Haha, so one person voted on my poll, and they wanted to know more about the people here at Pferdezentrum Franken.
The best way to describe the people here collectively, is my Pferdezentrum Franken "Family" mostly because of Gabi and her husband. Aside from their incredible hospitality (which rivals that which you find in the south I might add), I really haven't met people here that I haven't liked, or that have noticably haven't liked me. I'm going to try to describe everyone I've written about here in such a way that you understand their job and relationship with me, but without giving you too much information as to invade their privacy.
Gabi (Frau Nimsky): Gabi is best described as the manager of the stables and riding program, as well as the head riding instructor. She organizes all of the classes and schools, and carefully arranges the riders into their groups and places them with horses she thinks suit them best. I already knew that Gabi was an incredible rider and trainer when I got here, because my mother and I have trained with one of her students, Karin, and she's been a great trainer and instructor. What I didn't think about was how great she'd be at reading me, my abilities, and my relationships with the horses. Not only does she place me on horses that help me work on what I need to improve, but she knows even before I say anything if I enjoy the horse, what's frustrating me about my riding, and what I've been dying to do since I got here (case and point, cross country). On top of being one of the greatest instructors I've ever had lessons with, she's been so hospitable! She and her husband lent me a bike for my time here, ask if I need a ride to the store, offer to help me with laundry, everything. She's really gone above and beyond what I expected when I got here, and I hope I can return again soon to make more great memories here!! (Also, Karin says she's coming to visit in August! Yay!)
Herr Magnussen (Gabi's Husband): Mr Magnussen doesn't speak very much english, something Gabi told me right away. Haha, what she didn't tell me was how excited he was to try! He manages the garden at Pferdezentrum Franken, and I frequently see him walking around with their dog Celine. Everytime he sees me he waves and says hello, asks about my rides, or if the bike is working well for me. He is even trying to teach Celine english! She knows "come here" very well, and is working on "sit." They brighten my day everytime I see them! Haha, he even jokingly asked if I wanted to borrow the car! Mr Magnussen is a former police officer, and helped me get situated with the bike by adjusting it and filling the tires for me. I was a little worried before I met him about the language barrier and making sure my german was correct when I spoke to him, but he's been great about all of my attempts! Celine has also been integral to my happiness here, since I miss Dixie SOOOO much, its nice to see a dog around who's happy to see me. I'm going to miss these two!
Marvin: Aside from Gabi, Marvin speaks the best english here. He's best described as her apprentice or intern, and has been here for two years. He and the other full time students here take care of the barn and ride ALL the horses everyday. Marvin gives lessons occasionally, but lately he's been doing more riding. He's a very good rider! All the horses look so easy to ride when he's on them, then you give it a try and its a total disaster. He's also a great instructor, very empathetic to the rider's frustrations and condition (he gives me breaks when I'm huffing and puffing). What I really enjoy about my friendship with Marvin is how positive he is about things, he's enthusiastic when we talk about a particular horse, and clearly enjoys his job very much. I also like how he occasionally asks "for my help" by asking what different parts of the horse are in english, or the lyrics to a song, etc. He's been so helpful to me with the horses and the riding, its nice to feel like I can help him with something he's interested in learning.
Daniela: Gabi's assistant. She doesn't speak english as well as Marvin, but knows more than she gives herself credit for. She gave me most of my lessons when I first got here, and gave me a lot of confidence. She too is an incredible rider, it looks like she is doing nothing when she rides, the only hint that she's giving the horse cues is that the horse responds. She's been on vacation recently, but when she was around she'd frequently talk to me about Pingu and Lupo. I kind of miss seeing her around.
Katrin: One of the "interns." Katrin isn't very confident with english, but is easier to understand than she thinks she is. She's given me one lesson since I've been here. Katrin frequently rides Pretty Witch and Santorin (two of the horses in training here), and is also a great rider (notice a pattern?). She's really easy to work with too, very happy all the time, and helpful when I'm unsure about how a certain chore should be completed. She's had the last couple days off too as I'm writing this, and I'm finding myself missing seeing her around too!
Tina: Another "intern." She's the big jumper here. I've watched her jump a couple horses they are trying for the school here, and holy cow, talk about talent. She doesn't know much english, but we're facebook friends anyway. Since the language barrier is a bit bigger than it is with some of the other people here, we don't talk as much, but we're still very friendly!
My peers here (aka fellow students in my lessons, I am only mentioning the ones that I am particularly close to) have been and are: Lena, Corinna, Alisa, Svenja, Johanna, and Stefanie. They were all in the group lessons I took my first week and a half, and Stefanie has returned for this week of seat lessons. I can't put into words how much I value my friendships with these girls! They have really made a difference in how comfortable, confident, and entertained I've been since I arrived. Vielen Dank girls if you're reading this!!!