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.









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


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


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


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)


October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull


Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

(Be the first to comment)

FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

(Be the first to comment)

Painted Barrel Auction Saturday, October 8

6 Oct 2016


The Auction for The Painted Barrels around Purcellville will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m at the Bush Tabernacle – 250 S. Nursery Ave. Purcellville. Thirty-Five local Loudoun County artists were given an oak wine barrel to create a Purcellville / Loudoun theme on it. Each barrel was sponsored by a local business and was displayed throughout …

(Be the first to comment)


Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

(Be the first to comment)

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

(Be the first to comment)

Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana


Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

(Be the first to comment)


Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

(Be the first to comment)

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

(Be the first to comment)


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