Published Thursday, November 15, 2012

Olympian displays riding skills at Bear Creek

By W. WINSTON SKINNER

winston@newnan.com

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet brought Olympic gravity and genuine congeniality to Bear Creek Farm on Saturday.

Olympic equestrian Holder and the gray gelding she has ridden for 11 years were part of the Full Cry Festival of Sporting Masters following the 10th annual opening Bear Creek Hounds hunt at the lush horse farm. Holder showed her abilities as a horsewoman in a spirited demonstration.

Phil Town introduced Holder to the crowd gathered on the exhibition lawn. She is “one of the best riders in the country,” Town said. “No one trains horses better than Becky, and no one rides better than Becky.”

Holder and Courageous Comet have competed in 25 national shows. “He’s been at the top of his sport for 10 years,” Holder said of the horse. Courageous Comet has been in most competitions “in the United States this side of the Rockies,” she said.

Courageous Comet is 16- or 17-years-old. He has had “one of the longest careers” among horses in competition. “We’ve had a long career together. That’s for sure,” she said.

“This is a combination that has been working together for many, many years,” Town said. “Becky and Courageous Comet have worked together for years and years and years.”

As girls gathered around Courageous Comet, Holder encouraged them to pet him and talk to him. “Make a fuss over him,” she urged. “That’s his favorite thing.”

Holder and Courageous Comet were participants in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Holder, 43, is from Minnesota. She placed fifth in Eventing Dressage at the Olympics. She also was the alternate member on the U.S Eventing squad for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

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