Brentina Recovering from Surgery for Impacted Colon

Brentina, the 18-year-old chestnut Hanoverian mare who has been the partner of U.S. dressage rider Debbie McDonald, underwent surgery Feb. 10 to remove an impaction from her small intestine. According to news reports, the procedure took place at a veterinary hospital near Thousand Oaks, Calif. McDonald, whose home base is Hailey, Idaho, winters in California.

Brentina was not colic-prone, according to McDonald. Surgeons were able to remove the impaction without removing any portion of the mare's colon, a positive sign indicating that none of the intestine had died.

In a Feb. 10 e-mail message, McDonald wrote that "Mama" was "up and standing on her own" after the surgery. She asked for prayers and good wishes for the mare, whom she said "is like my child." Brentina was holding her own the day after her surgery, McDonald wrote in a follow-up e-mail message; she, as well as owners Peggy and Parry Thomas, would "know more in a couple of days."

Brentina and McDonald won a team bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and also were members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic dressage team. The pair won team silver at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and team bronze at the 2006 WEG.

Brentina was scheduled to be retired in a special ceremony April 17 during the 2009 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas.

About the Author

Jennifer O. Bryant

Jennifer O. Bryant is editor-at-large of the U.S. Dressage Federation's magazine, USDF Connection. An independent writer and editor, Bryant contributes to many equestrian publications, has edited numerous books, and authored Olympic Equestrian. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site,

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