Monica Theodorescu has been named the new head coach for the German dressage team starting Oct. 1. She will be the first woman in this function in Germany in any equestrian discipline.

After Holger Schmezer’s sudden death in April, Jonny Hilberath stepped in to prepare the German riders for the London Olympic Games. But just before the Games, he announced that he preferred to concentrate more on his own dressage training barn. Hilberath will resume his old position as assistant trainer for the team. He’ll share that job with Jürgen Koschel, who took on the role after the death of Schmezer.

Koschel, who is also the personal trainer of 2012 Olympic team silver medalist Kristina Sprehe, will continue to be responsible for the under-25 riders as he was before Schmezer’s death.

“I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, but I am also aware of the big responsibility I’m taking over,” said Theodorescu, 49.

For her it was a hard decision to step back from her own international career as a dressage rider. “Both duties are incompatible,” she said. But, she plans to continue training young horses at her barn and stud farm Gestut Lindenhof at Sassenberg (Germany). An assistant trainer will take over the current horses and clients in October.

Theodorescu is the daughter and most famous student of late dressage legend George Theodorescu and Inge Theodorescu, a great trainer herself. Although she went to school to be an interpreter and speaks five languages, for more than 35 years Monica has been among the top German dressage riders.

At the age of 19 Monica won the German Dressage Derby at Hamburg, and in 1993 and 1994 she came away the victor with Ganimedes in the FEI World Cup Dressage Finals. She rode on the gold-medal winning German team at three Olympic Games: in 1988 (Ganimedes), 1992 and 1996 (Grunox). In 1990, she earned team gold and individual bronze with Ganimedes at the World Championships (Sweden). Additionally, she won several medals in European Championships, including a team bronze in 2009 (Great Britain) aboard Whisper, with whom she was also the reserve combination for the London Olympics.