Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog: December, 2008

Olympia - An Amazing Spectacle!

  • The great Rancorrado at Olympia last week

Hi Everyone,

Just recovering from a long week at London's Olympia. It was an amazing show as always and a packed house from Wednesday through to Monday, the first day being dressage and the other five featuring top world class international show jumping.

It was a fantastic show for me, and my horses performed really well. However but for a little bit of extra luck or one pole less it could have been the show of a lifetime! Baloufina was 5th in one of the opening speed events and placed 2nd in the speed final which I have to say was one of the fastest classes I have ever ridden, and it was won by Geoff Luckett who is famous for his genius work against the clock.

Rancorrado performed outstandingly in the main event on Thursday. He was double clear and finished 3rd and went on to win Friday's 1m60 class, beating Philippe Le Jeune into second place. The World Cup class didn't go our way, the time was extremely tight with only two in the first round getting inside the time allowed and as a result I had to rush the horse and to be honest I didn't give him the best of rides and as a result had a couple down.

I was really keen therefore to jump him in the Grand Prix the following day, for I knew I could ride him better, and he was outstanding, jumped superbly but however touched off the second last fence to come home with four faults. This was an expensive plank because if he'd jumped it I would have been fifth in the Grand Prix and also won the Leading Rider which was worth about 14,000 pounds sterling in total. But that's life and you can't dwell on it and I have to be very happy with my week. I mean, two wins, a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth at this level of show is I suppose not bad going!

Karlswood jumped very well in the Puissance to finish fourth on Friday night and Complete came out on Monday to win the 1m50 Table A speed class in great style and really convincingly.

Happy Christmas to everyone. It's great to be home, and I hope you are too.....

Csi Five Star Geneva

Just waiting here on the Aer Lingus flight back to Dublin at 3.45pm. There were no direct flights before now so I had to stay an extra day. This wasn't so bad, because it meant I could catch up on paperwork - schedules for upcoming events and so on.

Geneva is one of the most amazing shows in the world. The arena is massive and has the unusual feature of a lake in the centre which you have to gallop through in the middle of one of the speed classes, which obviously adds a bit of atmosphere to the event. The Palexpo arena is in close proximity to the airport and right next door to the Crown Plaza Hotel, so it makes everything very accessible.

Complete was second in the Grand Prix, Baloufina won the Speed Final and Rancorrado had an unlucky rail down in his first World Cup Qualifier. Overall it was a great show and I was thrilled at the way the horses performed.

I'm off to London on Thursday for the start of Olympia Show, and I'll be taking the same horses as I had here - Complete, Baloufina and Rancorrado, and Karlswood for the Puissance on Friday night. Check the News page for updates.

Hectic Weekend!

  • Rachel Wyse calls me back for my interview at the Awards Ball.
  • My friend and owner Aileen Bryan (right) shares a joke with Finland's Mikaela Waller, who trains with me
  • Denis Flannelly at the dressage demonstration at Kill

Hi Everyone

Just running around like a lunatic trying to get all the office work done before I leave for Geneva. Had a busy but enjoyable weekend. Friday night was the Horse Sport Ireland demonstration at Kill with Gisela, Heike and Erik Holstein. The feedback was very positive with a great number of people in attendance. I really enjoyed doing it. Everyone was very positive, my horses were super and performed really well, and it was great to be able to share knowledge with a lot of enthusiastic horse people who gave up watching tv's Late Late Show to be there!

Saturday night was a bit more relaxed and went on into the early hours. It was the Show Jumpers' Club Awards Ball. I was very honoured to receive an award for winning the Autumn Grand Prix League. I said on the night that this was thanks to my string of horses, the owners who have supported me, and indeed my great team of staff without whom I'd be lost. Rachel Wyse was co-hosting the awards and that got a bit of a laugh as I mistakenly walked off after she'd given me the trophy and she had to call me back for my interview. And then when that was finished she said - "Ok you can go now."

Rachel did a really good job of presenting the night and I think she has a great career ahead of her. I took a table at the ball and invited some of my close friends and some of the gang who work with me. Kilashee House Hotel was the venue. Anyway that's enough socialising for me for a while as I'm off to Geneva to do some real work. I see I'm up to 41st in the Rolex World Rankings and I aim to maximise on that and maybe climb a bit higher. Better get back to work - only 40 more places to go!

Csi Five Star Brussels

  • Every week during the season Cian will update this page with his news and views on life as an international show jumper and will give you some exclusive insights into what he experiences at shows and in competitionCheck back each Monday for updates.

Hi everyone,

I'm just back from a successful outing in Brussels. The horses jumped well and I was very pleased with them all. It was Rancorrado's first major test indoors and even though he had two down in the Grand Prix I was extremely happy at how he performed at this level. He was fifth in the main event, the 1m55 on the Friday night, with a star-studded line-up such as Laura Kraut, Eric Lamaze, Philippe LeJeune and Nick Skelton.

Complete was placed in the two classes he jumped, and this was all the more impressive given that this was his first international show in over three months. Irish Independent Echo Beach performed well, taking 4th place in the 1m50 Accumulator on Saturday. It's quite difficult to step into that level from just doing the national shows in Ireland, and while I won the league and I've done very well here over the last few months I got a great sense of satisfaction from going out there and getting those sort of placings amongst the best in the world.

I mean, you can stay at home all the time in your comfort zone or you can push yourself and raise the bar and hopefully be able to be competitive on the world stage. I feel both the horses and I will come on a lot from the show, and look forward to good performances in Geneva and London over the next few weeks.

The indoor circuit is quite a tough circuit, as you are confined obviously to the indoor space, and unlike the outdoor events where you can take horses out to for a hack or a pick of grass, these shows are mainly based in major cities so obviously you don't have that luxury. Also the days are quite long - for instance on Saturday night the main event didn't start until 10pm and didn't finish until midnight, and on Sunday morning our first class started at 9am so it is very tiring and quite tough on the grooms also.

Having said that, this show was a great spectacle, backstage was very comfortable - plenty of room - and the stables were great and the practice arena was big enough. There was fantastic footing and there were great courses built by the American course designer Conrad Homfeld, so all in all it was a world class show.

The riders were looked after well and put up in Sofitel Louise which is right on the main shopping street in Brussels, and although we didn't get much time to enjoy it, it was very comfortable.

The horses are back home this week and then we head out again to Geneva where I'll take Complete, Rancorrado and Baloufina. This Friday (December 5th) I'm doing a demonstration with Gisela and Heike Holstein on behalf of Horse Sport Ireland at Kill Equestrian Centre starting at 7.30pm, and we'd love to see everyone there. Entry is free, but I'm told over 600 people have registered already, so if you want to be sure of a seat get in touch with Ilona Blunden at Horse Sport Ireland as soon as you can!

The night after this I'll be at the Show Jumpers Ball in Kilashee House Hotel, which should be a fabulous occasion.

Check back here next Monday for more news from my travels...

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