Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID, was awarded the Whitney Stone Cup at the USET Foundation luncheon held at the USEF annual convention in Los Angeles, CA. Each year since 1980, the Whitney Stone Cup has been awarded to an individual who has achieved a distinguished record in international competition while also serving as an exemplary ambassador for equestrian sports.
Having already ridden to one of the most distinguished careers in U.S. dressage history, McDonald achieved an unprecedented honor in 2003 when she became the first U.S. rider to earn the title of World Cup champion. Teaming with her well-known partner, Peggy and Parry Thomas's Brentina, McDonald won the World Cup championship with an amazing score of 78.89% in the Grand Prix Freestyle in the Final at Gothenburg, Sweden.
This outstanding performance continued a run of record-breaking performances by McDonald and Brentina. In 2002, they led the U.S. to its best finish ever in a dressage World Championship, when they helped the U.S. win the team Silver Medal in the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. They also had the top individual finish by a U.S. rider, placing fourth overall. McDonald and Brentina's success together goes back to 1999 when they won team and individual Gold Medals at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.
McDonald joins an impressive list of previous winners that has included in recent years, show jumper Peter Wylde, dressage rider Guenter Seidel, driver Tucker Johnson and eventer Karen O'Conner.