Former Irish Eventing Chef d’Equipe Nick Turner confirmed tonight that he will not be applying for the job again.

Turner, who steered the Irish team to Olympic qualification at Rio through their sixth place finish at the World Equestrian Games in 2014, told We Live Horse: “I’ve looked at my plans for the year ahead, and I find I simply cannot commit the time for what is required as the Irish high performance manager.”

Turner’s contract, like that of the senior Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe, expired in September, and the governing body Horse Sport Ireland has now advertised both positions for the new Olympic cycle, which rolls out to Tokyo in 2020.

Many will be sad to see Nick Turner not throwing his hat back into the ring for the job, as the Irish team secured a top ten finish at Rio under his management, as did individual rider Jonty Evans.

Turner previously managed the Brazilian eventing team, which finished ninth at the London Olympics.

Meanwhile, at Horse Sport Ireland, no permanent Chairman has been announced to replace the outgoing Professor Pat Wall and it is believed that Jim Beecher will fill the role temporarily, leaving the governing body with interim officials in its two top jobs, Chairman and CEO.

Outgoing HSI Chairman Pat Wall

Beecher was secretary at the Department of Agriculture when the Dowling Report was drawn up, the blueprint that supplanted the earlier Connellan Report, and led to Horse Sport Ireland being effectively controlled by the Department of Agriculture rather than the Department of Sport, and the appointment of former Minister for Agriculture Joe Walsh as its chairman, and former Macra na Feirme boss Damian McDonald as its CEO.

Walsh has now sadly passed away, while McDonald recently returned to the agri sector as Director General of the IFA.

Plans to recruit a new Irish Show Jumping High Performance Manager (Chef d’Equipe) are thought to be well in hand, and the interview panel will include the following:

HSI interim CEO James Kennedy

High Performance Committee Chairman Gerry Mullins

Riders’ Representative Michael Blake

Elite rider Cameron Hanley

High performance committee member Taylor Vard

It is not known whether former Irish Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine will be re-applying for the job he held during the last eight years.

Colin McClelland