Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog: November, 2009

Meeting Myself Coming Back!

  • Pictured at one of my previous workshops

Hey everyone, it's been quite a busy schedule since I wrote last. We recovered and tidied up from the party, then I spent a few days in Dubai and coaching over the weekend in Helsinki and only home in Ireland for the day today.

I suppose it's good to be busy but sometimes you get the feeling that you'll meet yourself in the airport coming back! Tomorrow I'm giving a clinic in the UK, before meeting back up with my horses Rancorrado, Complete and Splendor, whom I jump in Maastricht, Holland this weekend. The horses have been rested over the past two weeks to have them in the best possible shape for an action-packed schedule that I've planned at some of the most prestigious shows in the world, which I intend to do over the next month.

I've also been planning January of next year, where along with Johnny and Liam I've designed a new workshop at Karlswood. I'm also giving demonstration evenings in Sligo and Killarney. Click here to find out more about both.

Best wishes,

A Night To Remember

  • Me with my sisters Pippa and Susanna and my dad Tadhg

All my family and friends gathered for a great night at Waterside Stud on Friday, where we had a big marquee erected to celebrate my 30th birthday.

It was a fantastic night, and we had super music from Pete Fagan and his band, while special thanks must also go to Jim Kiely from Kerry, who kept everyone entertained long into the early hours with his wonderful piano music.

I'm really too tired to write any more, but if you want to see some of the pictures from the party, just click HERE

Check back next week for more news.

Best wishes,

Verona - A Show Steeped In History

  • Echo Beach - 2nd at Verona on Saturday. Cian says: The mare has fantastic consistency, placing 2nd in the Grand Prix Qualifier at Tripoli and then going on to win the Grand Prix at the same eventThen coming here to Verona to place 2nd proves that she is the one who's paying for the diesel!

I've just come back from the World Cup show in Verona, a city that was not only the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but has also been a trading centre since the time of the Romans. This tradition was maintained at the weekend with acres of trade stands in the exhibition centre where you could buy anything from a cow to a helicopter. There was a record attendance of 153,000 people over the course of the show. I've quite honestly never seen anything like it.

From the jumping point of view the competition was good, the courses built by international course builder and former American competitor Conrad Homfeld. Rancorrado performed well all weekend - he was clear in the big class on Saturday but I decided not to jump him off and save him for the World Cup show the following day.

I feel sometimes you can't have ten goals and while it didn't pay off in this instance I think it was still the best decision to have the horse in the best frame of mind for Sunday. In the World Cup competition he had an early fence down and coming towards the last line he uncharacteristically veered left rather than right, and I think I did well to stay on!

I then had to turn him round in the direction I wanted to go, pick up a canter and pop the biggest fence on the course, the triple combination, which he jumped with ease. I'm not quite sure if he spooked or if he was just responding to my left rein. I was merely asking him to stay straight but he thought I meant him to take a sharp left.

Despite not having crossed our tracks the judges gave us four faults for 'resisting to go forward'. We also incurred two time faults, so this gave me a score of ten but realistically we only had a fence down. I have to say the horse probably jumped better than he did the previous week, but that's just sport - sometimes you need a bit of luck.

I've a busy schedule planned over the next six weeks and I feel that Rancorrado and I have been knocking on the door and I believe we will win something big before Christmas.

Echo Beach jumped superbly each day, picking up 2nd place in the world ranking speed class on Saturday afternoon.

It was nice to see the news of the new Rolex World Ranking list published this week, where I had moved up to my highest place ever, ironically to 30th, in the week where I celebrate my 30th birthday.

This Saturday afternoon coming I'll be at Thoroughbred Remedies' store in the Curragh from one to three to meet fellow enthusiasts, so please come along. I've no shows for a fortnight now, the next one being Maastricht, starting on November 26th.

But please check back next week for more news.

Best wishes,

Lyon - A Show To Remember

  • Rancorrado (Left) and Complete in action at Lyon

The CSI 5* World Cup Show at Lyon was an amazing spectacle. The main arena was spacious, had great crowds, and with the best riders and horses in the world present, each competition was outstanding.

I must say it was one of the most competitive shows I've ever been to. This was largely due to the good prize funds on offer and the fact that every class carried world ranking points. On the opening day I had a late draw with Complete in the 1.45/1m50 2-phase where he shaved over one-and-a-half seconds off the very fast French rider Patrice Delaveau and scorched to victory.

It gave me a great boost at the start of the week and I was absolutely over the moon the following evening when Rancorrado jumped two clear rounds in an amazingly fast jump off to land me the double.

On Sunday was the World Cup Qualifier where Rancorrado unluckliy rubbed off the third last jump for four faults. This was his first indoor show, having had a break since Calgary, and it just goes to show the calibre of a horse he is to come here and take on and beat some of the best combinations in the world.

Robert Splaine, Irish Team Manager, travelled out to keep his eye on the Irish riders and it was great to have him there on hand to advise on the various technicalities of the courses. I'll be at home now for a few days, but the same horses travel down to Verona where I will join them on Friday for the World Cup show there.

Check back next week for an update from Italy.

Best wishes,

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