The reigning World Cup Champion, Brentina ridden by Debbie McDonald and owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas of Sun Valley, ID, have withdrawn from the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, April 1-4, 2004 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The decision to withdraw Brentina from the competition was due to a mild strain found after CDI-Dortmund where she won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special. McDonald in consultation with U.S. Dressage Coach, Klaus Balkenhol, choose the conservative approach giving Brentina a short rest and assuring that she will be in top form for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Selection Trials in June.
“This is an important year with the Olympic Games in Athens this August, and it is imperative that all the preparations and plans for Brentina are focused on success in the Olympic Games,” Balkenhol said. “Brentina and Debbie have proven time and time again that they are a world-class combination and positioned to bring home an Olympic medal,” added Balkenhol.
"I am, of course, very disappointed and would have loved to defend my title at this prestigious championship. However, I am also excited about the Olympic Games and must remain focused on the main goal this year. It is bad timing, but fortunately it is not serious and she will be back in work in just a couple weeks,” said McDonald.
Brentina and McDonald have consistently proven they are top contenders for the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team and among the world's best. In 2003, McDonald riding Brentina earned the coveted title of World Cup Dressage Champion, helped the U.S. finish second in the team competition at CDIO-Aachen, placing third individually and were also members of the Silver Medal Team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games, placing 4th individually.