Marco Bernal - From Warendorf to Wellington

Marco Bernal - Dressage Rider/Trainer Representing Columbia

Charlotte Bernal with Marco and Farewell IV winning the Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy at the 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Pictured to the right is Holly Simensen and international "O" judge Stephen Clarke
Charlotte Bernal with Marco and Farewell IV winning the Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy at the 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Pictured to the right is Holly Simensen and international "O" judge Stephen Clarke

Marco’s dressage career kicked into high gear at age 25, when he and his wife, Charlotte, moved to Germany to attend the prestigious riding school in Warendorf. “It was very, very hard going to Germany because we didn’t speak the language and we weren’t used to the customs,” Marco said, thinking back to the early days of his dressage career. “The weather was also hard, in fact it was probably the most difficult thing we had to deal with. Germany is cold and wet, and we were used to the weather in South America.”

Despite the weather and cultural differences, Marco became the first Latin American to graduate from Warendorf, and has since gone on to make a name for himself as a top international dressage rider for Colombia -- winning a silver medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games and competing in the 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas for his native Colombia.

Following their stay in Germany, Marco and Charlotte returned to Bogotá, Colombia, where in 1990 Marco became the national dressage trainer for the Colombian team. “We represented my country in many international shows including the Central American and Caribbean Games and the Pan American Games, earning many prizes along the way,” Marco said.

During his early years, Marco would travel to Wellington in the winter to compete. “Living in Florida was always my dream,” Marco said. “We would come to Florida to show in the winter and when I returned to Colombia I always felt sad.”

Marco Bernal and Marco Jr. Marco's family often participates as volunteers at local dressage shows.
Marco Bernal and Marco Jr. Marco's family often participates as volunteers at local dressage shows.

In 1997, Marco, Charlotte and their three children -- Juanita, Manuela and Marco Junior -- moved to Wellington and opened Marco Bernal International Dressage. “I am living this beautiful dream now,” Marco said, adding that all three of his children ride. “They ride but it is more of a hobby for them. Marco Junior is very interested in polo right now. He practices every day.”

Marco’s goal is to “make the ordinary horse extraordinary” and he offers instruction from Training Level to Grand Prix at his showcase farm in Wellington that features 22 stalls and a covered indoor arena. “I enjoy going to my farm every day to train horses and teach my students. That is what my day is all about. What I like about teaching is being able to provide the students the tools they need to help them achieve results or teaching them an easier way for horse and rider.” View Marco’s amazing facility at www.marcobernaldressage.com.

Marco credits his wife, Charlotte, with being his constant support throughout his career. “We have a wonderful partnership. Charlotte is involved in everything, from landscaping and decorating the barn, to working on the music for my musical freestyles,” Marco said.




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