Brentina Home After Colic Surgery, Retirement Ceremony Planned

Olympic dressage horse Brentina returned to her winter home in California Feb. 23 following colic surgery Feb. 10.

The 18-year-old Hanoverian mare, who has been the partner of Idaho-based dressage rider Debbie McDonald since the age of three, underwent surgery at Humphrey, Giacopuzzi & Associates Equine Hospital in Somis, Calif., to remove a fecalith from her small colon. The hardened ball of fecal matter had become lodged in Brentina's intestine.

Now that Brentina has come through her surgery successfully, excitement is building for her retirement ceremony, to be held April 17 during the 2009 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas. Dressage enthusiasts had hoped to see Brentina and McDonald reprise their well-known Motown-themed freestyle, but that performance is out of the question, according to Brentina's surgeon, Nicole Johnson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS. Fans will have to settle for a more sedate presentation, Johnson said.

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.

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, published by Eclipse Press and available at or by calling 800/582-5604. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site,

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