Hometown: Wellington, Florida
Title: U.S. Dressage Chef d’Equipe/Technical Advisor
One could argue that Debbie McDonald changed the course of dressage in the United States and that her gentle nature with horses has been mirrored in her students, many at the top of the sport in the U.S. today. Her personal competition record speaks for itself, boasting individual and team gold medals at the 1999 Pan American Games, an individual gold and bronze from the 2003 and 2005 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals, a team silver and bronze at the 2002 and 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games™, and two trips to the Olympics, including a team bronze in 2004.
However, McDonald’s service to the sport of dressage in the U.S. goes well beyond representing her country at the top levels of the sport. She plays a fundamental role in the development of American dressage. In 2010, McDonald took on the role of U.S. Dressage Development Coach. During her time in this position, McDonald successfully instilled her horsemanship skills in athletes across all levels of the sport. Top U.S. athletes such as Laura Graves, Kim Herslow, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, Adrienne Lyle, and Kasey Perry-Glass competed at world and global championships with much success under McDonald’s tutelage. In 2018, McDonald was selected as Robert Dover’s successor in the role of U.S. Dressage Team Chef d’Equipe and Technical Advisor. As she strives to continue the development of an American powerhouse in her new role, she is unwilling to compromise her values of respect for each individual horse and rider. It is exactly this unwavering integrity that McDonald brings to the dressage community.