Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) is pleased to announce the appointment of Michel Assouline as Head of Para-Equestrian Coach Development and High Performance Consultant. Michel Assouline joins US Equestrian after nearly 12 years as head coach to the multi-medal winning British para-equestrian dressage program. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge about para-equestrian dressage and dressage trainer/coach development.
Assouline will work hand-in-hand with the Chef d’Equipe, Kai Handt, and Director of Para-Dressage, Laureen Johnson, to prepare the U.S. athletes for the 2018 Tryon World Equestrian Games (WEG). He will also be leading the development and implementation of a trainer/coach development program, while working closely with the Para Centers of Excellence, delivering and running additional seminars and coaching sessions.
Will Connell, US Equestrian’s Director of Sport states, “This marks a great leap forward for the para-dressage programs in the U.S. Our whole sport will benefit from Michel’s experience and guidance, including our athletes aiming for the World Equestrian Games and Paralympics. Our aim is to grow significantly the number and skillset of trainers and coaches, at all levels, who can support existing and new para-dressage riders. Through the ever-growing network of the Para Centers of Excellence, we want to reach out to those already enjoying the therapeutic benefits of riding and say ‘hey, what about trying some competitive riding and one day you may be proudly wearing the stars and stripes and winning medals for your country.’ We are especially grateful to the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation who saw the value in bringing Michel’s talents to the U.S. and through the support and generosity of their loyal donors, the Barnfield Foundation, Elizabeth C. Bramsen, Rebecca Reno, and Ed Peavy this has been made possible.”
Assouline will continue to work with the British para-equestrian dressage program through the 2017 European Championships, as well as continue to work with private clients. Assouline states, “I have worked for the British Para-Equestrian Program since 2005 and have been privileged to work with an incredibly successful team of athletes. During my time as head coach, we earned team gold in every single international championship and numerous individual medals, including two triple gold medalists at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I now feel the time is right for a career, which seeks out new challenges. It is a privilege to accept the position of US Equestrian Head of Para-Equestrian Coach Development and High Performance Consultant. I look forward to sharing my experience and helping the U.S. move towards and achieve medal-winning performances. I am also looking forward to the work I will be doing within Coach Development, with the opportunity to work at the grassroots level of the sport. It is a very exciting time with new horizons; I am really looking forward to the journey to Tokyo 2020. My new role will also allow me to pursue other interest both within para and able-bodied dressage.”
Assouline’s work with the Centers of Excellence (COE) directly ties in with their aim to grow and develop para-equestrian dressage in the U.S. Reaching into the therapeutic riding community and demonstrating the competition-based opportunities provided by para-dressage is an area of focus for the centers. The current COEs are Carlisle Academy in Lyman, Me.; North Texas Equestrian Center in Wyle, Texas; Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship in Chatsworth, Calif., Wheatland Farm in Purcellville, Va; and Healing Strides in Boones Mill, Va.