New leader sought for New Zealand’s top eventers

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Graeme Thom.
Graeme Thom. © Cealy Tetley

A global search is under way to find a new eventing manager for New Zealand after the resignation of Canadian Graeme Thom after less than three months in the role.

Thom, 55, had taken on the role of Equestrian Sport NZ’s High Performance eventing manager in January, but earlier this month resigned for health reasons.

An old back injury has flared up and laid Thom up for several weeks, meaning travel was not possible.

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

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

Applications for the new HP eventing manager close on May 21. The initial term will take the position up to the end of 2018, taking in the World Games in Tryon, North Carolina, with a likely two-year renewal to include Tokyo 2020 for the right candidate “subject to funding”.

He said the wider ESNZ team had been hugely welcoming and supportive when he accepted the role earlier this year.

“Incredible athletes, dedicated owners, highly-qualified coaches and best of breed support personnel. This would not be possible without the unparalleled support of High Performance Sport New Zealand. No-one could have asked or wanted for a better opportunity than I,” he said.

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

Thom is from an extensive financial industry background, and in later years spent a decade with the Canadian eventing team and its high performance committee. Thom was chef d’equipe for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio, the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara and the 2012 Olympic Games in London. In mid July 2014 he resigned from his role leading Canada’s High Performance Committee.

Thom also competed as an amateur to CCI3* level, and was shortlisted for the Canadian eventing team.

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