In celebration of St. Patrick’s most sacred and debaucherous holiday, we’re taking a moment to celebrate one of the Irish riders who has put the emerald isle on the map in modern show jumping: Cian O’Connor.
Not only is Cian the lone individual Olympic medalist from Ireland in show jumping, Cian actually represents the only Olympic medal Ireland has ever won in the three equestrian sports. A shocking fact, considering the massive wealth of talent across the disciplines. (Interestingly, there have been numerous Irish medalists in Paralympic Dressage.)
As you may recall, Cian was not even supposed to be competing in the individual final that day – He’d just missed the cutoff for the individual round, but he told RTE News, “I never say never, I think it’s important to be optimistic. Last night I went out for food with my wife Ruth and I was first reserve. I said to her, ‘I’m going to get in tomorrow; I’m going to jump a clear round.'”
And what do you know? He was right:
Cian’s aiming for another big year in 2017 with a full string and a good load of glory already in his coat pocket. He was a big part of Ireland’s massive success in the Nations Cup events in Florida this winter, and we’ll hope to see him at a stop or two on the Longines Global Champions Tour.
Go Cian, and Go Jumping.
See more about Cian in Horseware Ireland’s beautiful mini-doc, Making a Champion: Cian O’Connor: