Debby Malloy Winkler

April 3, 1959 - February 21, 2011


Debby Malloy Winkler, devoted wife of Hans Günter Winkler & daughter of the late Henry L. Malloy and Vivien G. Malloy, died February 21, 2011 following a tragic fall from her horse at her home in Warendorf, Germany. 

Born on April 3rd, 1959 in New Rochelle, New York, Debby was the second of five children. She was the granddaughter of Andrew and Nena Goodman and great Granddaughter of Edwin Goodman, founder of Bergdorf Goodman. 

For the first twelve years of her life, Debby shared two passions: alpine ski racing and horseback riding. At age thirteen, after finishing third in the Eastern Nationals for her division, she reached the pinnacle of junior ski racing  when she was selected to the US Ski Team development squad. 

At that point, Debby knew that if she wanted to compete at a world class level, she would have to commit to a single sport: she chose her greatest passion, horseback riding. Explaining her decision to her mother in a way that was ‘classic Debby’, she said, “Mom, I can’t talk to my skis.”

Her successful riding career began in the show rings, pony clubs, and hunting fields of the United States. From an early age, Debby had a gift with horses. She instinctively connected with and understood them, committing herself completely to their care and training. Never one to delegate responsibility for these precious animals, Debby worked tirelessly to bring the talent she knew each horse possessed to it's highest potential. As many in the horse world who were lucky enough to know her realized, she made it look easy. She was the penultimate horsewoman. 

By the age of fifteen, Debby was considered one of the top junior riders in the country. Trained first by Judy Richter and later by George Morris, she showed at the highest level of competition, including The National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden, The Pennsylvania National Horse Show and The Washington International. Among her victories as a junior were the 1977 American Jumping Derby in Newport, RI, aboard “Frogs Have Wings” and the Rothman Grand Prix in Quebec City, Canada on “Plain Jane”.

Debby 1978

Debby 1978

By the age of eighteen she was competing internationally. In France, she trained under Nelson Pessoa. Her next stop was New Zealand and then onto Australia. In 1985, She took the opportunity to return to the states to ride for Gaelic Stables in Virginia. It was there that she met Hans Günter Winkler who was conducting a clinic in Morven Park. After the clinic, Hans offered Debby the opportunity to ride his horses in Germany. Accepting his offer fulfilled her dream of returning to Europe to compete on an international level. This set the stage for the rest of Debby’s life. 

Once in Warendorf, Debby established herself as one of the premier equestrians on the European show jumping circuit.  In her new home, many people were instantly taken with her kind heart, quick wit, and unrelenting tenacity to be the best rider she could be. 

After Debby and Hans married in 1994, they established a formidable team as co-owners of a string of show jumpers.  Hans, the most medaled Olympian in equestrian show jumping history, and Debby, his protégé, wife, and love, trained and showed many horses over their twenty-five years together. Debby’s successes on the European circuit included victories in Hamburg, Rome, Donaueschingen, Bad Hausen and Spangenberg, amongst others. 

Debby was a devoted wife, daughter, sister, aunt and cousin, who will be missed terribly by her loving family. Despite the miles that separated her from her family in the states, Debby was committed to maintaining close relationships with all and was faithful and frequent in her correspondence. Those lucky enough to have known her will always
remember her boundless energy, how she could light up the room with her warmth and humor. 

She cared not only through words, but deeds, and was a devoted lifelong friend to many. We will miss her gift for storytelling and her ability to make us laugh. 

She lived each day to it's fullest, and loved every living thing on this earth.

There was a funeral service in Warendorf on March 1st, 2011 and a memorial service in Waccabuc, NY on April 3rd, 2011, which would have been her 52nd birthday

Debby and Wake Up Kiss

Debby and Wake Up Kiss


Debby Quotes

"A city becomes a world when one loves one of its inhabitants"

"I bade you farewell,
wished you a journey full of blessings.

Every hour you exist,
when you go to sleep and when you awake.

Keep in mind the troth between us,
I am waiting for you.

Come safely back,
Come Safely back."

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

"If you're not happy where you are, then you won't be happy where you're not"

"A martial artist never directly opposes her opponents power; instead, she channels it to her ends. Rather than hitting back, for example she uses her opponents momentum to throw her in the direction that she was already moving."

"He keeps the pace because he makes his own."

"What distinguishes a champion in any sport is an unquestionable drive to meet goals within."

"Dr. Roth looked up from his brandy and said,
'You should be careful you've lived your life with the kind of will that could cause a lot of problems later.' 
'I know' she said. But she did not know."

"Where you stumble, there lies your treasure."

"It is not the sugar that makes tea sweet, but the timing."

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

"If you want something to change you personally, you have to do something different. You have to take a stand when it isn't convenient. Try something nobody else has tried. Defy your own group. Rebel against yourself. Knock down your walls and get out of your own way."