Former national dressage champion Nicky Barrett has resigned as British Dressage (BD) team trainer for juniors and young riders, citing the lack of “leadership structure” within BD for her departure.

Mrs Barrett, who was appointed team trainer in November 2006, refrained from commenting further, telling H&H: “I feel I can’t discuss the obvious weaknesses of BD.”

But in a letter to H&H she confirmed her resignation, writing: “We have a group of youngsters who deserve better. They are ill-served by this visible misalignment within the leadership structure. It is in their best interests that I step down.”

There was friction at last year’s European championships — where Britain’s juniors finished sixth and the young riders second last — when riders’ individual trainers were felt to be working at odds with the training regime laid out by Mrs Barrett.

Anne-Marie Perry, who is in her final year of young riders and was on Mrs Barrett’s European team last year, said: “Having a team trainer is essential and, if home and team trainers work together, everything runs smoothly.”

But BD confirmed there is no plan to replace Mrs Barrett.

British Young Riders Dressage Scheme director Islay Auty does not foresee the absence of a team trainer being a problem.

“Nicky’s done a phenomenal amount and will still be very much involved as a personal trainer to some of our riders — I don’t envisage there being a tremendous change,” she said.

“Claire Moir [chef d’equipe] and I will co-ordinate everyone and bring it altogether.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (17 April, ’08)