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Press Release


Adrienne Lyle, Debbie Witty and Debbie McDonald

Debbie McDonald

Debbie McDonald and Brentina

The Debbie McDonald Dressage Saddle

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Trilogy Saddles Creates Perfectly Proportioned Saddles for the Petite Rider

Written by: Sue Weakley
Client: Polo Gear USA
Release Date: 2014-05-05

Wellington, FL- May 6, 2014 - Debbie McDonald, a Gold Medal winner at the Pan American Games, an Olympic Bronze Medalist and the first American rider to win the World Cup of Dressage, is an avid Trilogy® saddle fan. In fact, the Debbie McDonald Dressage Saddle was created just for the iconic rider by Performance Saddlery® President Debbie Witty

The Trilogy® Debbie McDonald saddle features a flatter, more open seat with less width across the seat, a narrower twist and a straighter leg to allow the petite rider close contact with her horse.

The saddle collaboration happened when Witty worked for another saddle company who formerly sponsored McDonald and the two formed a friendship. McDonald shared her frustration with Witty about her saddle and its obvious fit for a taller framed rider.

“So even though they would shorten the flap, there was nothing that would fit me or someone who is my height,” McDonald explained. “I thought, ‘Gee, it would be so wonderful to have someone really design a saddle for me.’ Debbie got that, but she didn’t own the company. So, everybody did their best to change the flap and the thigh rolls were Velcroed in a place so I could move them to make them work the best for me. But it just wasn’t right.”

McDonald said that Witty understood that, but since she didn’t own the saddle company, she couldn’t help McDonald with her dream of a saddle to fit her.  The rider said that one day she received a phone call from Witty, saying she was going to strike out on her own with Performance Saddlery® and the Trilogy® saddle. McDonald, who was already hooked on the way her friend fit saddles, happily followed.

”I thought it was a no-brainer to just continue on with her,” McDonald said. “That’s how that started.”

Witty explained, “Bob McDonald did mention that a number of petite women would come up and ask what saddle Debbie rides in. So, I was aware but still really surprised me, that after we started promoting the Debbie McDonald saddle for the petite rider, how many women would call and speak to us about how long they had been searching for a saddle that addressed the needs of the petite rider. They were all Debbie worshippers!”

Witty continued, “Debbie is one of the major reasons that I feel the Trilogy® saddle line came out of manufacturing and onto the riders horses so quickly and successfully. Riders know that if Debbie uses something and rides in the saddle that she believes in it!”

McDonald, who is the Developing Dressage Coach for the United States Equestrian Federation, has been observing competitions in Florida, California and Texas to scout for talent to represent the United States in future international events.  She has the talent and expertise to spot a talented rider, a special horse and a well-fitting saddle with ease.

She said that the saddle Witty designed is especially in tune with the horse when it achieves the highest level of collection.

“She’s very attuned to all that,” McDonald said, adding that Witty takes great care to fit Trilogy saddles to each horse. In fact, Witty is a certified saddle fitter from the Society of Master Saddlers of England.

Trilogy® Dressage Saddles are built in England by some of the most experienced craftsmen in the world. They feature a British tree made of laminated beech wood, and a specially tanned hide from England that offers the rider an elastic broken-in feel.

“She tries very hard to educate and work with her fitters around the country and for me, and for others I know, she has gone above and beyond helping out if we think a horse’s body has changed,” McDonald said. “When you get a young horse and then they start to muscle up, you quickly recognize that the saddle doesn’t fit as well as it used to. Well, Debbie gets there as quickly as she can.”

McDonald was complimentary of the special care each member of the Trilogy® saddle team delivers to ensure the saddles fit horses and riders to bring out the best in both.  She said the people she has guided toward purchasing a Trilogy saddle have been pleased with their purchase. In fact, the company has created an “after care program” to monitor client’s success and satisfaction via post purchase interviews, surveys and by touching base at competitions. 

Witty and Performance Saddlery, Inc. officially joined forces with PoloGear® owners Gary Fellers and Jeanette Sassoon in January to create a uniquely diverse saddle division.  Witty has found that working with PoloGear® has brought the level of client satisfaction to new heights and her talented team of saddle fitters will service Trilogy® and Verhan® saddles. She is also pleased to be able to provide her clients with the Polo Gear Team Shop™ line of custom equestrian apparel, horse and barn products.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have worked with and been part off the support team for Debbie for the past 12 years,” Witty said. “Debbie has always been extremely open; I would ask her to try different things with the positioning of the horse body to see the response in the saddle or a different method to solve a fitting concern she was willing to try and gave me valuable feedback. I have learned so much from her and not just about the horse industry! She is gracious and compassionate, but has the fortitude needed to get any job done. Whether it is re-schooling a tough horse, teaching all day in freezing cold weather or standing her ground on something that she believes in, she is very capable of doing it all well!”

Performance Saddlery® plans to continually and selectively grow its saddle fitting force throughout the United States and Canada, as well as through the international markets. Equestrians with horse or rider saddle issues are encouraged to call Performance Saddlery® at 800-258-0006 or e-mail at for a consultation.

“We actually get incredible service and the other people I’ve talked to about the Trilogy saddle believe Debbie represents an incredibly great product,” McDonald added. 

 “We’ve had a very long relationship,” she said. “I am happy with Trilogy saddles.”






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