Wellington, FL – Colombian dressage rider Marco Bernal, who represented his country in the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup in Las Vegas, recently received a prestigious Athlete Award. Bernal was awarded a medal from Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez during a private ceremony in Colombia. “This is the only award of its kind that has been given out to a Colombian athlete and it is truly an honor to win it,” Bernal said. “I placed 11th in the World Cup last year and Colombia was thrilled to be 11th best in the world. It really meant a lot to my country that I was able to represent them in the World Cup and it also means a lot to me to be given this award.”
Bernal, who owns and operates Marco Bernal International Dressage in Wellington, said he was pleased to meet the Colombian President during the award ceremony. “He is also a horse person so he asked me about my horses and he was very up-to-date on my career,” Bernal said, adding that the Olympic committee also awarded him with a certificate during the ceremony.
Bernal’s award recognized his long and accomplished career that includes riding for Colombia in multiple Pan American Games, winning a silver medal in the 1999 Pan Am Games, earning the world record at WEF in 2005 with a score of 85.385% on Farewell IV; and earning the highest score at the National Horse Show in 2004.
Bernal’s dressage career continues to impress, as he returned from his meeting with the Colombian President and went straight to the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge CDI where he and Farewell IV captured the reserve in the Prix St. Georges class. “I spoke to the dressage community at Sho Clothes ‘Shop Talk’ on a Wednesday night, jumped on a plane flew to Colombia and received my award Thursday and then was back on the plane Thursday afternoon and went straight to the Spring Challenge CDI show,” Bernal said.
Bernal is also the Café de Colombia image for the dressage world, as he is sponsored by the National Colombian Coffee Federation, a federation well known for supplying coffee beans to many prominent coffee brands around the world. “It’s a wonderful feeling being part of something that has such a great product,” Bernal said. “I start every day with a cup of Colombian coffee, and have for my whole life. I can’t function without my coffee in the morning.”
Bernal grew up in Colombia where he developed his love for horses on his father’s farm. He was the first Latin American to graduate from the prestigious German riding school Warendorf, and has since gone on to make a name for himself as a top dressage rider. Under the National Colombian Coffee Federation sponsorship he competes three horses: Halbgott, a Trakehner stallion who qualified for the 2007 Pan Am Games; Farewell IV, a Westphalian stallion who earned the world record at WEF in 2005; and Maybach, a Westphalian stallion who earned the highest score at the National Horse Show in 2004.
“I am thrilled to have been awarded the Athlete Award. It is positive image for my country and I will continue to represent them as best I can,” Bernal said.
For more information on Bernal or his Marco Bernal International Dressage farm in Wellington, visit his website at www.marcobernaldressage.com.