There was no resting on their laurels for Americas’ dressage sweethearts Debbie McDonald and Brentina after they brought down the house at the FEI Las Vegas World Cup Final last week where the pair finish third on the scoreboard, but first in the hearts of the crowd. The dynamic duo headed from Las Vegas to Del Mar California, for the Del Mar National Dressage CDI*** April 29-May1, where they won again at the Grand Prix (74.667%) and the Grand Prix Freestyle (80.725%) in a class with solid National competition.
McDonald is now on a mission to boost her FEI rider ranking which slipped after taking time off before the Olympics in 2004 to nurse Brentina’s minor injury, and then taking a well deserved rest after Athens. Debbie admitted that 2004 was a rough year, and gave her cause for some deep reflection. “The Olympics was not a fun experience for me.” recalls McDonald speaking with DressageDaily after the World Cup. “It was a rough year not able to get Brentina ready and fit the way I would have liked for the Olympic Games. I thought long and hard about everything, and decided I have got to find a way to make it fun again, or I would have to hang my (top) hat.”
McDonald found a way alright, with her brilliant freestyle designed for Las Vegas with Terri Gallo, to the Mo Town music RESPECT, and Brick House. “I have to thank Terry for sticking her neck out on this one.” said Debbie. Using music with vocals, traditionally a no no with the FEI Judging contingency, McDonald had decided this year to give the people who had come to see them perform something to remember, regardless of what the judges might think.
“The atmosphere in Las Vegas was so unbelievable.” recalls McDonald. “I decided when I went down that last center line in Las Vegas, no matter what mistakes I might have made in the test, Brentina and I were there for the crowd, and I wanted them with us.” As McDonald and Brentina turned down the center line, the audience was bursting but trying hard not to disrupt their nearly flawless rhythmical performance. “I wanted the crowd to start rocking,” said Debbie, “so I gave them the nod.” And rock they did as the entire audience leapt to a standing ovation that began before the end of the ride.
McDonald went on to thank all of her fans and the audience for making her performance at the Las Vegas Dressage World Cup Final her most memorable, adding a special thanks to the Thomas Family for their support, and to her family for allowing her to live her dream.
HorsesDaily On the Scene at the FEI Las Vegas World Cup Finals
HorsesDaily ScoreSource 2005 – Results
Del Mar CDI***,
FEI Dressage Las Vegas World Cup Final