Paget’s sights are still very much on making the New Zealand team for the Tokyo Olympics in four years, the step will see him take his career to a new level.
“Coaching is something I really enjoy doing,” said the 32-year-old who has been based in the UK 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.”
He and wife Tegan will move back to New Zealand later this year and plan to set up house in the central North Island.
He continued: “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.”
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 when in the UK. Paget 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 Joe Giannamore. Up-and-coming Kiwi eventer James Avery will become Giannamore’s UK stable rider.
Joining them on the move will be Angus Blue, who Paget rates as a future superstar and the retired Clifton Promise who will get pride of place in a paddock right near their new home.
“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 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.
“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. I have every intention of still targeting the major events throughout the world but just with a smaller team. Angus Blue is Joe’s best horse, and we have a lot of goals to achieve on the competitive side of things.”
ESNZ high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout is very excited by the move, commenting: “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.”
Paget will take up the new high performance development coaching role in February. He will work alongside other eventing performance programme coaches Penny Castle, Clarke Johnstone, Tracy Smith and Jeff McVean.
“Having Jock here competing too is also exciting for the domestic competition scene,” continues Dalziell-Clout. “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.”
And she is confident having Johnstone and Paget on the New Zealand circuit will only improve the standard of domestic performance.