Debbie McDonald (born August 27, 1954) is an American dressage rider who has competed in the Olympics and many international competitions. She now lives in Hailey, Idaho, with her husband Bob, a hunter/jumper and trainer. Debbie trains and teaches riders on Peggy and Parry Thomas' Sun Valley’s River Grove Farm.
McDonald's first mount was a $200 pony. Due to lack of finances and her father's health issues, she agreed that she would pay for board if her parents bought it for her. Debbie managed to find a gaited horse trainer at the Orange County Fairgrounds who allowed her to work off her board.
When Debbie was fourteen, she decided to move her pony to a different barn after witnessing her trainer abusively use a whip to try to get the animal to stand on its hind legs. It was through this move that she met her future husband, Bob McDonald. He became her trainer, and she acted as a groom and rode investment horses, giving the profits to her family.
McDonald first rode hunter/jumpers, continuing in that discipline for 20 years until she was badly hurt in a jumping accident. She then switched to dressage. Her success to the top of the sport, competing in the Athens Olympics only 15 or so years after turning to dressage, required a great amount of dedication.
Debbie's most famous mount is the Hanoverian mare Brentina. Also you have to watch her talented gelding Felix, newcomer and darling of the public (German classics 2007).