Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID, has become the first U.S. rider to hold the title of Dressage World Cup Champion. McDonald, who originally placed second to German rider Ulla Salzgeber in the 2003 World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden last March riding Mrs. Peggy C. Thomas’s Brentina, became the 2003 World Cup champion when Salzgeber was disqualified from the championship by the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Judicial Committee after it determined that her horse, Rusty 47, had been given Testoterone Propionate.
McDonald’s championship adds a new honor to her already-impressive string of successes. At the 2002 World Equestrian Games, McDonald and Brentina helped the U.S. dressage squad capture the team Silver Medal, marking the best finish ever for a United States dressage team in any World Championship or Olympic Games. Individually, McDonald had this country’s best Olympic or World Championship performance in history by coming in fourth. McDonald also rode Brentina to individual and team Gold Medals at the 1999 Pan American Games.
“This is yet another great day for U.S. dressage,” said Jessica Ransehousen, U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Vice President for Dressage. “The performance turned in by McDonald and Brentina last spring was certainly a championship effort and this is a great honor for her and for all supporters of dressage in this country.”
Image copyrighted: Dirk Caremans