O'Connor takes Irish bred Larkhill Cruiser to new heights worldwide
When it comes to producing marketable Irish-bred showjumpers, Meath-based Cian O'Connor aims to produce animals capable of jumping 1m60.
"If you aim for a 1m60 horse but it turns out that the horse is maxed out at 1m20, there is still a market for that animals at the lower levels," he says. "A brave, honest 1m20 horse will be easily sold to an amateur rider.
"The danger is that if you aim to produce a 1m20 or riding club horse and he doesn't make that target, then you won't have even covered the costs of producing him," he warns.
So what does Cian look for in a horse?
"With the technical courses we have today, you need a horse that will come back when you need to and will do what you ask. A difficult horse is not going to cope with a technical course," he says.
Hand in hand with rideability is temperament. Cian looks for a horse that does not get stressed out by a competitive atmosphere, travelling or the myriad of other factors that might affect its performance in the ring.
Front-leg technique is also key.
"A horse needs a good fold in front -- the King of Diamonds horses have that good fold, for example," he says.