Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog: October, 2012

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,

China - a wonderful experience

  • Speaking at the National Day School in Beijing with Ronan Tynan.

It was an incredible experience to visit China for my first time last week.

I was invited by the organising committee to compete at the World Cup show in Beijing International Equestrian Club. It's a tremendous facility whose equestrian operations are well guided under the capable hands of Irishman Austin Melia.

During my stay I taught some of the club’s young riders and walked the courses and advised other local riders, enthusiastic to learn.

The great Irish tenor Ronan Tynan was also performing during the event as he sung at the opening ceremony.

Ronan and I were asked by the show to speak at Beijing National Day School to over 700 students on our experiences in life and how we both managed to come out on top despite setbacks.

This was extremely well received and we were both nearly mobbed at the conclusion of the talk as the kids wanted to speak to us and get posters signed!

As there are still quarantine issues in China regarding re-exporting horses it was not possible to fly in our own horses and thanks to Austin Melia I was riding a lovely grey mare called Wavanta.

It took a few classes to gel together but for the final day of the show we knew each other well.( See news story HERE.) We were the only double clear of the competition, becoming the first non Chinese national to win the FEI World Cup in the People’s Republic of China.

Home now for two weeks ahead of my indoor campaign which then gets underway in Caen France.

I'm also delighted to learn this week that Blue Loyd is one of the world's best horses. On his results he is placed 12th in the world, making him the highest ranked horse competed by an Irish rider. See the story HERE.

Best Wishes,

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