is so handy.

I feel each of my horses have the potential to win a class which would be amazing. Who knows, but it’s good to aim high!

This will be my 14th year jumping in the international classes at Dublin and eight of those times I’ve been on the team.

The planning and preparation are complete so now I’m trying to take it a little easier so that I’m relaxed and fresh for the week ahead.

Check back during the week for my Dublin diary

Best wishes,

Productive Week Gone Past

  • The picturesque setting at Chantilly

Hey everyone,

I’m writing from Montabaur in Frankfurt where my gang has been based for the summer.

It's been fun and productive but we are all ready for home. It's been a great week on the shopping front as the new eight year old that I bought in Belgium has arrived and feels really good. In addition a horse I had been watching for some time jumped superbly in Aachen and I managed to get him bought. It's an exciting horse that you will be seeing shortly!

Mark left for the show in Gera, Germany today with some students and will compete there for the weekend. My horses leave for Chantilly tomorrow for the Global Champions Tour and I drive there also and then drive my car on home, which i brought out from Ireland in April.

A lot of logistics to work out and I’m indebted to my super staff who make everything possible.

Looking forward to competing at the RDS and the week before the Grand Prix at South County Show in Coilog.

Check back after Chantilly for more news.

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