Cian O'Connor
Olympic Bronze Medallist

Cian's Blog: 2015

From Doha to Lier, with Rio in mind

  • Super Sox placed 3rd in 1.45m on opening day at GCT Doha
  • Super Sox showing off!

Hey Guys,

I’m writing to you on my flight from Doha to Brussels. The Global Tour final marked the end of the outdoor season for most of us. A fabulous venue and a wonderful show in every way. The Global Tour has really raised the profile of the sport on a global level and offers a wonderful spectacle and package for the sponsors involved to enjoy. I must say it’s been 7 weeks since I jumped a show of that level which was in Barcelona and unwittingly am at a disadvantage to those doing it more frequently. It’s all about horses and my current plan is to keep building my team of horses so I can get into the top 30 in the Longines World Rankings by next summer which will allow me automatic access to the Global Tour shows.

Good Luck has learned a lot in our first year together and now he will get a nice two month break in Florida ahead of next season. We have developed a good partnership together and I feel that next season a lot of the greenness will have been ironed out and he will really hit the ground running! It’s important to aim him at the biggest courses with the biggest prize money as there is no track he can’t jump. The final of the Global Champion’s Tour was not ideal in that the time allowed was so short, it forced me to gallop very early on which meant the horse was open and long, and then when I ran deep to the third last the horse was out the front door! I have always felt that top level should be a jumping test with a neat time allowed but in fact it was not as big as I would have hoped and nowhere on the course had you time to add a stride or regroup. I won’t over jump him in Florida next year as the focus is solely on getting him to Rio.

Before the year ends it looks like we will have our hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in relation the to the Aachen incident. I’m extremely confident that we will win that case with the end result being Horse Sport Ireland being awarded a team place for Ireland at the Rio Olympics.

Next weekend I jump at the 2 star show in Lier, Belgium where I take Saphir, Under Fire and Sam du Challois.

Follow me on Facebook for updates.

Best Wishes,

Aga Khan win is the perfect prep!

Hey Everyone,
Dublin Horse Show is a highlight for most competitors but for the Irish it’s much more than that. The team of Bertram, Greg, myself and Darragh performed even better than we looked on paper. The Dublin leg marked my 100th cap on the Irish team so to win it was very special! 

In those 100 caps we've had some good performances and some not so good - all for various reasons! But prior to the Nations Cup in Dublin there was a confidence that we could win. When you have a likeminded group of guys all wanting the same goal and working solely towards winning the Nations Cup it makes a huge difference. Enthusiasm from all creates team spirit, and a willingness to help each other, backed by a manager who believes in each of us, culminates in what I believe is the beginning of a winning formula.

We all travel to Aachen next week with Denis Lynch also in the squad with All Star who was 7th at the world games last year individually and also has decent current form this season too. Any Team of 4 riders needs a strong squad and we probably have 6 or 7 decent combinations all capable of doing a good job. This strength is very promising for the future success of the team.

Winning is a habit which is good to practise and like a good football team when you win then you expect to win - you get on a roll. Olympic qualification is the most important task next week in Aachen where we have to finish in the top 3 of the non-qualified teams but ultimately if we aim to win a medal then we can kill two birds with the one stone!

The arena in Dublin is very similar to Aachen so both for the horses and the riders it should act as the perfect prep!

Follow the updates on Team Ireland Facebook and indeed my own page.

Chat soon,


That time of year again!

The build up to Dublin reminds of me Christmas - there is always great excitement. I have just got back home with my staff and clients, having been on tour since last December. It's nice to be back in Ireland as there is no place like home. This weekend we will jump some of the horses at the South County Dublin show in Coilog to give them their final run before Dublin.

I take Good Luck, Coco, Aramis and Ikkea to Dublin. I feel it's a decent string and all have the ability and form to win a class. I'll post regular updates on my Facebook page throughout the show so please check it out here and like the page if you haven’t already!

Chat soon,

Another year!

  • Nations Cup
  • Louise Mullen with her three kids on her birthday a few years ago
  • Sneak Preview:Karlswood's proposed new truck!

Hey Everyone,

It’s been a quiet few months for me on the competition front and I'm so looking forward to heading to Florida right after Christmas. Christmas is a lovely time of the year, a time for families to be together and support one another. This year will be our first Christmas without my mum so that will be a little different but we are lucky to have her watching over us.

I think I have found some of the best horses that I've ever had in my career (Meet The Stars here). It's tough when you have to constantly find the balance between business, sport and family life in equal measure. This year I feel I gave a lot of attention to the first and the latter and for several reasons did not excel in the sport sense to my usual high standard. But as a good friend of mine told me recently, I have time on my side in relation to the sport, while the success in my business dealings and a positive family life will be the foundation of the next 50 years !!

Sourcing, producing and selling elite horses have become something that I specialize in but like others in the same boat we become victims of our own success. If you sell the flagship it's obviously a positive from a monetary point of view, but it's next to impossible to have the next Grand Prix horse waiting in the wings. 

I've been very fortunate over the years to have some great owners who supported me with top horses and this is an area that I must continue to develop in order to stay at the top of the sport. I want more medals and therefore I know now that I need to work even harder than I did 10 years ago because the demands are more and it’s vital to keep the skill level up. 

Last month I found what I think is one of the best horses I've ever sat on - an 8 yr old stallion called Good Luck. I am so grateful to Nikki Walker and her family for their support in securing this superstar and I have also built a nice team of horses to go along with him. It doesn't happen overnight. Last time with Blue Loyd I got him just 7 months before the Olympics and now we have 18 months to Rio 2016!! Planning is everything. Of course, all plans don't come off but they have no chance if they don't exist!

In 2015 I will be focusing on having a top class group of international horses to ride and I’m always looking for new additions. I will coach my students and continue to develop young horses for the international market together with Ross Mulholland, who competes for me at Karlswood. We will be rebranding our logo and colours which you can see now on the site and I'm expecting my new Roelofsen horse truck in March 2015 - also in our new colours. We are getting closer to developing an equestrian facility to be named Karlswood Farm with plans being currently developed.

I really feel blessed to have a great team of people working for me at Karlswood. They all play their part and are so important to our success.

This year coming we have a number of staff changes and I'm very grateful to those who have put in so much work over the past 12 months and I'm genuinely excited about my team as we all will be striving for a vibrant and positive working atmosphere in 2015, which will hopefully yield further success. 

I will keep you posted with pictures and videos from Florida through this website and my Facebook page. Please like my page - I want to reach 100k likes by this time next year!

I better go before I set any more goals!! 

Season’s greetings- good health and happiness to you all for 2015!

Best Wishes,

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