Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog: December, 2012

Ready for a break!

2012 has without doubt been the best year of my life for so many reasons! Tonight we have just finished up at the London Horse Show. Olympia is unique in the atmosphere it creates which certainly makes me try harder. I love competing in front of a packed crowd and with the excellent TV coverage the show receives, there is great sense of people getting into the sport and following it each day which is so important in my view. I have received hundreds of messages this week for which I'm so grateful.

Some horses will come home for a break and others will rest here in the UK ahead of their flight to Dubai on St Stephen's Day. Michael Duffy and I will start competing in the UAE on January 10th, 2013. The horses, staff and Ruth and I will be glad of our break!

It has been a hugely successful year for me personally and professionally and I will enjoy reflecting on it with family and friends over the festive season.

Season’s greetings,

Olympia Diary, 2012 (Sat 22 Dec)

The penultimate day at London was full of excitement. Marc Houtzager from Holland with the brilliant Tamino took the honours in the world cup while Ulano found the tight arena and electric atmosphere all a bit much so we retired to save for another day. This evening’s Ivy Stakes 1.60m class was very big and I entered Dual Star, as Splendor was resting ahead of tomorrow’s GP. I decided to walk the course and then decide if I would jump her as she has no experience bigger than 1.40m really! I thought that she jumped so well on Friday in the big speed finishing third that she should be able for it. She warmed up so well and has grown so much in confidence this week. She jumped an amazing double clear and was only 0.07 slower than the winner to finish up in a very credible second place. It's been an amazing week and let's see how Splendor goes in tomorrow’s GP.

Olympia Diary, 2012 (Fri 21 Dec)

Another great day at Olympia. Splendor won the 1m60 Santa Stakes. There were 28 starters and 7 in the jump off, I was 2nd to go with some very fast riders behind me but I just did a neat clear round and it paid off. This was the class I won 2 years ago with Splendor and he really is on form this week. Tomorrow he will have a day off with the Grand Prix on Sunday to finish, so hopefully he goes well.

ISHD Dual Star stepped up to the mark today when jumping an amazing fast clear round at her ease in the 1m50 speed finishing in 3rd place behind Ben Maher and Marcus Ehning. Tomorrow Ulano jumps the World Cup and Dual Star will be jumping in the 1m55 jump off class tomorrow night. Hopefully the luck stays on our side!

Olympia Diary, 2012 (Wed 19 Dec)

  • Splendor winning the Christmas Pudding Stakes at the Olympia

It's a great show here in London as always. For me it's quite simply the best indoor show in the world.

For some reason I tend to be really up for every class and also try that bit harder myself as you know so many show jumping enthusiasts especially from home are either in the public or glued to the live coverage! For instance in the jump off with Splendor tonight, I hadn't really planned on turning that tight back to the double but I got a rush of blood to the head and it came off! Splendor loves this arena and has won here previously so I was thrilled that we were able to win the feature 1.50m jump off class on the opening day.

It was fun to make history!

  • Cian makes history in Croke Park

Yesterday Horse Sport Ireland held an awards lunch in Croke Park and acknowledged all those who flew the flag with honour and success in 2012. I was thrilled to have been awarded at the event and as the madness has finally abated it’s the first time really that I've been able to look back and reflect on the magical pictures from London.

Full credit to HSI's CEO Damian McDonald for having the brainwave of me re-enacting my bronze medal win over an Olympics replica jump on the sacred ground of Croke Park (see video here).

It was great to see Minister Leo Varadkar there yesterday to present the awards and while I fully accept the shortage of funds in the coffers, the value that the horse sport industry is worth to the exchequer cannot be ignored. Investment in further education of our equestrians, coaching, business and media management courses will all reap rewards in the long run for the continuation of the success of the industry. A rising tide lifts all boats – we’ve done our job in the arena now let’s see others step up to the mark!!

Olympia starts tomorrow. Check out my Facebook page for daily updates.

Best wishes,

Feast or a famine!

Hey Everyone,

Sometimes everything happens at once and that's a bit how it is in my world right now! Only recently Ruth and I secured a beautiful house and farm in County Meath where we plan to develop and build all our equestrian needs over the next year.

Blue Loyd has been sold and I will miss him dearly - he is without doubt the greatest horse I have ever ridden and I owe him so much for what he has done for my career over the past twelve months, culminating in an Olympic medal.

This weekend I'm competing in Hartpury College in the UK in preparation for London, Olympia which gets underway next Wednesday.

It's the time of the year for award dinners which are always fun and give everyone the chance to reflect and enjoy the precious moments. Last Monday night I was honoured to have been awarded at the Bank of Ireland Sport's Awards and it was a real thrill to be on the same stage with some of Ireland's sporting greats.

I’m flying back from the UK on Saturday to attend the Showjumper's Ball, which takes place in the Killashee Hotel outside Naas and then on Monday next, Horse Sport Ireland are hosting an awards lunch in Croke Park, Dublin.

Check back next Tuesday for all my weekend's news,

Good Warm Up In Snowy Stockholm

Just waiting for our plane home here in snowy Stockholm after the weekend’s jumping. I competed ISHD Dual Star and Ulano with both horses going quite well for their first big International show.

It was good preparation for London Olympia as it is a similar arena with lots of spectators and Christmassy decorated fences, which were quite spooky.

Both my horses didn't mind the atmosphere and jumped well with Dual Star finishing in 3rd place on Sunday in the 1m40 speed class and Ulano finished in 6th place in the Grand Prix with one silly fence down.

This week is a busy week for me with our riders meetings tomorrow, coaching at Karlswood and on Thursday I'm part of a panel in Kilkenny for their show jumping gala night.

Chat soon

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