Maryal Barnett is a full-time dressage instructor, a dressage judge, and part owner of Nottingham Equestrian Center in East Lansing, Michigan. She teaches at many other stables in Michigan and gives regular clinics in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Missouri and Wisconsin. During her extensive career, she has also been a dressage trainer and competitor. She has been appointed to train and examine USEF Judges and USDF Certified Instructors. Many of Maryal's students have earned local and national awards, and some have become USEF Judges or USDF Certified Instructors.
Maryal is a retired FEI “C” Dressage Judge, and an active USEF “S” Dressage Judge and Canadian Equestrian Federation Senior Dressage Judge. She is an Instructor, Examiner and Senior Official for the USEF’s "r" and "R" Dressage Judges Training Program, and is on the USDF "L" Faculty to teach future dressage judges. Maryal has given many Judges' mini-forums throughout the United States. Attending USEF Judges' Forums and participating in USDF International Judges' Forums and FEI Seminars for Dressage Judges has taken her to Europe and Canada as well as all over the United States.
Maryal is a USDF Instructor Certification Examiner and Faculty Member. She has attended most of the USDF/Violet M. Hopkins National Dressage Instructors' Seminars since the inception of the program in 1979. Initially she took part as a participating rider and participating instructor, then as a regional workshop instructor and a member of the teaching staff. She was a co-instructor and then an instructor at several USDF Regional Workshops. As chairperson of the USDF/Hopkins National Seminar for Dressage Instructors Planning Committee from 1981 to 1989, she had the responsibility for planning the annual seminar held in Union Lake, Michigan.
In 1994, Maryal chaired the USDF University Committee at the request of the USDF Executive Board. This committee coordinates the USDF's different educational programs and identifies areas where improvement is needed. Maryal was elected to Executive Board of The Dressage Foundation in 1997. The USDF recognized Maryal’s dedication by presenting her with a USDF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. She was inducted into the Midwest Dressage Association Hall of Fame in 2015.
During her competitive years, Maryal showed her own horses from training level through Grand Prix and earned her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals. She won the Midwest Dressage Association's "Award of Excellence" through the levels to Grand Prix, and her horses won numerous local and national awards, including the USDF Horse of the Year from training level through USEF I-1.
For Maryal, teaching is more than just a profession. It is a passion. Nothing gives her greater joy than seeing her students grasp a skill or concept through lessons that she developed. It doesn’t matter to her 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 and recognize 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 make it all worthwhile. Those qualities indicate that the horse has been taught to understand the system and has developed confidence in his ability to be more balanced and athletic.
Please contact us for more information regarding participating in a Maryal Barnett Clinic at Burton Farm.