Eventer Jock Paget is to move back to his native New Zealand to join its performance coaching programme.
The 32-year-old, who was part of the Kiwi Olympic team for Rio but was forced to withdraw before the competition when his mount Clifton Lush suffered an injury in the stable, is still aiming at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but will also concentrate on improving domestic performance.
He and wife Tegan plan to set up home in North Island before the end of the year.
“Coaching is something I really enjoy doing,” said Jock, who has been based in Britain since 2010. “I want to become a world-class coach and I believe this is the programme to do that in. It is very exciting.
“It makes the most sense to be based near Taupo if possible, and particularly the National Equestrian Centre where there is a lot of exciting development going on, including the brand new world-class indoor arena which will be ready in March. I think it is the place to be.”
Nine-year-old gelding Angus Blue and Jock’s 2013 Badminton winner, the retired Clifton Promise, will join the couple in New Zealand.
“Frances [Stead, Clifton Promise’s owner] is very happy that Promise will be continuing his retirement back in New Zealand,” said Jock.
“Angus Blue is a very good horse who did his first CCI3* in September. I have every intention of still targeting the major events throughout the world but just with a smaller team.
“To do both my riding and coaching properly, I won’t be able to have the same size team I have done, so I will now only have ones I think are going to be world-beaters.”
Equestrian Sport New Zealand high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout said: “This is a great development for our eventing programme and an invaluable opportunity for our riders in New Zealand.
“Jock’s experience as a member of our high performance eventing team is an exciting addition to the performance coaching team.”
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Jock will take up his role in February, working with coaches Penny Castle, Clarke Johnstone, Tracy Smith and Jeff McVean.
“Having Jock here competing too is also exciting for the domestic competition scene,” Ms Dalziell-Clout added. “We will now have two of our Olympic campaigners in Clarke and Jock competing and coaching nationally. I hope this will further encourage more spectators to attend and support our events in New Zealand.”