Home » Equestrian »Lifestyle »People » Currently Reading:

Marina Genn: World Class Athlete, Trainer & Visionary

August 2, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Equestrian, Lifestyle, People No Comments

The Woman Behind The American Academy of Equestrian Sciences
By Carol Morris Dukes

They’re lined up, dressed alike, facing forward, shoulder to shoulder.

Tallest first, the line angles downward according to height. The last one is an alert, tiny girl. Her eyes are fixed on the imposing figure at the head of the
line; lunge whip in hand. The light is dim, the walls dark. They’re standing in an arena, moments before performing. The black and white photo captures a pivotal time for little Marina Genn, taken in her early years of riding instruction with German trainer and mentor, Adi Jachmich. A tiny spitfire, Marina was 13 years old when that photo was taken.

I admit to knowing little or nothing about riding–or about horses for that matter. My curiosity has everything to do with Marina. She’s not an ordinary woman, and from the moment she pauses from the unrelenting demands of her work and zeros in on you, you sense an energy that belies her petite form. She has that sort of aura; a charisma. A rare thing to have—it begs the question: Who are you? And finding out was not particularly easy. Marina is not exactly forthcoming about herself. Despite her bright smile and happy demeanor, she’s actually a bit shy.

Born Marina Ridder in Gelsenkirchen, Germany in the 1950’s, Ms. Genn can’t claim horsemanship as a birthright. Marina would discover her passion for horses later—-after she back-flipped her way onto, then off of, the German Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team.

A natural-born athlete, born to natural-born athletes, Marina was exposed to rigorous physical activity and enjoyed a competitive camaraderie with her older brother and her father, who pushed themselves to their athletic physical limits. Marina remembers her first 100 mile bike ride with her dad–in one day, in pouring rain–when she was nine years old. No small feat when you consider the rolling terrain of the German countryside. Swimming, skiing, biking, running, jumping—she was taught to approach every sport and school competition with the expectation of winning. Her parents told her: “When faced with a challenge, set a goal. If you’re not up to the challenge–fake it! By telling yourself you WILL do it–and picturing yourself mastering it, you’ll accomplish that goal.” With that belief, she always strived to be number one–the fastest, smartest, strongest, jump-ingest amongst her peers.

A petite child, Marina’s skill and limitless energy was funneled like a power nozzle into Germany’s well-honed gymnastic arena. She rose to the top of her sport and at 11 she was short-listed for the Women’s Olympic Gymnastic Team. Years of rigorous training came to an abrupt end when her parents pulled the plug: the Olympic Team trained in another city and Marina would have to move there under the tutelage of her coaches. “Verboten!” her parents declared. They wouldn’t turn their daughter out at such a young age. “My world came crashing down,” described Marina; “All those years of training–for nothing.” An emotional letdown— but not the end of the world.

Feeling bored, and searching for a new challenge, Marina stumbled upon a riding stable near her home and discovered Vaulting—a sort of circus gymnastics on horseback. Marina was a shoe-in. She had never ridden before, but she loved animals and knew something about tumbling. Never mind that this tumbling was on a moving target. Enter Adi Jachmich, the riding and Vaulting instructor who would become her mentor. “He was the most incredible person I have ever known,” she reflected: “It was his selfless care and influence, in combination with the extremely structured upbringing by my parents that gave me my inner drive and made me the person I am today.”

Herr Jachmich instructed with an eye toward precision. Students stood at attention and arrived for class spit and polished. He demanded excellence in everything. Marina was his tiniest student, but quickly became his best. One day Adi had a contest in which he asked his students to vault from the ground, up onto a cantering horse and back down again—-up and down, up and down, as many times as they could. One by one each student was drilled and would typically tire out after 10 or 15 rounds. The oldest and tallest boy in the class “wowed” everyone by vaulting 50 times. When it was little Marina’s turn, she nervously and silently vowed to beat the record, and proceeded to vault up and down, over and over, until everyone was watching and pointing, and until Adi finally told her to stop. By then she’d gone over 175 rounds! That drive to keep on going is exactly what makes Marina, well, Marina.

Armed with mentors like Adi Jachmich and her parents, Marina rode, read and researched (the three R’s!) in earnest, developing a keen interest in the anatomy and physiology of horses (a top student, she was being groomed for Medical School). Her interest in Vaulting eventually took a back seat to the highly respected, German-dominated sport of Dressage Jumping and Eventing. A natural, Marina could read horses like a book. They understood one another. Over the following years, Marina became exceptional, and competed in the Show Jumping Ring and Three Day Eventing course. And began winning. A lot.

A rising star, Marina became sought after as a trainer. She married a fellow equestrian, took the surname, Genn, and in the late 1970’s, her barn became the top center in Germany for the training and breeding of fine competition horses. Marina competed against, and trained with, the elite in World Class Dressage. In 1982, her family moved to Ontario, Canada and she was soon operating the largest equestrian importing business in North America, producing top-quality horses—including 37 international-caliber athletes– while advancing her notoriety in the show ring.

In 1987, Marina Genn was long-listed for the Canadian Olympic Equestrian

Team, riding Woodstock… her second Olympic-level achievement. Soon, Marina was spending much of her time criss crossing the US in private planes provided by well-heeled equestrians eager to learn from her. She was in demand–and riding high. And then, in 2005, Marina arrived on the local Loudoun County equestrian scene. Just south of Leesburg on Route 15, Marina Genn’s American Academy of Equestrian Sciences is hard to miss. The finely appointed AAES advertises itself as a “full service, indoor equestrian facility…From beginner through the Olympic levels in Dressage, Stadium Jumping, and Three Day Eventing, our equestrian programs are second to none.” A clue to her move here appears on her website: “The formation of the Academy as a training base…marks a new era of horsemanship education in the United States.”

“Training base?” “New era?” For all of her past accomplishments, Marina’s goal, it appears, has not yet been realized: Her keen training skills and affection for horses may help to re-write the book on American Dressage. Trying to find ways to help reduce injury and the reliance on heavy equine medical care, Marina hopes to help usher in compliance with standardized training methods in the US Dressage industry. And when Marina decides to do something, well, she does it.

“Our long term plans include University accreditation for both our Rider and Instructor Certification Programs, as well as establishing a relationship with the US Dressage Federation and the American Horse Show Association to aid in enforcing uniform licensing and certification programs by providing an educational backdrop for riders and instructors alike,” Marina explained. In places like Germany, Dressage trainers follow a standard curriculum proven to reduce injury to horses, while still turning out World Class Champions. Once this program is established here, she plans to expand and open satellite facilities in strategic locations across North America.

Change takes time, but Marina is a patient woman and she has a plan, starting with her well-advertised Camp Koda, which offers after-school and summer riding camps to kids, and her AAES Riding Academy which offers riding instruction to kids and adults of all skill levels. Students can take traditional riding lessons, or the structured Rider Certificate Courses involving classroom training with an emphasis on Theory.

No longer wanting to travel internationally to work with trainers, Marina supports her vision through other, non-horse related businesses she owns and manages, both in the US and abroad. She’s an entrepreneur extraordinaire with a work ethic that harkens to her early days of limitless energy. She just goes and goes and goes. Ever the spitfire, Marina is unflinching in her expectation for success. Her parents and Adi taught her well. As if to emphasize this point—Marina shows me a photograph taken a few months ago. She passes me the picture, her eyes twinkling as she grins broadly. Holding the glossy in my hand, I am astounded to see Marina poised upside down, toes pointed, doing a perfectly executed shoulder stand on the back of a horse. Challenged by a student, she just couldn’t help herself. Typical Marina Genn.

She has had a lot of successes, but she beams with pride when she discusses her handful of young equestrians that are beginning to show promise as the first wave of Dressage upstarts that began when she first opened AAES in 2005. They are now beginning to fill the ranks of young trainers, themselves, and Marina feels satisfied that her vision for creating a standard for Dressage education in the US has a foothold. Forget her gymnastic and riding fame. She’s on to something big.

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Holocene Climate

noerpel_new

(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions

Smith0035

Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes

drmikenewpic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio

wage

I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power

noerpel_new

“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV
March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Constitutionally protected speech is exactly what it sounds like, protected. We all have the legal right to utter nonsensical and...
  • Martha on Protecting Free Speech: Free speech is not a cherished right at the not-quite accredited Patrick Henry College, a religious school that Del. LaRock...
  • Martha Polkey on First Look at Envision Loudoun Results: It remains to be seen whether the direction citizens have provided to the Envision process is actually incorporated into the...
  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Mr. LaRock, I assume that the only reason you weren’t at every School Board meeting in 2005 passionately defending the...
  • LongTimePville on Purcellville Emergency Meeting Postponed to March 10: I bet Kelli Grim flip flops on her conflicts of interest and transparency campaign she ran on and does not...

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

(Be the first to comment)

Keep Loudoun Beautiful—Greater Lovettsville Area Volunteers Needed

16 Mar 2017

Lovettsville Boat Launch 7-26-09

The Keep Loudoun Beautiful spring clean-up takes place the entire month of April and greater Lovettsville needs volunteers. Bags, vests, gloves and grabbers are available at the Lovettsville Community Center during normal business hours, Monday-Friday. This is a great group or individual activity that can be scheduled around your availability. E-mail Lovettsville Area Leader, Laura Lieberman, for details and to …

(Be the first to comment)

National Awkward Moments Day

8 Mar 2017

awkward

?Laughing at Yourself Is the Best Medicine No one knows who invented National Awkward Moments Day, Saturday, March 18. That’s no surprise, since it probably came about as the result of one stunningly awkward moment that the owner of that moment was hoping to forget. We surveyed our readers and friends to ask them about their most awkward moments, sharing …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Protecting Free Speech

Dave_larock

By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …

(3 comments)

Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

(Be the first to comment)

Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns

image002

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017

vikings

The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

(Be the first to comment)

WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017

WLVBC300

The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2017
  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009