Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID was named United States Equestrian Team (USET) Athlete of the Month following her victory in the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Dressage Grand Prix Championship with Brentina at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions Presented by State Line Tack, June 14 - 17.
McDonald, 46, swept all three phases of the competition at the USET Olympic Training Center and finished with an overall score of 72.578% on the 10-year-old Hanoverian mare on whom she won team and individual Gold Medals at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada.
"I’m really very fortunate to be able to ride this horse," McDonald said. "It’s an honor and it’s hard for me to believe I’m even here in the same company as such great riders as Guenter and Steffen. I have to pinch myself to be sure I’m really here."
In 1997, McDonald and Beaurivage rode to a team Silver Medal at the North American Dressage Championships. She also won the FEI Volvo World Cup qualifier at Dressage Under the Oaks and the Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire I and Grand Prix at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair in California. After winning the Volvo World Cup U.S. League Final in October, 1997, McDonald represented the U.S. at the 1998 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.
In 1999, McDonald and Brentina took first place in the State Line Tack/USET Prix St. Georges Intermediaire I, presented by Rio Suite Hotel and Casino at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, earning her a place on the Pan American Games team.
McDonald is a former hunter-jumper rider who switched to dressage more than seven years ago. A native Californian, McDonald and her husband run Sun Valley's River Grove Farm. She has worked with Hilda Gurney, and most recently, with Steffen Peters and Lilo Fore.