Cian O’Connor is one of Ireland’s most successful showjumpers, with a numerous wins, placings and team call-ups to his name, including riding at two Olympics, two World Championships and six Europeans, plus more than 125 senior caps for his country.
He is about to add another Olympic Games appearance to that tally, when he rides Kilkenny in Tokyo Games.
“I always think when you’re preparing for a big championship, you don’t want to change too much,” Cian explained of his Olympic preparation, when H&H’s showjumping editor Jennifer Donald chatted to him on episode 59 of The Horse & Hound podcast.
“At the moment, I’m studying course plans, and I’m looking at things from courses over the past number of years that were built by the same course designer who will be building and designing in Tokyo; the Spaniard Santiago Varela. This is because many course designers have a signature style and the same stuff tends to come up.
“So we’re practising but it’s not like we’re at home building Olympic-sized fences or anything like that because obviously it’s very different schooling at home, as opposed to the horse’s blood being up in the arena.
“More than anything it’s a case of trying to keep yourself in shape so I’m building courses and taking out other horses and practising on them, and just making sure that my eye is in.
“I’m also competing as much as I can right up until we go to Tokyo – I think it’s important that we stay riding and competing to keep sharp.”
If you’d like to hear more from Cian, listen here to episode 59 of The Horse and Hound podcast or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.
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