One of the world's top eventers, Jock Paget is on the move. The London 2012 Olympic Bronze Team Medalist and 2013 Badminton Horse Trials victor is ending the British chapter of his competition career to return to his native New Zealand, where he will both compete at the international level and coach in the high performance development division of Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ).
While still focused on making the 2020 New Zealand Olympic Eventing Team for the Tokyo Olympics, Paget enthusiastic about his new role in the ESNZ performance coaching program.
“Coaching is something I really enjoy doing,” said the 32-year-old who has been based in the United Kingdom since 2010. “I want to become a world-class coach and I believe this is the program to do that in. It is very exciting.”
Paget and wife, Tegan, will move later this year; they plan to settle in the central North Island.
“It makes the most sense to be based near Taupo if possible, and particularly (near) 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,” he commened. “I think it is the place to be.”
Tegan is particularly excited as it puts the pair closer to their Australian families.
Joining them on the big move will be Angus Blue, a horse Paget rates as a future superstar, and the retired Clifton Promise who will enjoy pride of place in a paddock near their new home. Clifton Promise, owned by Frances Stead (Clifton Eventers), was retired at the scene of one of his great victories, the Badminton Horse Trials, in May this year.
“Frances (Stead) is very happy that Promise will be continuing his retirement back in New Zealand,” says Paget, “and 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.”
Both the 2018 World Equestrian Games and Tokyo Olympics remain firmly on his radar, however he will operate in quite a different way to how he has in the UK.
“To do both my riding and coaching properly, I won’t be able to have the same size team (of horses) I have,” Paget said, “so I will now only have ones I think are going to be world-beaters.”
The bronze medal-winning London 2012 Olympian is thankful for the support he has received from his owners and sponsors around his change in direction and continues to have the full backing of his owner/sponsor, Joe Giannamore, an American businessman living in London.
“Angus Blue is Joe’s best horse, and we have a lot of goals to achieve on the competitive side of things. I have been with Joe for seven years and he is very proud that I am always looking around the corner and planning for the future. I go to him for a lot of advice.”
Up-and-coming Kiwi eventer James Avery will become Giannamore’s UK stable rider.
At ESNZ, high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout is very excited by the move. “This is a great development for our eventing program and an invaluable opportunity for our riders in New Zealand,” she said. “Jock’s experience as a member of our high performance eventing team is an exciting addition to the performance coaching team.”
Paget will take up the new high performance development coaching role in February. He will work alongside current eventing performance program coaches Penny Castle, Clarke Johnstone, Tracy Smith and Jeff McVean.
“Having Jock here competing too is also exciting for the domestic competition scene,” says Dalziell-Clout. “We will now have two of our Olympic campaigners in Clarke (Johnstone) and Jock competing and coaching nationally. I hope this will further encourage more spectators to attend and support our events in New Zealand.”
Thanks to Diana Dobson and Equestrian Sports New Zealand for producing a news release. This article is edited from that release.
Photos of Jock Paget © Getty Images. Eventing photo at top is by Adam Blake.