Christine Traurig Appointed U.S. Development Coach and Senior Team Chef d'Equipe

Fri, 01/05/2024 - 20:13
Christine Traurig at the 2018 U.S. Young Dressage Horse Championships :: Photo © Mary Phelps

The United States Equestrian Federation has appointed Christine Traurig the new U.S. Development Coach as well as chef d'equipe to the senior Grand Prix team that will represent the U.S.A. at the 202' Paris Olympic Games.

With the retirement of Debbie McDonald as U.S. Technical Advisor (aka Team Trainer), USEF went in search of a new team trainer but so far has not filled that position. After Paris USEF will continue to strengthen coaching support through the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games with the appointment of additional coaches.

No Urgent Need for a Senior Team Trainer?

The decision was taken "leveraging key stakeholder feedback and athlete participation throughout the process," USEF stated. The current US team candidates all have their own home trainers and there seems no urgent need to fill that position in the highly important Olympic year .

"The restructure will broaden the opportunity to engage with qualified coaches and allow for greater accessibility to program-affiliated resources, creating a more sustainable pathway for the future, while also increasing the depth of coaching support in the United States," USEF further stated.

Christine Traurig, who has been a coach within the program for nearly 10 years, will move into the Development Coach role, taking over from current Development Coach, Charlotte Bredahl, who steps down April 1.

Traurig at the 2016 CDI Wellington
Traurig will also serve as Chef d’Equipe for the Paris 2024 Olympics U.S. Dressage Team. She will immediately focus on supporting and liaising with athletes and their personal coaches who are targeting the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Traurig will work closely with Managing Director of Dressage Laura Roberts to best maximize the U.S. Dressage Team’s field-of-play performance. 

“Christine is the right fit to support and will add invaluable expertise to the U.S. Dressage Team looking towards this summer’s Olympic Games," said said Hallye Griffin, Director of FEI Sport for US Equestrian. "Additionally, Christine will be taking a more active role in the development program as we increase focus to our home Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, in 2028.” 

George Williams will remain in his position as the High Performance & Pathway Development Advisor and Youth Coach,

Christine Traurig

Christine Traurig (née Stöver) was born and raised on her parents' farm in Altenbuecken near Verden, where they bred Hanoverians and marketed them through the Hanoverian Elite Auction.

Hannes Baumgart and Christine Traurig in 1981
Her dressage career began at the national riding school in Hoya, where she trained by Otto Meyer. She started to work at the Hanoverian auction center in Verden at age 13, where she rode under Helga Koehler. She became an auction rider at age 17, first riding just one horse and assisting in the care-taking of the other horses, before being assigned more horses. She also took a position as working student in Holger Schmezer's barn where she honed her skills.

She met U.S. show jumper and dressage rider Bernie Traurig at the Verden auction center in 1982, where the American bought the top priced horse Amonasro. He brought both the horse and Christine to the U.S.A. "He asked me to come to the US to „show us Americans to put a warmblood on the bit," Christine told Eurodressage. They fell in love and Berni took her as his third wife. The couple moved to California and were based at Royal Oaks Farm and later at The Oaks in San Juan Capistrano. "Bernie started doing business buying and selling horses with Johann Hinnemann in 1985," Christine reminisced. "We imported great horses: Azurit, Walzertakt, Epernay, Lectron, Orpheus, Nemesis."

Her first U.S. career-launching horse was Nemesis, which she trained and showed and was named 1988 USDF Horse of the Year. This horse came from the Verden auction and was originally named Wendus (ridden there by Ulf Möller). it was bought and imported for Christine to ride.

Traurig and Etienne at the 2000 CDI Arnheim
The big break in her career came at the end of the 1990s when Berni's jumper clients Bob and Colleen Haas,  the ceo of Levi Strauss and whose daughter Elise took a keen interest in jumping, decided to fully sponsor Christine to achieve her Olympic dream. They bought Etienne and Christine got the opportunity to train with Johann Hinnemann in Europe in 1999-2000. She won bronze with team USA at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney alongside Robert Dover, Susan Blinks and Guenter Seidel. She divorced Bernie Traurig in 2000, but retained his last name. They have two children together, Natasha and Lucas. 

Etienne had to be sold after the Sydney Olympics and Christine found new sponsors,  Dan and Kelly Trierweiler of Rockford, MI, who bought the horse for her in 2001. Christine continued to commute between Germany and the U.S.A. until 2004. At that time she rode Limited Edition in the Bundeschampionate qualifiers and finals as well as FEI level horses Cordino and More Magic.  The Trierweilers ended their sponsorship in 2005, sold More Magic, and Christine moved back to the U.S.A. 

Traurig in conversation with Uwe Schwanz
at the 2005 Bundeschampionate
In 2009 she returned to competition in the USA with small tour horse Fiego and in 2010 with Grand Prix horse Sambuca. She was based at Albert Court Stables in Rancho Sante Fe, CA at the time and found a new sponsor in Janet Balmuth and Michelle Leonard, who bought her Louisdor.  Between 2011 and 2016 the horses Oene V, Willow, Aristotle and Louisdor were her show rides. She rode her last competition on Louisdor in April 2016 at the Festival of the Horse after having spent the winter in Florida.

Coaching Role

Over the past decade Traurig took up the role as coach. She coached international riders such as Kathleen Raine with Breanna, David Wightman with Partous, Sabine Shut-Kery with Sanceo, and Jan Ebeling with Rafalca and Rassolini.

Traurig at the 2013 CDIO Aachen
In 2013 Christine became a member of USEF’s Dressage High Performance Committee. She was appointed U.S. young horse trainer in 2015, succeeding Scott Hassler, and has now moved into the U.S. Development coaching position.

“I am excited to be stepping into the Development Coach role for the program. Our sights are set on the future and how we can continue to strengthen our development pipeline of talented horses and riders,” said Traurig who lives in Carlsbad, CA. “It’s also an honor to be appointed as Chef d’Equipe for this summer, and a full circle moment for me in my career, as I hope to share my knowledge and past Olympic experience as an athlete and coach as guidance and support to our high-performance combinations on the road to Paris this summer.” 

Christine currently operates out of The Palms Equestrian Center in San Marcos, CA.

Photos © Mary Phelps - Astrid Appels - Dirk Caremans

Related Links
Christine Traurig Appointed New U.S. Young Horse Coach
Louisdor, New Grand Prix ride for Christine Traurig
Christine Traurig and Etienne Reunited
Arts, Brock, Holzer, Seidel Identified as First Trainers of new U.S. Dressage Coaches Support Network