Debby Malloy Winkler, wife of Hans Günter Winkler and daughter of Vivien G. Malloy and the late Henry L. Malloy, died Feb. 21 following a tragic fall from her horse at her home in Warendorf, Germany.
Winkler, 51, was born in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was the second of five children. She was the granddaughter of Andrew and Nena Goodman and great Granddaughter of Edwin Goodman, founder of luxury goods retailer Bergdorf Goodman.
Vivien Mallory campaigned Thoroughbreds for almost three decades on the New York circuit as Edition Farm. She was named New York State Breeder of the Year by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in 2007, and serves on the board of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders.
From an early age, Winkler had a gift with horses. By the age of 15, she 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.
By 18 Winkler was competing internationally. In France, she trained under Nelson Pessoa. 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 Winkler the opportunity to ride his horses in Germany.
Once in Warendorf, Winkler 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.
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, trained and showed many horses over their 25 years together. Debby’s successes on the European circuit included victories in Hamburg, Rome, Donaueschingen, Bad Hausen, and Spangenberg, amongst others.
A funeral service will be held March 1 in Warendorf. The family is also planning a memorial service on April 3, Winkler’s birthday, in Waccabuc, N.Y.