Meet Sun Valley’s Summer Olympic Stars

This picture of Mr. & Mrs. Parry Thomas with Brentina, America's first World Champion and 2004 Olympic Bronze medal winner, graces the Sun Valley Lodge's Hallway of Stars. Brentina lives with the Thomas' at their River Grove Farm in Hailey.

There’s a little event going on right now in my hometown of London, England. In fact it’s about to kick off in a big way. Today, at 2 p.m. MT, the Games of the XXX Olympiad begins with what I am sure will be a spectacular opening ceremony (for us sequestered in the U.S. you can catch it tonight on channel 7 at 6:30 p.m.).

For obvious reasons, the winter Olympics is Sun Valley’s natural territory. However there is one local athlete whose claim to summer Olympic fame has landed her a prime spot in Sun Valley Lodge’s Hallway of Stars, where she stands shoulder to shoulder with Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brentina, a Hanoverian dressage horse, is only the second animal ever to be bestowed with such an honor, the first were the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Brentina is the Wood River Valley’s hometown hero. Ridden by local athlete Debbie MacDonald to two Olympics (Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008) and one bronze medal, she is one of the most succesful  U.S. horses in history. Following surgery in early 2009, Brentina bowed out gracefully at the Las Vegas 2009 World Cup, and now lives a peaceful retirement at River Grove Farm in Hailey with owners Parry and Peggy Thomas. However, her stablemate Wizard may give Sun Valley residents the chance to cheer again this summer as he and his rider Adrienne Lyle prepare to take London by storm in the individual dressage competition. The competition begins Thursday and Friday (August 2 and 3) and concludes Tuesday and Thursday (August 7 and 9). Be sure to follow Adrienne and Wizard’s adventures in London here at her new blog.

For a sneak peek at the action you’ll see in the coming two weeks check out this video of Lyle and Wizard’s performance at the Grand Prix Freestyle in Devon, England last year:

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I know I’ll be cheering our hometown duo on as they prance and dance their way into international hearts, and who knows, after a stop on the podium, maybe a spot on the Hallway of Stars will be in their futures too.

Happy Trails!

Mrs. Sun