Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog: May, 2011

Rome - Wonderfully Historic Event

  • The picturesque Piazza di Siena showground in Rome

Hey everyone,

I’m just home from a successful show in Rome, both horses performed really well and the Irish team finished 3rd in the Nations Cup, which is brilliant as it keeps us on top of the leaderboard.

I’m home in Ireland for the next week, which is great as it gives me a chance to do some national shows and watch how my young horses are progressing. I take a few weeks off from international duty now, but I will be doing a couple of national shows with K Club Lady.

My next major international event is in Monte Carlo on June 23-25 where I can take two horses, and they will be K Club Lady and Temple Road.

A busy week ahead at home, so check back after the bank holiday for more news.

A Week Is A Long Time In Show Jumping!

  • Lady Chryss O'Reilly with Queen Elizabeth at the Irish National Stud last week

Hey everyone

A lot has happened in the past week. Ireland was the host to both the Queen of England and President Obama - both visits were handled extremely well and looked well for Ireland worldwide.

I sold Larkhill Cruiser, my Super League horse from La Baule and was second in the Grand Prix last Sunday in my first show with Temple Road - and Ruth has set up a Facebook page for me!! It's all go.

Larkhill Cruiser has been a wonderful horse for me and I've no doubt will be very successful for his new rider Abdullah al Sharbatly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who will be keeping the Irish flag flying in arenas throughout the world.

Shane Carey produced Temple Road (pictured left), a nine year old gelding, for me over the last two years. Pforzheim last weekend was my first international outing with the horse and he jumped superbly in the Grand Prix. We were double clear and finished second. He is probably the most careful horse I have ever ridden and will do some very big things, very shortly.

Temple Road, Splendor, Ballymore Eustace and Onira left Frankfurt last night for Rome, and we start jumping there on Thursday. Today I'm just chilling and catching up on emails.

I have succumbed to the pressure of Facebook and you can check it out on this link.

Check back next week for more news, and I'm told there are 220 days to my wedding - it's great to be busy!

Best wishes,

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of!

  • The winning team at La Baulefrom left: Cameron Hanley, Shane Sweetnam, Robert Splaine, myself and Billy Twomey

Hey everyone,

I'm back at base in Frankfurt, and it's just sinking in now of the great job we all did as part of the Irish team last Friday in La Baule. When you think of the level of horsepower the other teams had there, and the fact that on paper prior to the competition nobody would have fancied us for the top three, it was really an amazing achievement all round.

Over the last few years, Robert Splaine our Chef d'Equipe has really found his feet and has become  so experienced at the job that he really trusts his top riders. Robert had never before seen me jumping with Larkhill Cruiser in the flesh and it was not my original plan to jump him in the Nations' Cup, but rather the Derby. However, following the first round of the big class on the opening day, Joey jumped it so easy and impressively that Robert asked me if I would make him available for the Nations' Cup.

It was a brave call on his part, but the horse had answered every question I had ever asked of him so far, so I thought - why not? In the Nations' Cup itself Shane Sweetnam was our pathfinder and did a great job to jump around with only one time fault in the first round and one fence down in the second. Billy Twomey was as cool as ever, and produced two 4 fault rounds from a very new horse to his string, Romanov, who I've no doubt will go on to jump many big classes with Billy.

Cameron Hanley jumped a super clear in the first round which was crucial as it put us in equal second at the halfway stage. Larkhill Cruiser (pictured left) had one fence down in the first round, and in the end his second round clear proved vital as Cameron coming last to go had a discard score.

The Belgians then had a fence in hand and luckily for us Jos Lansink knocked both parts of the combination and had a time fault to leave us the winners of the opening leg of the FEI Nations' Cup.

We almost couldn't believe it, which just goes to show you when people are focused on one target and work together to achieve that goal, anything is possible.

It's a great boost for the season to have 10 points on the league table so early on and hopefully at least a few placings in the next couple of rounds will keep us in a great position. The victory in La Baule clearly proves what many have said all along - that Ireland is full of talented riders. Indeed, in the Nations' Cup competition itself they were all top riders - the crucial difference was that some were hungrier than others!

I fly home to Ireland tomorrow night, where I will be working with Dr. Andrew McLean to perform a demonstration on Thursday. The day starts at 2pm in the Snailbox pub in Co. Meath and then continues until 8pm at the adjacent Karlswood Stables. Tickets can be got on the gate on the day. Click here and contact Orla for more information.

This weekend coming I compete at the three star in Pforzheim, Germany. Check back next weekend for more news.

Best wishes,

Fit And Ready!

  • Horse heaven!

Hey everyone,

I'm writing to you from one of the most beautiful places in the world. I'm staying as a guest of my Spanish friend Rafy, at the farm where he is employed in Normandy, in France.

It's quite simply like horse heaven. I decided to come here for five days prior to La Baule to work on myself and my horses to be in the best possible shape for the show next week. I, as most people know, am quite self confident but it's also great to have someone knowledgeable on the ground to offer advice and help me work my horses.

I find Rafy to be a super trainer and all round horseman. As he himself rode dressage before, his emphasis on the flat work is huge and I found the last number of days so beneficial. Also when I'm riding at home there are always distractions. Someone comes to see me or the phone rings but when I'm working with someone on the ground it allows me to take time for myself and to focus on my riding which I believe is the best way for me to prepare for the opening leg of the Super League series next week.

In addition Rafy is a fitness freak and brings me to his own gym each evening! Ruth reckons it will be the making of me but thinks I need five months not five days!

We head to La Baule Tuesday evening where the vet check gets underway, Wednesday. I take Splendor, Larkhill Cruiser and Trebox Acorada. I will be aiming Larkhill Cruiser at Saturday's feature Derby event and I'm really hoping for a successful show- one thing I can say is that I have prepared myself in the best way I know so after that at least it wasn't for the lack of trying!!


Maubeuge - Nothing To Write Home About!

  • Trebox Acorada

Hey everyone

I’ve just arrived to the new stable that I'm basing at for the summer near Frankfurt. It was just a three hour drive from Maubeuge in France.

Mark and Jessica are already here with K Club Lady, Ballymore Eustace and Onira. Frenchy comes tonight with Larkhill Cruiser, Acorada and Splendor. It'll be like a home from home!

The opening day in Maubeuge all the horses jumped great. I just schooled Splendor and Acorada in the small classes and Joey had a fence down in the big class which left me just two places outside qualifying for the Grand Prix. I wasn't too upset as I had just planned to use it as a building up show to La Baule in two weeks’ time. Today in the 1m40 Splendor again jumped a super clear and Acorada placed fourth in the same class.

Most places aren't nice when its raining but this spot took the biscuit. After doing so many top shows perhaps one gets spoilt but the ground in the warm up ring was simply not safe to warm up on. So much so I didn't even start two of the classes on Saturday.

Like most small towns in France the hotel was moderate at best! So suffice to say it won't be on our shortlist for the honeymoon!!!

I will work here near Frankfurt for the next week and then the show moves to La Baule.

Check back next Sunday to see how our first week in Germany went.


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