U.S. Para Dressage Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline Named USOPC Paralympic Coach of the Year

From the US Equestrian Communications Department


Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian congratulates Para Dressage Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline on being named Paralympic Coach of the Year for 2020 by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). Assouline was one of eight coaches from across all Olympic and Paralympic sports recognized by the USOPC in its annual Coach of the Year program.

Assouline joined US Equestrian as Head of Para Equestrian Coach Development and High Performance Consultant in 2017, bringing with him 12 years of prior experience as head coach for the highly successful British para dressage program. With Assouline’s guidance, the U.S. Para Dressage Team has flourished and in 2020 became the top team on the FEI’s ranking list for the first time in the program’s history. Additionally, U.S. athlete Roxanne Trunnell is the top-ranked individual FEI para dressage athlete across all grades.


Michel Assouline with Roxanne Trunnell, Sydney Collier, Kate Shoemaker, and Rebecca Hart at the Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship at Tryon CPEDI3* Saturday, September 14, 2019. Photo: Andrea Evans/US Equestrian


Assouline has focused on building a strong foundation for the future of American para dressage through outreach to dressage and equine-assisted therapy programs, bringing new coaches and riders into the para dressage arena, and improving the pipeline to the internationally competitive level. He launched the USEF Para Dressage Coach Certificate Program in 2019, which has since brought 32 new qualified coaches into the program. In 2020, he successfully leveraged virtual coaching, online judging, and other technologies to help athletes continue to work toward their goals at home during the pandemic. 

“The USOPC’s Paralympic Coach of the Year’s award is a huge honor not only for me but also U.S. Para Dressage,” said Assouline. “It truly reflects on everyone’s efforts and successes: a team effort! It is also a notable recognition of the equestrian discipline among all Olympic and Paralympic sports. This could never have been achieved without the drive, involvement and vision of every single athlete, groom, owner, sponsor, and our USEF support staff. In other words, it takes the whole team. Thank you, USPOC, and thank you to the entire U.S. Para Dressage community. Let’s continue the journey and propagate our coaching excellence!”

“Behind athlete success and wellbeing are the dedicated and passionate coaches that guide Team USA athletes in sport and in life," said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. "In 2020 we watched so many coaches adapt and create innovative ways to support their athletes. It’s an honor to recognize these individuals and showcase their achievements in this especially challenging year.”


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Stay up to date with the Adequan U.S. Para Dressage Team by following USA Para Dressage on Facebook and Instagram and US Equestrian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use #USAParaDressage.


The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOPC, and USEF sponsors and members.


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