Michel Assouline

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 also coached Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin on the Development British World Class program, when she was competing in Young Rider classes at the time.

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, the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and the 2017 FEI European Championships! 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! Under Michel’s last coach leadership for the British Federation, the Team won gold at the 2017 FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, which included two triple gold medalists (Susanna Hext, GIII and Julie Payne, GI), a total of nine gold, one silver and one bronze medals.  Another European record!

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.

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 into the UK Coaching Hall of Fame.

Later in the season, Michel won the Harvey Spack Field Dressage Award, presented by the Princess Royal at the Animal Health Trust Equestrian Awards ceremony, which took place at the London Marriott Grosvenor hotel on 31 October 2017. Amazingly, shortly after, Michel received the British Dressage Medal of Honour, presented by British Dressage Chair Penny Pollard at the Hartpury College National Convention on 25 November 2017.

British Dressage made the following statement:
‘Record-breaking Para Team Trainer Michel Assouline has been a fundamental part of the team’s success over the last 12 years. During this time Britain has been unbeaten on the international stage and winning an incredible 121 medals in total, including 64 gold, 44 silver, and 13 bronze. Michel became the UK Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Coach in 2005 and has led Team GBR riders to win Team Gold medals at six European Championships, three World Equestrian Games and three Paralympic Games between 2005 and 2017. In Rio 2016, the team returned with a total of seven gold and four silver medals in all their classes contested, which was a record-breaking result for our para-riders.’

On May 2017 Michel started a new chapter as USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor. Under his leadership role as Head Coach, the US Para Dressage Team won their first medals ever at a World Championship, a historical medal record at the Tryon 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games. Scores were high, all four riders above 71.66% (Annie Peavy) on the last day of competition, with Roxanne earning bronze on 75.58%, Rebecca, silver on 73.24% and Kate, bronze on 73.23%! Rebecca also earned bronze in the Individual test (72.45%). In January 2020, Roxanne Trunnell and Karin Flint’s Dolton made US history again, in becoming FEI World number one, earning scores above the magic 80% in both Wellington CPEDI3*!

In the build-up to Tokyo 2020, the U.S. Para Dressage Team ranked number one in the FEI World rankings, whilst Roxanne Trunnell remained overall FEI World number one rider, and Rebecca Hart grade III FEI World number one  [February 2021]. Subsequently, on 17 February 2021, the United States Olympic and Paralympic committee (USOC and USOPC) named Michel Assouline Paralympic Coach of the Year 2020 across all disciplines. The USOC wrote: “Michel Assouline’s innovation and persistent drive to grow the sport and expand the program has impacted the whole Para Dressage community with Support and Innovation. Through the pandemic, Assouline has helped several athletes work through emotional pressures and reposition athletes’ training schedules by utilizing technology and focusing on enhanced communication. His efforts include online judging, direct coaching through PIXIO and other virtual platforms, group meetings and one-on-one meetings, which proved effective when athletes showed performance improvement at the 2020 U.S. Para Dressage National Championships October 2020. In three years, Michel has built a Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program that was rolled out across the country during the latter part of 2019 and early 2020 that received high participation with 32 coaches going through the program. Success: In March 2020, the U.S. Para Dressage Team ranked No. 1 in the world having achieved scores that would have tracked Team USA to be on the podium at Tokyo 2020. At the heart of Assouline’s success is his ability to work with each athlete and build a specialized program around them to improve their development and performance, which can be seen in Roxanne Trunnell, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in her grade and overall across all five grades.”

Michel now joins the Wikipedia USOC list of nominated coaches: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USOC_Coach_of_the_Year

August 26th 2021 saw the start of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. “What a phenomenal Team USA ‘mission accomplished’ feeling coming home with a historic Team Bronze medal, two Individual Gold medals and a Paralympic record!” [quoted U.S. Team Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline]. The U.S. Para dressage team made headlines winning its greatest tally of Paralympic medals in 25 years. Roxanne Trunnell, aboard Dolton was double-gold-medalist in the Individual test Grade I with 81.46%, and in the Freestyle test with the overall highest Tokyo 2020 score of 86.927%! Her medals were the United States’ first Paralympic equestrian medal in 17 years and first gold in 25 years. She is also now the third woman to ever win a dressage gold medal for Team USA at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games! The team of Roxanne TrunnellRebecca Hart, with El Corona Texel, and Kate Shoemaker, with Solitaer 40 earned Bronze in the Team test to music for the program’s first-ever Paralympic Team medal. Individual 4th rider Béatrice de Lavalette, in what was to become her first Paralympics, scored 70.26% and 72.19% in both Grade II Individual tests, finishing in respectable 5th and 6th places!

At the 2022 FEI World Championships Herning in Denmark, the U.S. Para Dressage Team captured the bronze medal Team Competition on a final score of 225.335 behind The Netherlands and Denmark. Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel also won a Bronze individual and Kate Shoemaker a Silver Individual on 80.275%. All of these results maintaining the U.S. strong position on the world stage.