Jumping High: Paulina Moreno


11th Grader Paulina Moreno jumps 1.30 meter hurdle during competition in Bacata, Bogotá last year.

Nerves and adrenaline race through her as she takes off to jump. People in the bleachers cheer her, but in her mind, it’s just her and her horse. It will be her first jump in a competition, and she can’t mess this up. Finally, she hears her cue and starts to gallop. All the stress melts away and is replaced with absolute joy. At that moment, she knew she wanted to do this forever. 

Ever since that moment, it has been seven years, and Paulina Moreno, Grade 11, has been sub-champion in her category and ended champion in Juveniles, her respective class in 2021. She became runner-up in the Mercedes Benz Cup. Her achievements with her horse, Chacco Brown, shaped her into the rider she is today, and although she just took over her sister’s horse, Kaya Z, she has shown an immediate connection with her. This year, she is jumping Juniors and her recognition doesn’t seem to end; since January 2016, Paulina has been following a dizzying ascent in horse riding.

There’s nothing like looking a horse in the eye and feeling that connection. They take away all the pain and worries leaving you full of joy, Moreno said. 

All in the family

Horse fever runs in Paulina’s family. Her mom and dad practiced the sport when they were young, and her grandfather had a farm with almost 100 racing horses. Although Paulina didn’t seem to perceive her legacy and love towards horses in her early years, in 2016 it came to light. 

“Paulina got into horse riding almost by mistake, although I have always dreamed of my daughters riding horses and sharing my passion with me. While living in Wellington (Florida), which is the winter equestrian capital of the world, I never saw them interested, so I didn’t expect them to show any interest when we arrived in Colombia. Ironic isn’t it?” Isabel Cristina Gómez, Moreno’s mom, said. 

The beginnings

In January 2016, when their neighbors from the USA came to visit, they rented some horses at the Club Llanogrande to have a ride. It was then that Elena and Paulina, the youngest of three siblings, went crazy over the horses, and their lives changed at that moment. 

Paulina started training on Sundays, and month by month, she added a day to the schedule until she went every day. At the moment Paulina does show jumping, a discipline within horsemanship that consists of a synchronized event, judged on the ability of horse and rider to jump over a series of obstacles in a given order. Paulina had her first horse a year later and found her loyal partner and friend. 

“I’ve known Paulina for about five years, and we have always been together in the sport. I admire her because she is competitive, persistent, dedicated, and always wants the best for her horse,” Mariana Torres, Moreno’s best friend, said. 

Moreno competed with her first horse for two years and managed to jump in her category competitions. Then her mom gave her the horse she has today so she could jump higher. With this horse, she has won various recognitions. This year, she is jumping juniors and is going to a championship in Bogotá known as El Nacional on December 9, known as the most important of the year. 

“My mom has been an incredible support, both with the budget but also with the best attitude and love. She has always known what the horse riding world is like, values, risks, sacrifices, etc., and she has always given us the best since day one,” Moreno said.


Paulina spent three years in virtual school at the Lawren Springs Institution, as she wanted to dedicate herself to riding entirely, and for three years, she did not get off a horse. Moreno rode in the morning from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and was in the stalls all day while studying virtually. Although it was an enriching experience for her in which she fulfilled her dreams and passion, in 2022 she returned to TCS. Even though she did not want to put her passion aside, socializing and being on campus became a need for her.

The pandemic offers an opportunity

With the onset of the COVID pandemic, Paulina’s mom decided to pursue her dream, and it was then that Alma Equestrian was born. The impotence her family felt by not being able to horseback ride during lockdown was unbearable. Then, Paulina’s mom had an outburst in setting up her horseback riding site. 

She began to encourage the trainers they had at that time, and although at the beginning she didn’t receive much support, her determination and perseverance led her to the site they have today, with a track and, by now, 30 stalls. What better gift for Paulina than having a place to ride at her own home?

The present and future

At the moment, Paulina continues with her sport, but instead of riding several horses, as she did while homeschooling, she only rides her own at home with a special trainer who comes to her house and helps her prepare for competitions. The School has always supported her and has made this possible. Some teachers are flexible with delivery dates and she has a slightly different schedule since she is a high-performance athlete. 

For instance, she doesn’t need to attend PE classes, she can use that time as a study hall to catch up with all her pending school work. Also, whenever she attends her competitions, or what they call “Clínicas” she gets an excused absence.

“Paulina is an outstanding student; she is charming, polite, and always on top of her life and goals. She perseveres a lot, and that is something I admire about her because once she sets her mind to do something and to be somewhere, she gets it.” Susana Arias, High School Learning Center coordinator, said.

Paulina plans to pursue her love for horses throughout her life; she doesn’t aspire to be an Olympic horse rider; instead, she plans to study. Thus, there is one dream that Paulina has clear, and is her aspiration that once she has a family, horses are involved in their lives. 

“I would love to continue riding, instill this in my children, jump and continue with this sport since it is the moment where I disconnect from the world and only my horse and I matter, which is incredible,” Moreno said.