Feb 12, 2024

In Memoriam: Courageous Comet

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Courageous Comet and Becky Holder. Amy Dragoo Photography photo

The USEA is saddened to report the passing of Becky Holder's Thoroughbred gelding Courageous Comet (Comet Shine x Rosnelli). Holder said goodbye to "Comet" on Feb. 8 at her Windhaven Farm in Wadesboro, North Carolina. He was 28.

Holder and Comet began their career together in 2002 and spent a decade competing at the Advanced and four-star (now five-star) level together. Their career accomplishments include placing second at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2008, coming in third at the same event in 2010, and later winning the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series at the 2010 USEA American Eventing Championships (Fairburn, Georgia). They finished the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England) in 15th place in 2006.

The pair also represented the U.S. at both the 2008 Olympic Games (Kong Kong) and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky.

Comet officially stepped down from upper-level competition in 2012. He spent a bit of time helping Holder's husband, Tom Holder, get a taste for eventing at the Starter level.

"Comet epitomized the rags to riches story line, and his Thoroughbred enthusiasts cheered him on everywhere he went," shared Becky. "But it's the things not in the public eye that I want to share and give thanks for. He loved turnout. He nickered more loudly for it than any meal or treat. When in England, [his groom] Aubrey Dunkerton would take him on luxurious grazes and often would get stuck out in the field when he refused to return to the barn.

"He often walked briskly out to work, excited for the day's adventures and then drug his feet coming home, taking any chance to divert back out for a little longer. Whenever I was in the barn, he tracked me and watched me intensely. Every time I picked up the trot on him, I smiled."

While there were many beautiful memories that the pair shared, Becky also fondly remembers Comet's quirks as well. She shared that Comet was terrified of drag lines in the dirt and colored poles on the ground, but he never met a ditch that he couldn't tackle. He would often bite Dunkerton's pant legs while being braided, and he was a masterful escape artist, sneaking out on each new student at least once, and then happily parading around the farm until he decided the game was over and allowed himself to be caught. Comet was keenly aware of his fans, always soaking up the atmosphere created by the audience and their applause for him in every phase.

"He was spicy and sassy throughout his retirement," she said. "It was our utter privilege to give him the retirement he deserved."

The USEA sends our condolences to the Holder family and all of those who shared connections with Courageous Comet.

Feb 25, 2024 Profile

Now On Course: A Blue Ribbon Birthday for Bridges as She Tries Her Hand at Eventing

Marley Bridges lived and breathed gymnastics. “I started at the age of 5,” said Bridges. “You always had to have the time and the mindset for gymnastics. You had to allow yourself to commit to it. You had to commit to working out four hours a day, five days a week, doing cardio every single day, train every single day. You had to stay committed to yourself, the team, and the sport.”

Feb 24, 2024 Education

Pressure Proof Tip: Power Vowels

If you’re like most riders you’ve probably heard someone say something like, “Your last mistake is your best teacher,” or “if you’re doing everything right you’re doing something wrong because you’re in your comfort zone.” While I agree whole-heartedly with these sentiments, I actually prefer, “Equestrians don’t make mistakes. Mistakes make equestrians.” They make us bolder, braver, and brighter; but only when we develop a positive relationship with our mistakes and respond to them in productive ways.

Feb 23, 2024 Eventing News

Tommy Greengard Receives USET Foundation's 2024 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant

Up-and-coming eventing athlete Tommy Greengard of Malibu, California, was named the recipient of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant for 2024. A current competitor on the U.S. Equestrian Federation's (USEF) Eventing Emerging Program List, Greengard has aspirations of representing the United States internationally.

Feb 23, 2024 Leaderboard

Fourth Generation Homebred Geluk HVF Earns His Second SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year Award

Bethany Hutchins-Kristen headed into 2023 with hopes of earning the SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year award for a second year in a row on her homebred Geluk HVF, and after a stellar season, including a top-10 finish at the TerraNova CCI2*-L (Myakka City, Florida), she took home the top prize with an 18-point lead.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA