Paul Tapner is to give up his career as a professional event rider at the end of this season, to work full-time for the Event Rider Masters (ERM) series.

The 2010 Badminton winner is to work as digital and technical manager for the series, having already taken full responsibility for ensuring the live-streaming of the first season has worked as planned.

The 43-year-old said he had been planning the end of his professional career “for a couple of years”.

“The ERM was always on my mind as my exit plan,” he told H&H.

“Probably from my riding career’s point of view, the series came 12 months too early; I’ve probably got the best horsepower now I’ve ever had and I wanted to focus on getting to the Olympics.

“But on the other hand, I didn’t want to miss out on the ERM. As it happened, it all worked out as the Australian selectors didn’t love me, so I said: ‘You can put me on full-time’.”

Paul Tapner (3rd) Oliver Townend (1st) and Jonelle Price (2nd) in the final standing in the 2016 Event Rider Masters series at the of the Cross Country phase of the CIC***ERM at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in the grounds of Blenheim Palace near Oxford in Oxfordshire UK on 11th September 2016

Paul Tapner (3rd) Oliver Townend (1st) and Jonelle Price (2nd) in the final standing in the 2016 Event Rider Masters series at the of the Cross Country phase of the CIC***ERM at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in the grounds of Blenheim Palace near Oxford in Oxfordshire UK on 11th September 2016

Paul said it was a hard decision to make.

“I did shed a tear when I rode Kilronan for the last time at Blair, and talking about Vanir Kamira’s future after Burghley was very emotionally tough for me.

“But the ERM is where I want my future to be, and I’m really passionate about it; I find myself trotting round and thinking about what I need to do in the office.”

Paul told H&H he still plans to compete four horses around his work, including Prince Mayo, Yogi Bear VIII and Bonza King Of Rouges.


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“I’m greedy, I want to have my cake and eat it!” he said.

“I don’t want to be riding round BE100s, I enjoy riding at three- and four-star level; I’ve said I’m not going to be competing at elite professional level, but I will be an elite-level amateur rider.

“You’ll hopefully still see me kicking around three and four-stars. I think cold turkey would have been doable for me – just not for everyone around me!”