However, Bernadette did not stick her head in the sand for very long. Instead, she found a stable in Vidauban at the French Riviera which she developed and made into a tournament Mecca. Following her back operation, in 2007 she organised her first national tournament, one year later a CSI3* already followed. Already at the very first edition of the tournament, show jumping experts such as Rodgrigo Pessoa, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Steve Guerdat, Kevin Staut and Schröder-Brüder attended. Later there were dressage tournaments, which were very well received. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro rode their first Grand Prix here – and the German champion rider Fabienne Lütkemeier celebrated her international Grand Prix debut. In 2015, Bernadette arranged a CDI5* in Vidauban for the second time, a national prize tournament for the third time, and, as a high point, she organised the European Championships for Dressage for Juniors and Young Riders in July.
The jump was swapped for the dressage saddle
But then there was more she wanted than to organise tournaments. It is true that there was no return for her to the show jumping course, but, with a slight limitation in the right leg, she could still do dressage riding – the sport which Bernadette had always considered a challenge. “Previously I always thought, ‘You are not good enough for that!,” explained the stud farm operator. “I had always liked dressage so much, but I never imagined that I could go dressage riding myself.” Slowly Bernadette began to approach the new sport. She had, through a dealer, received a De Niro progeny for breaking in, with which she initially attended some training courses, in order to later on, successfully, ride the first tournaments. After three years she rode the first Inter II. Acclaimed trainers, such as Jan Bemelmans, then Anky van Grunsven, and Udo Lange, did, however, take Bernadette’s riding to new heights. In 2011 the former show jumper attended her first Grand Prix with Valeron (Sandro Hit)/Houston. At the end of 2014 the first CDI5* in Salzburg was on the cards, and, in 2015, with Spirit of the Age OLD, even the first Prize of the Nations. At her third Prize of the Nations tournament in Vidauban on her own site, her face became even more radiant upon winning the Prize of the Nations with Team Germany.
Afer six years of novice (A) level dressage tests she made an entrance in Grand Prix sport – impressive! Virtually 100 advanced (S) placings can be found on her success list, which includes 20 wins, all of which at international level. Then there were another 40 national advanced (S) level placings in France, which included 15 Grand Prix achievements. “Previously, dressage was my hobby and jumping my profession”, says Bernadette with a smile. “Today it is the other way round.”