Remembering Courageous Comet

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet. Photo courtesy of Michelle Dunn.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of the great OTTB ambassador and 5* event horse Courageous Comet, who was partnered with the equally great Becky Holder through his lengthy career. The Thoroughbred gelding by Comet Shine was 28 years old. He had been in retirement residence with Becky at her North Carolina farm.

He’s a horse that needs little introduction, especially for Thoroughbred fans (and who isn’t, really?). A few years ago, I posted a query on my Facebook page: what horse would you dream of taking for a spin around a big track like Kentucky? Courageous Comet was the first response for multiple people.

While a packer he may not have been for just anyone, he certainly enjoyed some time as “professor”, taking Becky’s husband Tom for a spin after stepping down from the upper levels.

Tom and Becky Holder with Courageous Comet. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

“Tom bought Comet for Becky as a ‘quasi-wedding present,'” Leslie Threlkeld wrote at the time. “And while she increased the vested ownership shares to 49%, Tom maintained a 51% majority ownership. Wanting to make sure he had a chance to sit on his future investment, Tom rode Comet some even in the early days. Today, Tom stays busy with work but Becky encouraged him to find the time to practice riding so they could take Comet to a low-key competition. ‘I wasn’t quite sure how excited Comet would be, but he was an angel!’ Becky beamed.”

In addition to his accolades as a family member, Comet certainly had plenty of bragging rights as a competitor. He and Becky made their first then-4* start together at Luhmühlen and would quickly become stalwarts at the level; they completed five then CCI4* events, including a top-5 finish at Burghley in 2006 and a second place finish at Kentucky in 2008 that earned them a berth to the 2008 Olympics. They also finished on the podium at Kentucky in 2010 and represented the USA at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Before his career as an eventer, Comet was also a decently successful racehorse, with 36 starts, multiple wins, and nearly $75,000 in purses earned from his first job.

Look back at Becky and Courageous Comet show jumping at Kentucky in 2008, when they finished second overall:

You can harken back to the “OG” days of Eventing Nation, when John Their himself was still writing the words, for an interview with Becky at Comet’s final Advanced competition, by clicking here.

It’s safe to say that this incredible horse gave many of us today “the bug”, and instilled (or confirmed) in us the love of the gutsy ex-racehorse. He will be sorely missed by all of us here at EN and well beyond.

Read more from the USEA’s In Memoriam here.

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