Memorable Moment #4: Brentina is Officially Retired
McDonald and Brentina, owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas, for whom the Thomas & Mack Center is named, had spent the previous 15 years riding and performing together.
Las Vegas, Nevada • Thomas & Mack Center -
No trip down memory lane is complete without remembering the emotional ride in Las Vegas by superstar Debbie McDonald during the official retirement of her Brentina. Brentina was officially retired April 17, 2009.
The Dressage Showcase that Friday afternoon brought much excitement with Pas-de-Deux Challenge pairs performing synchronized movements, as well as a performance put on by four young, rising dressage stars. However, at the end of the day the legendary mare Brentina held the most memorable moment, being honored on the occasion of her official retirement.
McDonald and Brentina, owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas, for whom the Thomas & Mack Center is named, had spent the previous 15 years riding and performing together. They won team and individual Gold medals at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg in 1999, the FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2003, the team Bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 where they also finished fourth individually, and the team Bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006.
McDonald had first sat on the mare in 1994 and knew right then that the mare was one in a million. "Brentina taught me that this sport is not about success; it is about the love, relationship and journey between horse and rider,” said McDonald. It was no surprise that McDonald’s eyes were filled with tears as she rode Brentina into the arena, accompanied by her long-time groom, Ruben Palomera.
The crowd supported Brentina and McDonald with loud, enthusiastic cheers as her saddle was removed to have a rosette and cooler draped over her back. Brentina, then 18 years old, was led out of the arena, in a passage movement, to her happy retirement met with the sound of a loud crowd, bright lights, and the soundtrack from the pair’s groundbreaking Freestyle at the Las Vegas World Cup Finals in 2005 playing.