When Mexico’s Bernadette Pujals made her harmonious way through a 70% Grand Prix test in Aachen last week, she became one of the head turners of this year’s WEG dressage competition. Even more impressive, she finished tenth in the Grand Prix Speciale, ahead of such super stars as Kyra Kirkland, Edward Gal, Hubertus Schmidt, and Guenter Seidel. It is rare, almost unheard of, for a dressage rider to do so well with so little exposure to the European dressage community, and to the judges. So where did Berna Pujals come from, and how did she and her stallion Vincent rise up to become the tenth best pair in the world?
Berna’s personal road to Aachen has been a rough one; she was separated from her horse for two months, to be reunited with him only two weeks before the WEG. In the middle of a divorce, she was forced to give up her horse, whom her recently ‘ex’ husband intended to sell. "This horse is my friend. I could not just let him go.” Berna negotiated over some weeks with the support of friends, and eventually a deal was struck. Vincent would be returned to her. It would only cost her the home and farm she built in Mexico City. “I have had to give up everything for him.”