Each week I interview the people behind some of the most interesting and popular equestrian accounts on instagram. This week I’m chatting with German based Gabriele Thombansen, hoping to learn more about the lovely lady behind the fascinating @gabriele_thombansen instagram account.
Tell us about you and your horse
I am a barrister and a solicitor (which is the same profession in Germany) and I live with my husband and our dog in Paderborn. My husband is British – so far – an active member of the British Army. He will leave this autumn to settle down in Germany. I have never moved house with him, as I think every woman should earn her own money and pension scheme, so I did.
How did your horse come into your life?
After my horse Campino was put down in October 2018 (after being a happy pensioner for 6 years), I started to look for a new horse on the internet on a horse-selling-site (ehorses.de).
I was looking for an uncomplicated gelding for hacking and a little dressage, preferable a grey, but they were stabled all quite far away and I was very busy at work and could not drive to the north or south of Germany. So I did look at other horses.
Lancelot was published as being a dark bay, 18 hh Hanoverian. He was stabled an hour away from Paderborn. I phoned and arranged to see and ride him in a weeks’ time. Four days before the date the owner phoned and said she would be sorry, but he was sold. Two days later she phoned again and said that the buyers had not picked him up, if were still interested. Naturally we were. It was the 3rd of November, St. Hubertus Day, the day the Germans remember St. Hubertus, patron saint of all shooters and riders. What sign is it when you have a look at a horse on St. Hubertus Day? Riding and a little hack were ok. On the way home my husband and I stopped at our favourite restaurant for dinner and decided to buy him.
The next day I phoned the owner and said we would buy him, in case the vet exam went ok. My husband wanted this as our former horse had not been ridable for 6,5 years. When we drove with our horse box to pick him up, I said to my husband: We can have the vet exam, but whatever the result will be, he stays. My husband sighed deeply and said: Then there is no need for a vet exam.
When we got out of the car I said to the owner: Other than said before there will be no vet exam, we are not buying a horse, but a friend. Then we both cried for the rest of the time. She had sold him for time and financial reasons, and I offered her to ride him whenever she wants. So she does. As well she agreed to look after him in case my husband and I die at the same time, e.g. via a traffic accident. The money to keep Lancelot will come from selling our house.
How long have you been riding?
Since my childhood, but I stopped at about 20, when going to university, and started again at 40. I did not have the time never mind the money to have my own horse. But I go shooting as well, mostly roe buck shooting. Shooting is very different to shooting in England. E.g. raising pheasant to shoot them after they are releases is strictly forbidden. Animal welfare is a big theme here.
When and where do you ride?
I ride 3- 4 times per week. There is an indoor-arena at our yard, which is partly open. There I ride dressage.
As well we can go for a hack around the yard. There are small country streets, with not much traffic. In autumn, when the crop is gone, we can use the fields.
When I want to go real hacking, I have to load and drive about 10 minutes.
How did you start riding?
Classical childhood passion: As a girl I was mad on horses and got a pony when I was nine!
What are you and your horse currently working on?
We want to be more content while hacking.
What do you love about riding?
Horses are a paradise island in the rough sea of everyday life! They just make you happy and content with yourself. It clears your mind. As a barrister and solicitor, I have to solve the problems of my clients, and quite often you think about the legal case after work and at the weekends. At the yard everything flies off me.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I want to do more hacking and maybe join a hunting club, which is in Germany just drag hunting (since 1934!)
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Quite often. I am not the most confident rider.
If so, how do you deal with them
Just go on, deep breathing.
Your Top Tip
When your horse does not behave as you want, it is always your fault! Invest in a good trainer!
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
My horse! About 30 years ago it would have been Milton, the grey show jumper from John Whitaker.
I was surprised to read that when the CEO from Mercedes Benz left the company, he was allowed one wish, and it was to ride Milton. I could understand him.
Who is your equestrian hero?
Ingrid Klimke, the German eventer. As she shows a horsemanship attitude combined with international success.
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Ursula von der Leyen (current EU-commission president)
Christine Lagarde (current president European Central Bank)
Maria Furtwängler (German actress) and feminist
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event
Eventing championship in Luhmühlen in June
Anything that is sweet
Favourite way to relax
Riding and being at the stables
Reading with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and a piece of cake
Eating and drinking with friends
Murder mystery, just as Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple
British romantic comedy films, as Four weddings and a funeral
Biographic films about woman
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