Canadian Graeme Thom has stood down as Equestrian Sport New Zealand’s (ESNZ) high performance eventing manager after just four months in the role.

The flare-up of an old back injury has put Mr Thom out of action for several weeks, and a doctor advised that extensive travel would be the “worst thing he could do”.

“It is a huge disappointment to me,” said Mr Thom.

“I don’t wish to put the New Zealand team at risk through me being unable to do my duties at a critical juncture on the road to the 2018 World Equestrian Games.”

Mr Thom had thought the symptoms of his back injury were successfully subdued with a spinal operation in December 2015.

“I felt reassured that I was free and clear of any revision,” he said.

Thom added he was “saddened” by the repercussions his resignation may have on riders, owners and support teams.

“ESNZ has created a pathway to excellence from New Zealand to Europe and the rest of the world,” he said.

“Incredible athletes, dedicated owners, highly-qualified coaches and support personnel.

“No one could have asked or wanted for a better opportunity than I.

“I am sorry I will not be able to fulfil my duties and obligations.

“That said, it is with unbiased empirical analysis, mixed with some hands-on subjective expertise that I am certain medals will be forthcoming in 2018… that’s where my money is.”

ESNZ is now seeking a new high performance eventing manager after Mr Thom’s resignation.

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High performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout said she had regretfully accepted Thom’s resignation.

Thom will stay on to complete administrative items and will still help the team, where possible, in its WEG preparation in North America.

Ms Dalziell-Clout thanked Thom for his input and the value added in the short time he was in the role.