Michel is a graduate of the French National Equestrian School, home of the Cadre Noir in Saumur and gained a vast international experience in the USA, France, Germany and the United Kingdom as an international dressage rider and trainer. Michel was long-listed to represent France at the Seoul Olympics and during time spent in Europe received dressage training from Commandant Saint Fort Paillard (France), Willi Schultheis (Germany) and Jürgen Koschel (Germany). Fluent in French, German and English, Michel has become a highly-respected dressage trainer, coaching numerous dressage riders of all levels across Europe up to Grand Prix at International level. This includes three years as resident trainer to Suzanne Lebek in Braubach, Germany, a former European Dressage Gold Medal Young Rider Team Champion, .
Michel’s best known international horse was the Grand Prix mare Annastasia (Hanoverian by Akzent II). In 2000, in the United Kingdom, they won the Ardingly Premier League Grand Prix, the Etal Manor Premier League Grand Prix, the Royds Hall Premier League Grand Prix and abroad the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Saumur *** CDI. They were also fifth in the Grand Prix Freestyle at Germany’s Hamburg Derby CDI, in the Hickstead CDIO, and were second in the Hickstead Grand Prix Derby. They won the French National Championship in October 2000, which was contested over 3 days (Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle). The pair finished on a score of 75.80%.
Other championship horses produced by Michel include:
- Louis Feraud, (11-year-old at the time), a British bred horse by Lord David S. Michel won several big tour classes in 2006, including the Patchetts Equestrian Centre Grand Prix and at the Hickstead CDIO they were Grand Prix Masters League Champions.
- Luderitz, a German Holsteiner gelding (11-year-old at the time). In 2011 Michel won the Sheepgate Premier League Grand Prix.
- Dolcino, Hanoverian gelding (8-year-old at the time). In 2013 Michel won the Hickstead Masters Small Tour Championship.
- Streisand (9-year-old at the time) Westphalian mare. Streisand and Michel won numerous Championships from Medium to Small Tour including the Hickstead Masters Small Tour Reserve-Championship title in 2014. They also were PSG British Dressage Regional Champions at the College in 2014.
Michel was voted in 1995 UK Dressage Trainer of the Year, and is a member of the International Dressage Trainers Club. He is also currently on the British Dressage panel of trainers eligible to judge Potential International Dressage Horse classes and officiated several times at the Championships for four, five and six-year-old horses.
In 2005 Michel became the UK Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Coach and has led Team GBR riders to win Team Gold medals at the 2005 European Championships, the 2007 World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, the 2009 European Championships, the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, the 2011 FEI Europeans, the 2012 London Paralympic Games, the 2013 FEI Europeans, the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games, the 2015 FEI Europeans and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games! At the Rio Games his riders came back with a total of four silver and seven gold medals in all their classes contested! A record-breaking result!
In March 2009 Michel was awarded the PDTT Coaching Award, and in November 2012 Michel was awarded the UK Sports Coach Medal and inducted in the Coaching Hall of Fame at the UK Coaching Awards ceremony. Later that year at the London Olympia International he received the prestigious British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour. Team GBR made the following statement at the time: ‘Michel has been the British Paralympic team coach for eight years, during which time the GB team have remained unbeaten at major team championships, amassing 85 medals in total, including the 2012 Paralympic haul of 11 ‘
On 29 November 2016 at the UK Coaching awards held in London, cross-sport head coaches behind our gold medallists at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games were honoured in recognition of their role in the outstanding success of UK performers on the world stage. At these awards, Michel was awarded the Mussabini Medal – a sports award recognising Coaches of British sports people and teams, and was inducted in the UK Coaching Hall of Fame.
On May 2017 Michel started a new chapter as USEF Head of Para-Equestrian Coach Development and High Performance Consultant.