Jock Paget has been called up to join the New Zealand eventing team for the FEI Nations Cup at Aachen.
Paget, who relocated to his native country last year, was already visiting Europe when New Zealand needed to replace Dan Jocelyn, who had been named with Grovine de Reve in the original squad. He will now join fellow Olympians Sir Mark Todd (Leonidas II), Blyth Tait (Darius) and Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy) for the Nations Cup event. And in quite a unique situation, will be riding one of Price’s top horses – Xavier Faer.
It is unusual at this top level for owners and riders to loan their horses. However, Xavier Faer’s breeder and co-owner Trisha Rickards and Nigella Hall, along with Price, were happy to give Paget the ride.
“We wanted to put together a good strong team when it is really important, so took the opportunity of Jock being here to do just that,” says Price. “It also fits well with the horse’s programme as he builds towards the Burghley Horse Trials. “He is a horse who goes better with more outings rather than less.”
For Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance eventing manager and team chef d’equipe Graeme Thom, the kind gesture by Price and his backers underlines the ethos of the New Zealand team.
“It is a real display of the team spirit and camaraderie in this team,” says Thom. “It speaks to a culture that is incredibly unique. You can’t praise the owners enough. They had very little notice but made their decision based on their relationship with Tim and Jonelle and their respect for Jock.”
Paget has been in Sweden for showjumping training and doing professional development thanks to High Performance Sport New Zealand as part of the Coach Accelerator Programme. He was planning on stopping off in the UK on the way home when he got the call-up, and thanked the horse’s owners saying he was honoured Tim and Jonelle Price were letting him compete aboard one of their top horses.
“I watched the horse jump around Badminton and thought he looked awesome,” said Paget of the 11-year-old who placed third at Badminton this year. “It will be good for me to ride a horse produced by one of the greats and get an insight into what they do. There is probably no better way to do it than jump around a big track like Aachen.”