Ireland needs to take a break from the top league of the Nations Cup to improve the country’s horsepower, says showjumper Cian O’Connor.

The rider made the controversial suggestion in a blog earlier this month after St Gallen where, after three legs of the top league, Ireland were lying eighth on the leader board.

“Unfortunately, it’s the same old mantra – we have great jockeys, but not the level of horses needed to be even close to being competitive” he wrote.

“Solution? Be out of the ‘super league’ for two years – that way the few horses that are coming through will get time to develop, rather than being hurried and perhaps doing too much too soon.”

Cian told H&H that it was a debate he wanted to open.

Ireland failed to qualify a team for London 2012, prompting an independent review, but secured two individual Olympic places. It is, as yet, undecided who will represent the country.

“At times it feels extremely difficult – it’s the same troop that’s constantly needed for battle to have a shot at that level,” he said.

“The Nations Cup format is set to change next year which would help countries like Ireland that haven’t got the same resources as, say, Germany.

So that’s what I’m asking – is it worthwhile?”

Horse Sport Ireland declined to comment.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (28 June 2012)