EN Today: Courageous Comet is poised to go out with a bang

Becky Holder has announced that the American Eventing Championships will be Comet’s last upper-level competition. Fittingly, the pair leads heading into the final phase.From John:

Photo: Becky and Comet jumped double-clear for an 8.7 point lead going into the SJ

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet jumped double-clear to extend their lead in the advanced division at the American Eventing Championships.  Becky and Comet made the hard look easy and the easy look effortless around Comet’s last upper-level XC ride of his career.  Becky was just several fences from completing her second perfect round of the day, this time aboard Can’t Fire Me, when she missed her distance jumping into the second water and fell at the second element after Can’t Fire Me did everything he could to save the day.  Becky and “Teddy” were both up quickly and fine.  Becky took the long walk back to the barns with a frustrated smile and the comfort of knowing she will be jumping for the win tomorrow with Comet.  Eventing is a sport of inches and we were just that close to a repeat of the Saturday at Richland that gave Becky the top two places with her two lovely horses.

[Cross-Country Results]

As expected, the time proved extremely influential to the overall placings. Lainey Ashker and Anthony Patch moved up all the way from 8th to second with the only other double-clear.  Lainey delivered her great round despite being held for several minutes a few fences before the main water complex as the excellent team of builders repaired a broken fence at the water.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoecastle RM jumped from 11th to 3rd with just 1.6 time.  Sally Cousins and Tsunami stormed around with the third fastest advanced time of the day to go into 4th.  Leslie Law and Zenith ISF round out the top 5 after 3.2 time.

Jon Holling and Downtown Harrison needed a good run to secure their spot on the Boekelo flight and they produced that and more today with just 9.2 time for an excellent round.  They move into 6th, just ahead of Harbour Pilot and Hannah Burnett, who put together yet another terrific ride.

Advanced XC Montage:

Tracey Bienemann had one of the best rides of the day, looking super all the way around with Zara.  1.6 time moves them up to 12th place.  Kristin Schmolze and Danielle Dichting also stood out to me as riders who really got the job done today.  Julia Wendell didn’t let getting lost at the end of the course stop her from completing a clear round aboard Cavendish but it did cost her some time.

Becky’s fall was the lone untimely dismount for an advanced division that dominated Hugh Thomas’ tough Chattahoochee Hills track.  18 of the 21 other starters finished clear with just three pairs finishing with a stop.  Jeff Kibbie and Loki picked up 20 at the long route for the ditch and brush, Carl Bouckaert and Cyrano had 20 at the out of the sunken road as did Joe Meyer and Snip, but all three pairs had moments of brilliance throughout the course.

Becky holds an 8.7 point lead with Comet going into the advanced show jumping on Saturday looking to repeat their 2010 victory here at Chattahoochee Hills and end Comet’s career with yet another major win.

I hope that everyone reading this at home is having as much fun as we are today watching horses and riders gallop around this beautiful facility with smiles (and occasionally terrified grimaces) on their faces.  The intermediate cross-country is in full action right now, with the training level to follow.  Novice and beginner novice are riding dressage today in three arenas.  Go eventing.

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