West Palm Beach, FL – The Central American and Caribbean Games may have been Farewell IV’s first time competing at a show outside of the country, but it turned out to be an award-winning gold adventure for the Westphalian stallion and his owner, trainer and rider Colombian dressage rider . Farewell IV and Bernal helped their team capture the Gold Medal in Puerto Rico and two days later the duo won the Individual Gold Medal. A special gold medal was also awarded to Bernal for the top rider-horse combination in the Prix St George and Intermediaire I.
Bernal, who has returned from the Games to Wellington and his Marco Bernal International Dressage farm, remains on cloud nine following the double gold victory. “It was a beautiful feeling to have Farewell compete under difficult conditions and remain so obedient and positive,” Bernal said. “During the team competition there was a tremendous rain storm and I had already warmed Farewell up and was about to enter the ring when they stopped the show. We had to wait about a half an hour before we could compete, but Farewell was with me every step of the way and it really was an excellent trip.”
Farewell IV and Bernal’s score of 70.053% helped the Colombian team clinch the Gold, followed by Guatemala winning the Silver and Mexico winning the Bronze. Princess Haya, from Dubai presented the Individual gold medal and was able to watch the riders during the Individual tests. Twenty-five dressage riders from nine countries competed in the XXI edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games. The equestrian events of the Games were held in San Juan, while the main Games were held in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
“I am so proud of how Farewell handled the Central American and Caribbean Games, especially knowing I trained him myself,” Bernal said. “He is a stallion with a beautiful spirit. It was his first time to fly to another country to compete and he was great about everything.”
Bernal, who is sponsored by HAE (Hydro Alternative Energy) as well as The Sanctuary Equine Sports Therapy & Rehabilitation Center in Ocala, Florida, Verhan Saddlery, Choice of Champions and Royal Champion Supplements, is well known for competing his three stallions on the dressage circuit – Halbgott, Maybach and Farwell IV. In 2007, he qualified for the Pan Am Games aboard Halbgott, a Trakehner stallion, earned the world record at WEF aboard Farewell IV, and with Maybach, also a Westphalian stallion, Bernal earned the highest score at the National Horse Show in 2004.
Bernal is looking forward to the future with Farewell, who will turn nine soon, and hopes that the Pan American Games are on the horizon. In the meantime, Bernal will represent Colombia at the 2010 World Equestrian Games with Halbgott. “It is an honor to compete at WEG and to represent my country. I am really excited about it,” Bernal said.
Bernal has a long and distinguished career that includes riding for Colombia in multiple Pan American Games, including winning a Silver medal in the 1999 Pan Am Games, and representing Colombia at the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup in Las Vegas. Bernal also earned the highest award bestowed upon an athlete in Colombia when he was awarded the Athlete’s Award, presented to him by the Colombian President.
For more information on Bernal or his Marco Bernal International Dressage farm in Wellington, visit his website at www.marcobernaldressage.com.