World of Showjumping
Menu

This week

Coming weeks

CSI5*/CSI2* St. Tropez ...
France

CSI4* Coapexpan
Mexico

CSI4*-W Tetouan
Morocco

CSI4*-W Sacramento, Rancho ...
USA

CSI3* Oliva
Spain

CSI3* Lexington, Horse ...
USA

CSI3* Birmingham
Great Britain

CSI3* Cluny
France

CSI3*/CSI2* Greenwich
USA

CSI2* Wroclaw, Partynice
Poland

CSI2* Tryon
USA

CSI2* Gorla Minore
Italy

CSI2* Sentower Park
Belgium

CSI2* Bonheiden
Belgium

CSI2* Wiener Neustadt ...
Austria

Cian O’Connor invests in the future: “The fire is still burning inside me for the top sport”

Wednesday, 04 May 2022
Interview

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “I’m passionate about the Olympics, and after my individual bronze medal from London and the 7th place finish in Tokyo I’m looking at 2024 and 2028 aiming for gold,” O'Connor says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping 

 


 

Cian O’Connor is fresh back from the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, and has in recent weeks been making waves by adding some exciting new horses to his team. The 9-year-old Crack 41 (Christian 25 x Conway 13), the 14-year-old C Vier (Cardento x Concorde) and the 8-year-old Tailormade Chalou Sare (Chaloubet x Sandro Boy) – now renamed Kinsale – have over the last two weeks all arrived in Ireland to join O’Connor’s team at Karlswood Stables. 

O’Connor’s Karlswood base in Dublin is a world-class, high-performance centre with all the modern facilities one could dream of, with state-of-the-art arenas as well as a spa, aqua treadmill and a salt room – it really has been built and developed with the sole aim of providing the best care for the horses, and with attention to every detail. “Over the last number of years, completing Karlswood and developing our students has been my main goal and I’m pleased to say that together with a huge background team we have managed to achieve both,” O’Connor says. “With my focus elsewhere, I have been competing a lot less than in former years, but nonetheless thanks to Kilkenny we finished 7th last year at the Olympics.”

Photo © Brendan Moran/Sportsfile O’Connor’s Karlswood base in Dublin is a world-class, high-performance centre with all the modern facilities one could dream of, with state-of-the-art arenas as well as a spa, aqua treadmill and a salt room – it really has been built and developed with the sole aim of providing the best care for the horses, and with attention to every detail. Photos © Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

As everyone in the industry will attest to, it has become increasingly difficult to find horses ready to compete at a higher level. Consequently, many top riders and stables buy the horses younger to develop them for the top sport themselves. O’Connor’s Karlswood is no different, and over the last years many young talents have found their way to the Irish 42-year-old’s stable. “I’m fortunate to have strong support from both my family and my wider Karlswood team and together with great partners I would over the next number of years like to build a team of horses to compete at the highest level – not only for myself, but also for my students, as well as my riders who work with us to produce these horses. Together with my students and partners Max and Tom Wachman, it’s my goal to source the best young horses we can find and develop them slowly towards the top sport so we potentially will have a large number of 8-10-year-olds coming through each year,” O’Connor explains. “We have a 5-10-year plan for this project. While we would like to build a team of horses for ourselves to be able to compete at the highest level, we additionally hope to become a significant player as a trading stable in the world market. We want to have enough horses to compete between the three of us, but we also need enough to trade – because it all needs to make sense as a business.”

Photo © Sportfot "He’s a horse I’m very excited about," O'Connor says about the 9-year-old stallion Taj Mahal. Photo © Sportfot.

As a part of his project, O’Connor has made several investments and one horse that looks particularly promising is the 9-year-old stallion Taj Mahal (Ex. Etoile van de Neerheide Z, Emerald van’t Ruytershof x Quannan R). “We came across Taj Mahal last summer and we invested in him thinking that it’s a really exciting horse for the future,” O’Connor tells. “There was a lot of interest in the horse, but luckily I was able to secure him in the hope that he someday can be a championship horse. He was always very, very careful, but after Florida I feel as if he is turning a corner – last weekend he jumped a national 1.50m, which was a decent class – so, so easily. He is the last careful, the rideability is excellent, he’s got a brilliant temperament, he’s really brave and now I feel as if he is jumping the back pole of the oxers very easily. Sometimes when they are very careful – like he is – they don’t always understand this. I find that by just giving him the time, like we did in Florida where we kept him jumping at 2* level, then letting him have a month in the field afterwards – he really came back from his break and understood. He’s a horse I’m very excited about, and I’ll probably do some 3* Grand Prix classes with him in the summer. Hopefully as a 10-year-old he could be a very exciting horse; he has all the ability, all the attributes and just needs patience and time on our side to allow him to develop and learn.”

Photo © Sportfot "Together with my students and partners Max and Tom Wachman, it’s my goal to source the best young horses we can find and develop them slowly towards the top sport," O'Connor tells about his partnership with the Wachman-brothers. Photo © Sportfot.

As to his more recent purchases, O’Connor explains there are different intentions behind them – and that David Will’s former partner C Vier instantly will get to play an important part on his team for the 2022 season. “Kilkenny had a little injury this year in Florida, and was out for a couple of weeks,” O’Connor explains. “When a horse like that gets any kind of a setback, it’s always advisable to give it more time than the vet says. We gave him plenty of time; now he is back in full work and ready to jump in the next few weeks. So, I was thinking just to strengthen my hand – that I could do with an older horse and the opportunity came up with C Vier. I think he will be a fantastic horse to run alongside Kilkenny – sharing the workload of this year. Last weekend, I jumped him in a national 1.50m class where we were double clear to finish second and I was very pleased with him. C Vier is a real gentleman, all credit to Janine and David who rode him before me.”

“In terms of Crack and Kinsale, they are part of my collaboration with Tom and Max Wachman. We have been working together for the last four years as partners, investing in horses and trading. For the future we want to have enough of the 8-10-year-old horses coming through, which is why we have invested in these types,” O’Connor tells.

Photo © Brendan Moran/Sportsfile “Over the last number of years, completing Karlswood and developing our students has been my main goal and I’m pleased to say that together with a huge background team we have managed to achieve both,” O’Connor says. Photo © Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

“In order to perform in all aspects of business and sport, it’s vital to have the best team around you. After having just completed a new student barn at Karlswood, where we hope aspiring young riders will come and base and train with my team and I to develop their skills, the next part of the business is producing horses. Currently I feel very lucky to have three really capable riders to help me achieve this. Sam Mcintosh – who recently joined us from New Zealand – is based at Karlswood and will develop some of our younger horses, while Dan Geaney – a talented young Irish rider who has been with us just over a year now – will work alongside Sam. Recently we also started a collaboration with top Dutch rider Kevin Jochems who now has three horses from us to develop and compete,” O’Connor tells. 

“The sport has changed so much and continues to develop constantly. For me it’s a case of finding the right balance between the many moving parts in my business. However, the fire is still burning inside me for the top sport, so I’d like to have a go at it for the next couple of years,” O’Connor says. “I’m passionate about the Olympics, and after my individual bronze medal from London and the 7th place finish in Tokyo I’m looking at 2024 and 2028 aiming for gold.”

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping.com



This photo has been added to your cart !

Your shopping cart »
This website is using cookies for statistics, site optimization and retargeting purposes. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website. Read more here.