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In Memoriam: Peggy Thomas

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Sep 19, 2023, 3:00 PM

Lexington, Ky. - Peggy Thomas was a major contributor to U.S. dressage as a horse owner and supporter of the next generation of top athletes. Along with her husband Parry, Thomas helped U.S. athletes achieve top results on the world and national stages with their support of equestrian sport.

Peggy Thomas (third from the left) during Brentina's retirement ceremony
(Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Thomas passed away on September 3, 2023, at the age of 97. She was born August 23, 1926, in Preston, Idaho, and lived most of her life in Las Vegas, Nev., and Sun Valley, Idaho. Thomas graduated from the University of Utah in 1947 and married her husband Parry shortly thereafter. Following Parry’s successful career as a banker who developed the casino industry in Las Vegas, the couple focused on raising horses at their River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. Thomas had a passion for horses, riding up until her mid-80s.

Thomas and her husband owned two memorable U.S. dressage horses: Brentina and Wizard. With Debbie McDonald in the irons, Brentina collected 1999 Pan American Games team and individual gold, 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games™ team silver, a 2003 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final win, 2004 Olympic Games team bronze, and 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games team bronze as well as an appearance at the 2008 Olympic Games. With Wizard, Adrienne Lyle earned top results nationally and internationally and was able to compete in her first Olympic Games in 2012.

In addition to their support of U.S. dressage as owners, Thomas and her husband also gave back to the sport with the Young Adult Brentina Cup program beginning in 2006. Named after their legendary mare Brentina, the program assists U.S. Young Riders, ages 16 to 25, in making the transition to senior Grand Prix competition. Several past winners of the USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship have gone on to represent the U.S. in international championships, including Lyle, Anna Buffini, Codi Harrison, and Emily Miles.

Thomas is survived by her children, Peter Thomas (wife Nancy Thomas), Roger Thomas (husband Arthur Libera), Steven Thomas (wife Karen Thomas), Tom Thomas (wife Leslie Thomas), and Jane Thomas Sturdivant (husband Peter Sturdivant) as well as 14 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.