Michael Poulin (2012)
To honor his lifelong commitment to improving the quality of dressage through his successful roles as a rider, trainer, instructor and judge. From representing the United States as a member of the bronze medal winning team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics to his instrumental part in founding the USDF Instructor Certification Program in 1992 and his founding of The Dressage Foundation's "Young Rider Olympic Dream Program," he has worked for over 50 years to further dressage knowledge in the U.S.
It is a real pleasure, this year, to be honoring two Olympians. One is a horseman and the other a horse. Even though their Olympic debuts were sixteen years apart, they have a lot in common. Not only were their contributions to the sport in the U.S. outstanding, but each of them has had an impact on the international scene as well. Both continue to inspire us, as they have shown what can be achieved through hard work, talent and generosity.
I was in high school when I first met Michael. He and his brother, Tom, were into a rider fitness and awareness program that a local ballet master had started. It utilized dancing and ballet. It was quite an innovative program - especially for the time. Looking back, it should not have been a surprise that Michael was involved. He has always been a true pioneer and innovator of American dressage.
Even then, when he was a young professional just starting out, his drive and commitment were obvious to me. You had the feeling that he was going to be a force in the sport.