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Wed, 2008-11-12 14:51

Hometown Olympians Becky Holder and Courageous Comet perform at Leatherdale Equine Center

Authored By: Lisa Borgia

image Becky Holder and Courageous Comet were hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Leatherdale Equine Center on November 1, 2008 at an event held to help Becky with expenses associated with her successful Olympic bid. The regional horse community responded with over 100 people attending the benefit event co-sponsored by the Central States Dressage Association and Nutrena. Attendees joined Becky at a pre-ride reception that featured Minnesota wines, cheese and apples held in the Nutrena Conference Hall. Tom Holder, Becky’s husband, provided an intimate slide show of Becky and Comet’s Olympic experience during the reception, as well as video of Becky’s rides at Hong Kong.

(Left: Holder & Comet were all smiles at the 2008 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Josh Walker photo.)

After the reception, to the delight of the audience, Becky guided Courageous Comet through the Olympic dressage test. The Center’s Barensheer Arena has 90 seats ringside and the conference room has a glass wall that overlooks the arena, so everyone had a great view of Comet’s wonderful performance. National “S” dressage judge Marlene Schneider provided commentary on Becky’s warm up and dressage movements that provided insight for the audience. Aubrey Dunkerton, Comet’s Olympic groom, was also there to help keep Comet happy and to enjoy the event.

Afterward Becky answered questions from the audience. One questioner asked about the cross country course in Hong Kong. Becky said, “It was the most difficult course we have ever tackled.” Another asked about her plans for Comet’s continued eventing career. “We plan on competing in the 2010 World Equestrian games in Kentucky and we have our sights set on the London Olympics in 2012!” Nutrena’s announcement of their sponsorship of Becky Holder and Comet and presentation of a check to Becky capped off the event in a terrific manner. Audience members were treated to autographed pictures of the duo and had the opportunity to pose for photographs with Comet and Becky.

Becky has won numerous competitions and awards, including being chosen as the U.S. Eventing Team’s alternate for the 2000 Olympic Games. Comet’s second place at Rolex in 2008 and selection for the Olympic Games in Hong Kong has made this a very special year for the team. Becky is an active instructor and coach for riders competing at all levels and is particularly involved with young rider coaching and cross country riding technique. Becky trains at Carriage House Farm in Hugo, MN in the summer and at her farm in North Carolina during the winter. She is proud of her students, who hail from all walks of life, including professionals, young riders and amateurs.

Her amazing partner, Courageous Comet, is a grey 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that had a successful racing career before retiring. Comet finished his first year of eventing competition at one star competition level and moved quickly up the ranks, competing in 18 FEI competitions and starting his first Rolex Event in Kentucky in 2004. Becky said of Comet’s two month break after the Olympics, “that was probably his first real vacation since being put into race training as a two year old. He really deserved some time to relax.”

Comet was USEA Area IV Horse of the year in 2004 & 2005. In 2005 Comet and Becky were members of the USEF Talent Tour Team at the 4 Star competition in Germany and attended Fair Hill’s 3 Star in the Fall. After a terrific performance at Rolex in 2006, Comet was short listed for the World Equestrian Games. He was USEA Area IV Reserve champion 2006 & 2007. Comet and Becky were awarded a USEF grant to help compete at Burghley, England and they were USEA Gold Cup Champions in 2007. This year, the they took 2nd place at Rolex and of course qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Comet finished 5th over all after the dressage and represented the USA admirably.

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