Maryal Barnett – Owner / Trainer

Nottingham Trainer and Owner

“Dressage is not just a sport or art form for me; it is a way of life.”



Maryal is a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) “C” Dressage Judge, and USA Equestrian (USAE) “S” Dressage Judge and a Canadian Equestrian Federation (CEF) Senior Dressage Judge. She has attended most of the USAE Judge’s Forums offered since 1972. She has also participated in: the 1989 United States Dressage Federation (USDF) International Judges’ Forums held in Neumunster, Germany and s’Hertogenbosch, Holland; the 1992 and 1009 USDF International Judge’s Forums in Germany, and the 1993 and 2000 FEI Seminar for Dressage Judges in Orlando, Florida and San Diego, California, respectively. Maryal has given several judges mini-forums throughout the United Stats; and she has been accepted on the USDF “L” Faculty to teach others to be dressage judges. In March of 1998, the AHSA appointed Maryal to be an Instructor, Examiner and Senior Official for the “r” and “R” Dressage Judges Training Program.

Maryal attended the USDF/Violet M. Hopkins National Seminar since it’s inception in 1979. At first, she took part as a participating rider and participating instructor in 1979, 1980, and 1986. She was chosen in 1986 by the senior staff to become a regional workshop instructor. In 1987, she was a member of the teaching staff at the National Seminar and a co-instructor at several USDF Regional Workshops. After passing her apprentice program, Maryal began giving her own USDF Regional Workshops in 1988. As chairperson of the USDF/Hopkins National Seminar for Dressage Instructors Planning Committee, Maryal had the responsibility for the planning, from 1981 to 1989, of the annual seminar held in Union Lake, Michigan. In 1998 she was chosen to be an official USDF Instructor Certification Examiner.

In April of 1994, the USDF executive Board requested that Maryal chair the USDF University Committee. This committee coordinates the USDF’s different educational programs and identifies areas where improvement is needed. Maryal was also elected to Executive Board of The Dressage Foundation in 1997.


In the competitive scene, Maryal has shown her own horses from training level through Grand Prix. In 1990, she won the Midwest Dressage Association’s (MDA) “Award of Excellence” at Intermediate II and Grand Prix. Her horses have won numerous local and national awards, including USDF Horse of the Year (training – AHSA International). She has earned her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals.


Maryal Barnett is a full-time dressage instructor and trainer working out of Nottingham, as well as part owner. She has students throughout the state of Michigan and gives regular clinics in Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Many of Maryal’s students have earned local and national awards and are USAE Judges themselves.


For Maryal, teaching is more than just a profession. It is a passion. Nothing gives her greater joy than seeing her students gain the ability to grasp a skill or concept through lessons that she developed. To her, it doesn’t matter whether it is the beginner rider learning to sit the trot or an advanced student improving their tempi changes. Her goal is to encourage them to develop a positive philosophy that their horse is not just a mechanical thing doing fancy movements, but a living, breathing creature that needs to be brought along in a humane and logical system. The soft look in the horse’s eye and the swinging tail makes it all worthwhile. Those qualities indicate that we have also taught him to understand our system in a way that he may develop confidence in his ability to be more balanced and athletic. Dressage is not just a sport or art form for her; it is a way of life.